Vagabond Traveler

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The Lure of Scenic Waterfalls  

By Mary Emma Allen  

Waterfalls, wherever they are in the world, seem to capture the attention of travelers.  They go out of their way to travel to these cascading tumbles of water, whether the falls are long narrow streams or a wide expanse like Niagara Falls.  Some falls may simply be a tumble of water over a dam, while others are famed and draw visitors from far and near.  

Niagara Falls from the Candian side  Photo Credit Kathleen Walls

We take photos of them (often with ourselves or family included), purchase postcards picturing them or simply enjoy them from memory.  I have a photo of my parents, newlyweds in the 1930s, standing before a waterfall in NYS.  We had a small waterfall in the woods on the farm where I grew up, that was a pleasant place to hike and picnic.  My husband and I have gone out of our way to hike around waterfalls, or simply see them from the road, in our travels.  There often are legends associated with waterfalls.  

New Hampshire's Scenic Waterfalls  

Throughout the mountains of central New Hampshire, a number of waterfalls lure visitors to picturesque sites where one can enjoy the water gushing over the rocks and tumbling into a stream below.  Some can be seen from the highway, while to view others you must hike awhile along a trail.   Take a picnic lunch and enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the woodland near such natural delights.  Some waterfalls will have created natural pools for swimming, too.   

Sabbaday Falls, off the scenic Kancamagus Highway in the White Mountains, is described as an easy 0.4 mile walk from the road, taking about 20 minutes to one hour, round trip.  It has been mentioned in a White Mountain National Forest service brochure as "a picturesque series of cascades in a narrow flume."  Signs pint out various rock formations.  Also there is a picnic area at the entrance to the trail.  

Champney Falls , named for White Mountain artist Benjamin Champney, is another easy walk of 1.5 miles, requiring one to three hours for the round trip.  This attraction, also off the Kancamagus Highway, usually has plenty of water in spring, as well as after heavy rains.  The falls can be minimal during dry seasons.  

A path around 200 feet long leads from the bottom of Champney Falls toPitcher Falls.  This latter waterfall has water running the major portion of the year.  

Franconia Falls , in the Pemigewasset Wilderness area, is described as "an easy goal for a short day-hike." These falls consist of a massive granite ledge with a water chute.   Follow the Wilderness Trail along the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River from the trail head on the Kancamagus Highway, about five miles east of Interstate 93.  

The Basin-Cascades Trail parallels Cascade Brook in Franconia Notch State Park and affords a view of numerous scenic cascades along the way.  It's a 2.6 mile, moderate trail that's a great family one with lovely views of waterfalls.  

The Flume is a natural gorge extending 800 feet along Flume Brook at the base of Mt Liberty in Franconia State Park.  Lovely falls throughout the gorge, particularly Avalanche Falls at the upper end, attract numerous visitors each year,causing this natural area to be considered one of the most visited in the state.  There is an admission charge to visit The Flume and traverse the trail which takes you over a board walkway along the stream and falls.  

 Arethusa Falls, considered one the tallest falls in the state, is off the beaten path in Crawford Notch.   Located on Bemis Brook, these falls are more than 200 feet high.   

Below this,on Avalanche Brook, you'll find Ripley Falls, which rises about 100 feet.  These are two spectacular spots in Crawford Notch and connected by a trail.  They are on the "must see" list of many hikers.  

On and on goes a list of waterfalls in the Granite State. as well as throughout the country.  You may have a favorite you return to repeatedly.  Or you may enjoy discovering new falls.  

(c)2016 Mary Emma Allen   (Mary Emma Allen writes for children and adults from her NH woodland home.  She also writes the Potluck column for American Roads.








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