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Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trail

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Crawford Notch State Park

Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff Trail is a 5.1 mile heavily 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.

Length 5.1 mi Elevation gain 1,627 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Snowshoeing

Bird watching

Running

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Muddy

Rocky

Snow

Waypoints (1)
Contact
Getting There
  • 1

    Waterfall

    Waterfall

    44.15547, -71.36858

New Hampshire Division of Travel & Tourism, P.O. Box 1856 , Concord, NH, 03302-1856, Phone: 603-271-2665

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.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (775)
Photos (1049)
Recordings (411)
Completed (1965)
Francois Foucart
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HikingRocky
Emilie B
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did this twice this year! could not recommend more. get there early as the parking lot fills quick. Arethusa was my first real waterfall and it did not disappoint. we continued to the outlook, which I could sit and look at Crawford notch all day. bugs were nearly non existent in both June and July. the trail to the cliffs is well shaded. descending down from the outlook is a bit tricky. keep a lookout for roots and rocks covered by leaves, and go very slow at the second waterfall especially if it's rained recently as it's quite slippery. the trail can be strenuous, especially if you're short, as some spots need some climbing. although some spots are a bit challenging, as a whole, it's a very enjoyable hike with a lot to offer.

Chelsea Allen
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Hiking
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Don Cameron
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Well worth the effort. Hiked today Sat. very busy place. Lots of families. But the falls are worth the effort. Recommend a good pair of shoes as trail is a bit of a challenge.

Ken Glaspey
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Hiking
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Jennifer Fortin
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Hiking

What a great hike! We went up Frankenstein Trail, over time the cliff, to Falcon Cliff and then down to the falls. Great 5 miles of hiking!

Will Allen
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Hiking

Great trail! Our 60 lbs golden crushed it with no problem. Incredible views at Frankenstein Cliff, big crowd at the falls.

View Will's Recording
Karen G.
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Hiking

Got engaged on this trail!!!!

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Lydia Birch
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HikingScramble

We started from the parking lot up to Frankenstein cliff around 10:55 am, and we were back in the parking lot by 12:45 pm - this included about 20-25 minutes at the top, and a few detours and stops on the trail. The beginning is VERY mild, but very rocky. You need to have solid ankle support in whatever footwear you chose for this path. I’m not an experienced hiker by any means, but only had to stop for a breather a couple times. Towards the middle to end of the trail there are some significantly steep portions with a lot of loose rocks, which made coming down slow and slightly treacherous. The top is totally worth it though. Small cliff with a beautiful view. I’m afraid of heights but still found the cliff to not be intimidating, plenty of space to picnic and hang out. After, we returned to the parking lot and headed to Arethusa. Easy hike, but we went at much too fast of a pace assuming it was more of a “walk than a hike”. A ton of people there practically in street attire, so it can be frustrating at times getting stuck behind slow parties or passing people who don’t really know trail etiquette. The falls were gorgeous, plenty of space to sprawl out and enjoy the falls without having a ton of people right near by.

Jenn Nickerson
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HikingRocky

Recommend starting on Frankenstein early (7a) and onto Arethusa Falls. Frankenstein is a steep ascent. The scenic overlook is the “summit” and has beautiful views. The gem though is the Falls. You want to hit these by 9 am or you will be putting up with massive crowds of flip flop wearing tourists with their sullen teens and screaming toddlers. I stayed 2 hours at the falls. As I headed out around 11, the trail was like walking in the mall. Trail is designated hard due to the steep ascent. Otherwise I would rate it as moderate.

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Trey Partain
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Hiking

There were a lot of downed trees but all were fairly easy to go over or under. I went counterclockwise which I recommend. Steep going up for 1.7 miles and after that it was a smooth hike. I took Bemis trail on the way back to see 2 falls (Bemis and coliseum) and Fawn pond. I walked along the water from coliseum to fawn instead of going back to the trail. It was a fun trail and I started at 6am. No bugs and great temp.

Ashley Hardy
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HikingRocky

Great trail - the first 1.5 mile was a tough climb with lots of rocks and roots but totally worth it for the view at the top of the Frankenstein Cliff outlook. The trail then has some gradual incline and descents before making a final descent through a couple small brooks before it meets up with the Arethusa Falls Trail. From there only .2 mi to Arethusa Falls. Not too crowded at 5PM on a humid Saturday and the waters were so refreshing! Headed back to the parking lot on the Arethusa Falls Trail which was an easy downhill finish with some built in steps. A challenging climb but highly recommend!

John B.
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HikingMuddyOver grownRocky
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Jill Hatcher
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Hiking

The Frankenstein Cliff Trail was very nice...it was pretty steep, rocky & lots of roots but it was not too bad. We started on the Cliff side and then when to the Arethusa Falls which was a mistake! It is very pretty but there were sooo many people there. Since the sign at the start of the trail shows that it is a 1 mile hike each way there were people of all sorts....some in tennis shoes, sandals, dress clothes etc. During the Covid, it was way too close for comfort. We had to keep putting our masks on out of respect but couldn't wait to get away from the Arethusa Falls. We detoured to the Bemis Brook trail which was simply AMAZING! It was VERY steep climbing down the first section, but well worth it! It was the best part of the entire day! The waterfalls at the bottom were simply magnificent and there we only ran into a few people along the way.

Nick Oman
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HikingFee

This is an awesome loop. We start with the cliffs first and and ended with the falls. Which I feel is prudent doing it this way for 2 reasons. It’s much easier going uphill very steep trails rather then going down very steep trails, which the cliff side is a steep ascent. The falls side is a gradual ascent. Also, it was refreshing ending at the falls after a hot and muggy day and being able to enjoy the cool water. I’d do it again.

Amy Wood
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HikingMuddy

If you go counter clockwise the beginning is very steep and rocky. The view from the cliffs are amazing. The waterfall is pretty.. crowded during the summer. It would be well worth to add Bemis falls so get a few more very pretty waterfalls during the hike.

Katie Daubert
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HikingMuddyRockyScramble

Hiked from Frankenstein Cliff Trail to Arethusa Falls with two children. It was a tough incline for first couple miles but so worth it. Railroad bridge was so amazing to see and the falls were out of this world!

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Milissa Woodward
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Hiking

We did the Bemis Trail to Arethusa Falls then to the Frankenstein Cliff Trail. We walked the last part on the railroad tracks. It was difficult but doable. The falls were absolutely stunning.

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Neil Allison
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HikingBugsMuddy

Hit the trailhead around 9:30AM with an almost empty parking lot which was full by the time we got back around 1PM. Decided to go counter clockwise to get the steeper section out of the way first. A few rocky portions were wet and slippery but overall a fairly moderate hike. The first section through Frankenstein Cliff up to Arethusa Falls was empty and we came across one other group but we arrived to a fairly crowded falls so we decided to continue on to finish the loop. The bugs were pretty bad but thankfully had some bug spray which kept them off. Muddy portions on the short cut-off to the falls but moderately dry despite a few days of rain for the rest of the trail.

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Principal Andy Hall
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Hiking

My wife and I did the counterclockwise loop and loved it. Great views from the Frankenstein Ridge. We did it in 3 hours with a stop at the falls which were pretty amazing.

Ashley Schellinger
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Hiking

Not my favorite. Very Rocky to get close to falls compared to other falls I’ve been. Perhaps it was the rainfall that day but I wasn’t impressed. We hiked it’s neighbor Ripley right after and it was amazing and loved that one much better. We also didn’t realize when we started how long this hike was. Our fault.

C G
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Hiking

This review is mostly for Frankenstein Cliffs. The view from the cliffs is nice but quite honestly next time I’d skip doing the whole loop and just head straight to Arethusa Falls. If you’re looking for a hike with a scenic view you’re better off driving to Mt Willard up the road instead (somewhat similar but superior views and better trail conditions). I did the loop by heading to Frankenstein first and this trail is poorly maintained, luckily the trail was very dry today because I could imagine how all of the dead leaves that cover a majority of the trail could get slippery. The Arethusa trail is great though and the waterfall is spectacular!

Adam Trontz
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HikingBugsOver grown

Highly recommend the counter-clockwise route if you are considering the loop! The steepness of the trail just past the overhead railway and coming down that is not for the faint of heart. Beautiful view from Frankenstein Cliff and treated ourselves to the wonderful Arethusa Falls before heading out. Trail markers have faded in areas, and was a a little buggy when we started out at 10:30 AM, but got better the further into our hike. Overall gorgeous and highly recommended

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cheryl deuel
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HikingRockyScramble

Difficult trail if your over 40 steep on Bemis to Arethusa but very doable ! towards the end of the trail it was treacherous in spots where trail was covered with pea stone on steep sections. Hot today but the shade was pleasant. Few bugs in spots

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