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The Ultimate Guide to Arethusa Falls Hiking Trail: A Nature Lover's Dream

Arethusa Falls


Arethusa Falls, located in Crawford Notch State Park, New Hampshire, is a magnificent natural wonder that offers a thrilling and picturesque hiking experience for outdoor enthusiasts. As one of the tallest waterfalls in the White Mountains, it lures hikers with its awe-inspiring beauty and challenging trails. In this article, we will not only cover essential details about the Arethusa Falls hiking trail but also reveal some hidden facts that are known by very few people.

Arethusa Falls

Exploring the Beauty of Arethusa Falls

Arethusa Falls is a mesmerizing 200-feet waterfall that cascades down a granite cliff face, surrounded by lush greenery and vibrant flora. The trail leading to the falls offers breathtaking views of the landscape, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photographers.

Length of the Arethusa Falls Hiking Trail

The hiking trail to Arethusa Falls is approximately 2.8 miles long. The journey begins at the trailhead and takes adventurers through serene forests and along charming streams, gradually building excitement for the grand encounter with the falls.

Top Point Elevation

The top point elevation of Arethusa Falls is at an elevation of around 2,000 feet above sea level. As hikers ascend the trail, they are rewarded with stunning panoramic vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Arethusa Falls hiking

Estimating the Time to Complete the Arethusa Falls Hike

The time it takes to complete the hike to Arethusa Falls depends on several factors, including the hiker's fitness level, pace, and the number of breaks taken. The journey to the falls typically lasts between 2 and 3 hours. while allowing ample time for appreciating the scenery and capturing memorable photographs.

Difficulty Levels

The Arethusa Falls hiking trail presents a moderate level of difficulty. While the trail is generally well-marked and maintained, hikers will encounter some steep and rocky sections that require careful navigation. Novice hikers may find it slightly challenging, but the sense of accomplishment upon reaching the falls is immensely rewarding.

Arethusa Falls hiking trail

Preparing for the Hike

Before embarking on the Arethusa Falls hike, it is essential to prepare adequately. Engage in regular physical activity to improve stamina, and consider practicing on easier trails to build confidence. Checking the weather forecast is crucial, as the trail conditions may vary based on recent rainfall or snowfall.

Safety Measures and Tips

Safety should always be a top priority during any hiking expedition. Here are some essential safety measures and tips for a secure hike to Arethusa Falls:

  • Wear appropriate footwear with good traction.
  • Stay hydrated and carry sufficient water and snacks.
  • For sun protection, put on a hat and sunscreen.
  • Bring a trail map and a first aid kit.
  • Inform someone about your hiking plans and expected return time.
  • Follow all park regulations and respect wildlife and vegetation.

What to Bring on the Hiking Trip

To make the most of the Arethusa Falls hiking experience, consider packing the following items:

  • Backpack with essentials (water, snacks, first-aid kit)
  • Comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes
  • Weather-appropriate clothing (layering is recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing the scenic beauty
  • Trash bags to carry out any waste

Best Seasons for Hiking

Arethusa Falls is accessible for hiking throughout the year, each season offering a unique and captivating experience. Spring brings blooming flowers, while summer provides a refreshing escape from the heat. Autumn displays a mesmerizing tapestry of colorful foliage, and winter transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland. However, winter hiking demands additional preparation and caution due to icy conditions.

Capturing the Beauty: Photography Tips

For photography enthusiasts, Arethusa Falls presents an abundance of captivating subjects. To capture the perfect shot, consider these tips:

  • Use a wide-angle lens to encompass the grandeur of the falls and surrounding scenery.
  • Utilize a tripod for stability and long exposure shots.
  • Experiment with different shutter speeds to capture the motion of the falling water.
  • Visit during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset for soft, warm lighting.
  • Include hikers or wildlife in the frame to add a sense of scale and depth.

Experiencing Wildlife on the Trail

The Arethusa Falls hiking trail offers opportunities to encounter various wildlife species native to the region. Keep an eye out for birds, such as the black-capped chickadee or the northern cardinal, and small mammals like squirrels and chipmunks. It is essential to observe wildlife from a safe distance and avoid feeding them to maintain their natural behavior.

Arethusa Falls

Camping Near Arethusa Falls

For those seeking a more immersive experience, camping near Arethusa Falls is an excellent option. Several designated camping areas are available in Crawford Notch State Park, providing an opportunity to spend a night under the stars and wake up to the soothing sounds of nature.

Arethusa Falls

Alternative Hiking Routes

While the primary route to Arethusa Falls is via the Crawford Path and Bemis Brook Trail, there are alternative paths worth exploring. For experienced hikers looking for a more challenging adventure, the Frankenstein Cliff Trail offers stunning views and connects with the Arethusa Falls trail.

How to Reach Arethusa Falls

To access the Arethusa Falls trailhead, take US-302 East from Interstate 93. Follow the scenic highway through Crawford Notch, and after approximately 15 miles, you will reach the trailhead parking area, which is clearly marked. Parking can get crowded during peak seasons, so it's best to arrive early.

Hidden Facts About Arethusa Falls

Now, let's uncover some intriguing hidden facts about Arethusa Falls that are not widely known:

Fact 1: Legendary Inspiration

Arethusa Falls derives its name from Greek mythology. "Arethusa" was a nymph who transformed into a spring to escape the pursuit of the river god, Alpheus. This name was given to the falls in the 19th century, adding a touch of mythological allure to the natural wonder.

Fact 2: Ice Climber's Haven

During winter, when the falls freeze over, Arethusa Falls becomes a paradise for ice climbers. The frozen ice formations create challenging and rewarding climbing opportunities for experienced ice climbers seeking adventure in a pristine environment.

Fact 3: Geological Marvel

The falls were formed thousands of years ago through glacial activity. The gradual erosion of the surrounding rock by the flowing waters of Bemis Brook created the impressive 200-foot cascade that we see today, making it a geological wonder worth exploring.

Fact 4: Ecological Richness

The area around Arethusa Falls is known for its ecological diversity. From rare plant species to a variety of bird and animal life, the region is a treasure trove of biodiversity. Conservation efforts are ongoing to protect this natural habitat and maintain its delicate balance.

Fact 5: Setting for Hollywood

The mesmerizing beauty of Arethusa Falls has attracted the attention of filmmakers. It served as a filming location for several Hollywood movies, adding to its allure as a captivating natural backdrop for cinematic masterpieces.


In conclusion, the Arethusa Falls hiking trail is not only a place of breathtaking beauty and thrilling adventure but also holds hidden secrets that add to its charm. From its mythological namesake to its significance in the world of ice climbing, Arethusa Falls is a destination that continues to surprise and inspire those who visit.


Q1: Are pets allowed on the Arethusa Falls hiking trail?

A1: Yes, leashed pets are allowed on the trail. However, it's essential to clean up after them to maintain a pristine environment.

Q2: Can I swim in the pool at the base of the falls?

A2: Swimming in the pool beneath Arethusa Falls is discouraged due to safety concerns, as the water can be cold and unpredictable currents.

Q3: Are there restrooms along the trail?

A3: No, there are no restrooms along the trail. It's recommended to use the facilities at the trailhead before starting the hike.

Q4: Is there an admission fee for visiting Arethusa Falls?

A4: No, there is no admission fee to visit Arethusa Falls or hike the trail. The area is part of the Crawford Notch State Park, which is open to the public.

Q5: Can I visit Arethusa Falls in winter?

A5: Yes, Arethusa Falls is accessible in winter, but the trail conditions can be challenging due to snow and ice. Extra caution and appropriate gear are necessary for winter hiking.