Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trail

HARD 464 reviews
#2 of 36 trails in

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trail is a 4.2 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Bartlett, New Hampshire that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 4.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,538 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

Directions from Bartlett, NH: Travel north approximately 12 miles on US 302 to the park entrance. Soon after entering the park, you will see a parking lot on your left specifically for this waterfall trail.

hiking
21 hours ago

Excellent day hike. Very worthwhile trip. Full loop is awesome but out and back to Arethusa falls or, Frankenstein cliff just as good. Arethusa much easier side of the hike for sure. The Frankenstein trestle/cliff side is a bit of a scramble with exposed tree roots, rocks etc. making footing skitchy in spots. Sturdy boots a must. Little kids...maybe?Would not do this after a rain. Views are incredible!

hiking
1 day ago

Park in the lower lot. The Frankenstein trail head is at the end of the lot right across from the outhouse. Follow the yellow trail markers although the trail is decently worn and really only goes one way. A climb up down over and through the woods brings you under the bridge for the Conway train. You can hear it going by but unfortunately I was not close enough to get any pictures. Right past the bridge there are wild black berries and some were just ripe enough for picking. Some of the trail prior to the bridge has some decent erosion and can be steep and narrow in certain areas. Along the way up there was an area of rockface with the tiniest streams of water trickling down it. I’m not sure if it is an official waterfall but you do cross the path of the water although it was really just some moisture on the rocks by that point. There is an awesome view point a bit of a ways up on a flat rock right at the edge. You can see the surrounding mountains and back down to the parking lot in the distance. This standpoint held a better view than the small out and back for the actual Frankenstein Cliff portion which is further up ahead. I wouldn’t bother with the extra out and back again. Traveling on toward the Arethusa falls trail was a good hike with some small ascents and descents and stream crossings along the way. You’ll see a sign and trail markers turn blue once you are on Arethusa Falls trail. The main fall is very pretty although I’m not sure there is quite enough water to swim in it as others have suggested. I did not take the Bemis loop on the way back simply because the sun was already giving the glow of starting to set. All in all the hike took about 4.5 hours moving time with the occasional water stop/catch my breath stop. I paused my watch at the falls but probably spent about 20 minutes or so there especially since I was chit chatting with a nice family from Pennsylvania. I would agree with the rating of difficult for this trail since some areas particularly on Frankenstein are steep, which is likely why it seemed seldom traveled. My 80lb Rhodesian ridgeback had no issues on trail except trying to get back up from the waterfall (there was an easier way she just chose not to take it.)

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 days ago

A very rewarding hike! Two incredible waterfalls (not dinky trickling spills—real waterfalls!)! This route—starts by going up Frankenstein which is difficult but I highly recommend rather than coming back down this way. A little treacherous for the beginner hiker or even moderate hiker—but totally doable with breaks. Great for a cloudy day when you know you won’t see much from the summits!

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
9 days ago

You need proper footwear for this hike and tons of water ! Very steep

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
11 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

Lots of diversity with this hike. Waterfall, awesome overlook, and cool railroad. Also not that difficult in my opinion. Definitely recommend this!

hiking
rocky
16 days ago

hiking
washed out
16 days ago

Nice spot to hike overall. I went up the steep side of the cliff first and was disappointed to see the state that the trail was in. Not only was the ground unstable in many parts, but there was scrap metal that appeared to have been left on the side of the trail for years. Personally I find that unacceptable, especially for a state run park. I do think the difficult should be lowered seeing as how you don't even need to go up the steep side; if you go the other way and then head back, it's a pretty easy hike. Even the steep cliff side isn't that hard, and you'll traverse it before you know it if you're a moderate or experienced hiker. The view of the top and the falls is great. There's also another view that branches off, but I didn't go to that one. I think I would've like this spot even more if the caretakers focused more on the cliff than they did on the part of the trail that leads to the falls

hiking
blowdown
rocky
scramble
16 days ago

Overall a great hike but some steep downhills on the Frankenstein Cliffs trail are badly eroded and tough to descend (didn’t try to ascend but doubt it would be any easier) . Falls and RR trestle are pretty cool.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
rocky
scramble
washed out
16 days ago

Hard working, for just one scenery and a waterfall.

4.6 mile loop outstanding !

hiking
rocky
scramble
18 days ago

hiking
20 days ago

trail is hard to find at first but a beautiful hike! gets very steep at times making it challenging.

hiking
23 days ago

Hike with Guerrette’s. Not entirely kid friendly under but spectacular view!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

We started at Arethusa lower parking lot. Trail is a bit difficult to find. From the trailhead at the end of lot, go up but check for marker before you reach the railroad tracks. The hike from there is quite stenosis for about 1.5m. It was really hot too! And buggy. Great views from the top. Once you have reached to top of Frankenstein Cliff, it is an easy stroll. And we only saw one other group going the other way. The waterfalls are great. But they get super crowder real fast. We were just by ourselves at 10-ish but as we hiked down the Arethusa trail, probably 100 people were going up to the falls. Go early or you’ll hate it. The pup loved it.

hiking
1 month ago

Find the trail head on your right at the upper lot. Yellow markers will take you through the woods, under the train track bridge and then up a very steep 56% grade climb. It is a pretty solid challenge for the first 1.3-1.5 miles with a nice reward at a cliff outlook. Took the short trail to falcon cliff which was nice. Ended the day hosing off under Arethusa falls (I recommend taking a bathing suit... so worth it). Took Bemis falls trail down just to catch a few more smaller waterfalls. Overall a nice shorter Sunday hike. The pup liked it too!

Load More

Featured Trails