Friday, October 11, 2019

Ripley Falls

This trip report is pretty late as we visited the White Mountains over the 4th of July weekend and I have been delinquent in posting for a very long time. Our trail destination plans for the weekend brought us to Ripley Falls! I found this hike while looking for a less strenuous option in the Whites and specifically targeting waterfalls. Less well know than Arethusa, Glen Ellis and Diana’s Baths…I can tell you I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the hike was and the spectacular falls that awaited us at the end of our trek.

The trailhead starts at the parking area for Ethan Pond Trail in the Crawford Notch. It’s marked on US Route 302 with a large sign for Ripley Falls. You drive up a short hill and the parking area is at the top. The parking area is rather small so if there are already a bunch of cars up there, you may have to do a 20-point turn and park at the bottom of the hill.

The Ethan Pond Trail starts by heading west up the short, steep bank of the scenic railroad tracks. After crossing the tracks, the trail heads into the woods and is pretty flat with only gentle ascents for the 0.2 miles you’re on the Ethan Pond Trail.

At 0.2 miles, the trail splits and the Ethan Pond Trail continues west while the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail heads in a southwesterly direction. Again, many gentle ascents mixed with flat stretches make up the next 0.3ish miles. Similar to many other WMNF trails, it was filled with rocks, boulders, roots and a lot of runoff water producing a lot of mud! For the last stretch of trail before reaching Ripley Falls (0.6 miles total), the trail descends aggressively to an open area beneath the falls.

Ripley Falls very much reminded me of Arethusa with some of its own uniqueness. At the bottom were many rocks to hop on and lounge, as well as calm pools of water to wade in. We got a show from rock climbers that were repelling down the smooth granite surface of the falls. It was definitely a cool sight to witness. Also, there were hundreds of butterflies sunning on the rocks, which the kids love to observe.

After soaking in the sun for a bit and watching the rock climbers repel, we packed it up and headed back out the 0.6 miles to the car. This was a great family hike and even though it was short, it had all the great features of a good White Mountains’ trek. I would highly recommend it for those looking for something less strenuous for the day and definitely those with small children. In total, it is a 1.2 mile hike and approximately 400 feet in elevation gain.



  1. Hi Karl,

    Excellent posting! I wholeheartedly agree with your statement which reads: “. . . even though it was short, it had all the great features of a good White Mountains’ trek.
    Ripley Falls is a great hike! When my time is limited, I often go there since it is close to my home, and it’s a short hike. And as you say, it does have “all the features of a White Mountains’ trek”.


  2. Nice post as always Karl! It has been awesome to see your blog evolve over the years. I love posts like this because it lets NH locals show MA residents like me where I can find cool an unique trips which might get overlooked in the shadow of the 4,000 foot peaks.

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