Saturday, November 5, 2011

Arethusa Falls & Frankenstein Cliff - Hiking

Arethusa Falls (2,000 ft)
Frankenstein Cliff (2,150 ft)
Elevation Gain: 1,500 ft cumulative
Trails: Arethusa Falls and Frankenstein Cliff
Distance: 4.7 miles roundtrip
Duration: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

I don't get a chance to drive through Crawford Notch very often, but when I do, it's always a treat to see how beautiful this part of the White Mountains are. I met with other members of the New England Over 50 Hiking group this morning at the trailhead of the upper parking lot just off of Route 302. The weather was perfect, a bit chilly but sunny and comfortable.

Reading other reviews of this particular hike, most take the Frankenstein Cliff trail first, then make the loop to the falls. Steve, our meetup group organizer, took us in the opposite direction.   The trail to the falls is pleasant and an easy hike walk. There were several wooden bridge crossings and no grand views as the trail is entirely wooded. There were many others on the trail as well. And since it was such a beautiful day, we shared the falls with many others photographing the falls and enjoying its beauty.

Our group continued on the loop to the Frankenstein Cliff. The trail is well worn and well marked with blazes. There is one lookout point before the descent to the Cliff, but the view of Mt. Washington is obscured by several tall pine trees. At Frankenstein Cliff, our group spent an hour resting, eating lunch and taking in the view. From here you can see the parking lot, as well as Arethusa Falls.

The rest of the descent from the cliff was easy with one challenging section where we had to navigate down steep rock steps. The trail continued alongside several walls, which in the winter, are used by ice climbers. The trail continued under the train tracks in the area known as the Frankenstein Trestle. At the upper parking lot, the cliff itself can be seen.

**Click on photos to view larger images