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White Mountains Hiking and Waterfalls


Are you intrigued by the majestic beauty of the White Mountains? Here at Bretton Woods Vacations, we invite you to explore the unparalleled charm of hiking in the White Mountains, offering a wide array of trails, vistas, and waterfalls that cater to every level of hiker.

Nestled in the heart of the White Mountains, our vacation homes offer proximity to exceptional hiking trails, waterfalls, and breathtaking views. Whether it’s a tranquil meadow or an exhilarating cliff-side panorama, nature’s wonder is never far away.




From Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch, Mt Washington, Zealand, and the Kancamagus, opportunities for hiking in the White Mountains abound. For personalized recommendations, enjoy this blog post by Adventure Writer Lindsey Lapointe on her favorite trails, especially when staying at a Bretton Woods Vacations property.

white mountains hiking



Just across Route 302 from the entrance to our Moose Lodge and Cabins lies the inviting Lower Falls Trail, a hidden gem in the picturesque landscape of the White Mountains. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking to immerse yourself in nature’s tranquility, this trail offers an experience tailored just for you.

Accessing the Lower Falls Trail is refreshingly easy. You can enter the trail either from Old Cherry Mountain Road, adding a rustic charm to the beginning of your adventure, or across from the well-maintained Zealand Campground, which offers convenient parking and facilities. The trailhead is well-marked, ensuring a hassle-free start to your journey.

The Lower Falls Trail spans a manageable 1-mile distance, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels. As you embark on this short hike, you’ll be greeted by a well-trodden path that meanders through lush forests, offering glimpses of local flora and fauna. The sound of chirping birds and rustling leaves accompany you as you hike, enhancing the sensory experience.

What makes this trail special is its culmination at the beautiful waterfall. As you approach the end of the trail, the distant murmur of cascading water grows louder, building anticipation. And then, as you round a bend, the stunning Lower Falls reveals itself, a serene cascade of water that sparkles in the sunlight. This waterfall, with its clear and refreshing water, offers a perfect spot for reflection, photography, or even a cooling splash on a warm day.



Halfway up the Base Area Road, nestled next to the well-known Fabyan’s restaurant, lies a hidden gem that is Upper Falls. This spot is conveniently located just off the road, providing easy access for visitors of all ages.

As you approach the falls, the sound of rushing water greets you, beckoning you closer to the spectacle that awaits you. Upper Falls is not merely a beautiful waterfall; it’s a natural playground that has become a beloved spot for both locals and tourists.

The waterfall itself cascades with grace, its waters shimmering in the sunlight as they tumble over rocks and into a clear pool below. Surrounded by lush greenery, the falls offer an ideal backdrop for photographs and a serene place to simply sit and enjoy nature’s artwork.

But for those looking for a bit more adventure, Upper Falls also presents an opportunity for cliff jumping. The cliffs around the falls vary in height, providing options for both the novice jumper and the more experienced thrill-seeker. Under the watchful eyes of the majestic White Mountains, adrenaline enthusiasts can leap into the refreshing waters below, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Safety is paramount, and those interested in cliff jumping should take proper precautions, be aware of water depth, and consider the day’s conditions. According to experts from the Red Cross, understanding the environment and knowing about potential risks can enhance enjoyment while keeping safety in mind.

The easy accessibility of Upper Falls, coupled with its stunning beauty and thrilling cliff-jumping opportunities, makes it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in hiking in the White Mountains. Whether you seek tranquility or excitement, Upper Falls promises a unique and rewarding experience that perfectly encapsulates the diverse offerings of the region.



The Zealand Trail and Sugarloaf Trail are two of our favorites. With scenic woodlands, beaver ponds, and breathtaking vistas, they offer a rewarding hiking experience. Discover more about these trails by visiting the White Mountains Summer Activities on our website.



The Zealand Trail is an enchanting journey through nature’s finest offerings. Starting at the Zealand Recreational Area on Rt 302 between Twin Mountain and Bretton Woods, the trail spans approximately 5.4 miles to the Zealand Hut.

The first part of the hike is mostly flat and meanders through lush woodlands and tranquil beaver ponds, offering opportunities to spot local wildlife. As the trail progresses, it becomes steeper, leading to a small but extremely scenic waterfall, perfect for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re seeking a peaceful woodland walk or an invigorating hike, the Zealand Trail’s diverse landscape provides a gratifying experience for all skill levels.



A bit more demanding but no less rewarding, the Sugarloaf Trail is a hiking adventure waiting to be discovered. The entrance to the trail is found halfway up Zealand Road near a campground, with convenient parking right before a small bridge.

The hike itself is moderate and fairly short, covering 1.2 miles each way, but it delivers a spectacular view from the top, especially Middle Sugarloaf. The ascent through dense forests, crossing streams, and clambering over rocks culminates in breathtaking vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

With its fantastic balance of effort and visual reward, the Sugarloaf Trail is highly recommended for those looking for a memorable hiking experience complemented by a stunning view.


Hiking in the White Mountains



For those who seek a challenge and thrive on adventure, Mt Washington’s Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail provides a thrilling and unparalleled hiking experience in the White Mountains. This trail stands out as a testament to nature’s grandeur, offering hikers a blend of breathtaking views, rigorous terrain, and the sensation of conquering one of the region’s most iconic mountains.

The Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail winds alongside the river, passing waterfalls, large boulders, and the stunning Gem Pool, a picturesque pond fed by a cascading waterfall. As you progress along the trail, you’ll encounter the Lake of the Clouds hut, offering a moment of respite and remarkable views before the final ascent.

But caution is a must on this trail. The weather atop Mt Washington is notoriously unpredictable and can change rapidly, turning a sunny day into a perilous journey. Snow can fall any month of the year, and temperatures can plummet without warning. The Mount Washington Observatory offers vital weather updates and safety guidelines that every hiker should consult before embarking on this journey.

Preparation is equally essential. Equipping yourself with the right gear, sufficient food and water, and knowledge of the trail is crucial for a safe and enjoyable hike. Engaging with local guides or hiking groups familiar with the trail can enhance your experience and provide an added layer of safety.


Alternative Ways to Experience Mt Washington

Not up for the hike? There are still ways to experience the majesty of Mt Washington without the strenuous climb.

  1. The Cog Railway: An engineering marvel, the Mount Washington Cog Railway offers a leisurely and scenic ride to the summit. With historical insights provided along the way, you’ll learn about the area’s rich history while soaking in panoramic views. It’s an adventure that’s suitable for all ages, providing a unique perspective of the mountain.
  2. The Mt Washington Auto Road: If you prefer to explore at your own pace, the Mt Washington Auto Road is an excellent option. This winding road allows you to drive to the summit, offering numerous viewpoints and picnic spots along the way. Whether you drive yourself or take one of the guided tours, you’ll have the opportunity to see wildlife, unique alpine flora, and, of course, the breathtaking vistas that make Mt Washington famous.

In either case, you can still enjoy the thrill of reaching the summit and experiencing the incredible views, all while learning about the natural and cultural significance of this remarkable mountain.



Franconia Notch and the surrounding region are renowned for their natural beauty and an impressive array of summer activities. Here, visitors can experience everything from leisurely strolls to strenuous hikes, all while enjoying the scenic wonders of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.


Cannon Mountain’s Aerial Tramway

The Cannon Mountain’s aerial tramway provides an opportunity to ascend to incredible heights without the physical exertion of a hike. The tramway offers sweeping panoramic views across New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and even Canada. At the summit, visitors can explore walking paths, an observation deck, and a café, making it an ideal outing for the whole family.


The Flume Gorge

The Flume Gorge is a natural wonder that attracts visitors worldwide. This stunning, moss-covered gorge features a 2-mile walk through towering granite walls, cascading waterfalls, and serene glacial pools. Well-maintained walkways and informative plaques make this a fun and educational journey suitable for all ages.


Hiking Mount Lafayette

For the more adventurous, Mount Lafayette offers a challenging but rewarding hike. The 8.8-mile loop trail, part of the Franconia Ridge Traverse, includes a climb up the Old Bridle Path, a visit to the Greenleaf Hut, and a summit of Mount Lafayette, providing unmatched views of the White Mountains. We recommend this hike for experienced trekkers and advise proper preparation.


Echo Lake Beach

For those looking to relax, Echo Lake Beach offers a peaceful retreat for swimming, picnicking, and canoeing. Surrounded by mountain views, it’s a perfect spot to unwind after a day of hiking.


Other Activities in Franconia Notch

Franconia Notch is rich with other activities, including:

  • The Basin: An easily accessible natural granite pothole with inviting waters.
  • Artist’s Bluff Trail: A short hike leading to breathtaking views of Franconia Notch.
  • Boating and Fishing: Available on Echo Lake with rental options.
  • Biking Trails: Miles of biking trails, including the paved Franconia Notch Bike Path.



Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for a challenging hike or a family seeking a relaxing and educational vacation, Franconia Notch has something for everyone. Explore this beautiful region from the comfort of a Bretton Woods home rental. Visit us to find out more about the summer activities in the White Mountains and book your favorite vacation cabin for an unforgettable experience. The magic of Franconia Notch awaits you!



If you’re looking to provide an unforgettable experience for the young adventurers in your family, look no further than Lost River Gorge and Boulder Caves Park. This enchanting natural playground is perfect for kids and adults alike, offering a blend of exploration, excitement, and education. Here’s what you can expect when you visit:


1. Explore Mystical Caves

Immerse yourself in the intriguing world beneath the Earth’s surface as you explore mysterious caves. Wander through tight squeezes, discover hidden chambers, and feel the thrill of spelunking without needing special equipment.


2. Climb Gigantic Boulders

Climb and scramble over colossal glacial boulders that have been sculpted by time. These geological wonders provide a unique playground for children and a fascinating insight into the history of the region for everyone.


3. Marvel at Waterfalls

Listen to the soothing sound of water as you follow trails that meander past cascading waterfalls. The gentle spray and mesmerizing flow provide a refreshing backdrop to this natural wonderland.


4. Take In Amazing Vistas

Don’t forget to pause and soak in the breathtaking views that punctuate this park. Whether it’s a panorama of the surrounding mountains or a secluded forest glade, the vistas at Lost River Gorge are truly awe-inspiring.


5. Cross the Suspension Bridge

Add a touch of excitement by crossing the suspension bridge that sways above the gorge. It’s a fun and slightly thrilling experience that adds to the sense of adventure.


6. Nestle in the Giant Bird’s Nest

Get a bird’s eye view by nesting in the giant bird’s nest. This creative and fun feature is a favorite among young visitors and offers a whimsical perspective of the park.


7. Educational Opportunities

Lost River Gorge is not just about fun; it’s also an educational experience. Guided tours and interpretive signs offer insights into the geology, flora, and fauna of the region, making it a valuable learning experience.


8. Accessibility and Facilities

The park offers well-maintained paths, safety railings, and accessible routes, making it suitable for a wide range of ages and abilities. On-site facilities include a visitor center, gift shop, and restrooms, ensuring a comfortable visit.



Crawford Notch, located in the heart of New Hampshire’s White Mountains, stands as one of our favorite destinations. Renowned for its remarkable waterfalls and scenic trails, it offers something for every nature enthusiast. Here’s what you can look forward to when you explore Crawford Notch:



Named the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, Arethusa Falls is a breathtaking spectacle that should be on every hiker’s list. Cascading down nearly 160 feet, the falls offer a dramatic view that’s worth the moderate hike. The Arethusa Falls Trail is around 1.5 miles long and provides stunning views along the way, particularly in late spring and early summer when the falls are at their most powerful. 



For those looking for a shorter yet equally rewarding hike, Ripley Falls is a must-see. With a drop of 100 feet and an easy half-mile trail, it’s an excellent choice for families or those with limited time. The Ripley Falls Trail offers an opportunity to immerse yourself in the White Mountains’ wilderness without a strenuous effort. 



If it’s a panoramic view you’re after, the Mt. Willard Trail promises a breathtaking vista overlooking Crawford Notch. The trail spans 3.2 miles round trip and offers a moderate hike with a steady ascent. The summit opens up to a wide ledge, offering a bird’s-eye view of the notch and surrounding peaks. It’s an ideal spot for photography, picnics, or simply soaking in the beauty of the White Mountains. More information on this trail can be found through the U.S. Forest Service.



Embarking on a hike, even for a day, demands careful planning and preparation. Ensure you have adequate supplies, clothing, and safety gear, and always stay informed about the weather conditions. According to the American Hiking Society, adhering to safety guidelines can turn a good hike into a great experience!



We at Bretton Woods Vacations are committed to making your stay unforgettable. From cozy cabins to lavish lodges, we provide the perfect setting for your adventure in hiking in the White Mountains. Visit us to explore our properties and learn about summer activities. Book your favorite vacation cabin today and embark on a journey of wonder, excitement, and relaxation!