Overview: Impressive set of Cascades on the side of Mt. Moosilauke. Location: Kinsman Notch in the White Mountains. Stream : Beaver Brook Height : 1000 vertical feet of cascades. No single drop more than about 50 feet. Finding : Easy. Access : Steep, rough hike. However, the first cascade is a short, easy walk. Swimming: No. Basking : Several places. Heavily wooded. Privacy : The trail is a popular route up Mt. Moosilauke. Legal : White Mountain National Forest. Public land.
From the South
From the junction of New Hampshire Rt 112 and Rt 118 (0.0mi/0.0km) follow 112 into Kinsman Notch. At 3.6mi/5.8km there is a hiker's parking area on the left (west) side of the road. This is just before the Appalachian Trail crosses the road. It is well marked. The parking area contains space for quite a few cars. Rest rooms are also available.
Toward the back of the parking area there is a sign with information about the trails in the area. The trail begins behind the sign. Almost immediately the trail comes to a tee junction. The right hand turn leads back to the road. The left hand turn leads to the falls. The trail then crosses Beaver Brook, passes through the woods for a short distance, crosses the brook again, and then starts to climb.
The first cascade is reached about 0.3mi/0.5km from the parking area. At this point there has been minimal climbing. From the first cascade the trail ascends steeply beside the stream for about 0.8mi/1.3km. There are numerous views of cascades all along the trail. The trail is rough and very steep. In places wooden steps and handrails have been provided to make the climb easier. I do not recommend this trail unless you are an experienced hiker.
Relatively high up, the trail comes right next to the stream where there is a large, flat rock that looks like a good resting spot. Above this point the cascades diminish. The trail then climbs somewhat away from the stream and soon bends to the left where it follows a tributary of Beaver Brook on its way to the summit of Moosilauke. If you turn around at the flat rock you will have seen most of the cascades there are to see.
From the North
From the junction of New Hampshire Rt 112 and Rt 116 (0.0mi/0.0km) follow Rt 112 into Kinsman Notch. The road passes Beaver Pond on the right and then comes to the crossing with the Appalachian Trail at the height of land. Almost immediately after that crossing at 5.0mi/8.0km there is a hiker's parking area on the right (west) side of the road. From here follow the directions outlined above.
In less than one mile, Beaver Brook falls 1000 feet down the side of Mt. Moosilauke and into Kinsman Notch. During that trip the stream flows over numerous cascades. The exact number of significant drops is difficult to count. However, once the show has started the stream flows from one waterfall to the next until it starts to level out high above the notch.
The Beaver Brook Trail is an arduous climb, ascending with steep continuous grades. However, you may not find it difficult because you will be tempted to stop every few feet to enjoy yet a new aspect of the stream! The trail stays close to the stream most of the way, although there are a few spots where you will want to scramble through the brush and over a few rocks in order to get a better view. Please use caution!
There are two cascades especially that stand out as excellent. The first is right at the bottom. Here you will come out onto a rocky shoulder with the stream flowing dramatically down a steep face in front of you. The stream flows in a narrow ribbon, changing direction slightly as it does. It then runs out a bit before collecting itself to flow down a narrow chute at the base of the rocky shoulder. The drop is perhaps 30 or 40 feet and is quite lovely. It is also rather easily accessible. This cascade occurs before the trail begins any serious climbing.
The second especially good spot is about half way up. Here the stream flows down a nearly vertical rock face of about 50 feet. It splashes at the bottom of the face and immediately flows on and down over rough terrian. Ferns, moss, and trees adorn the sides of the stream and hang out over the falls making the spot the very icon of a mountain waterfall. It is very beautiful.
In addition to these two spots there are numerous other places of interest along the stream. Virtually every bend in the trail brings into view a new cascade of some kind. There are many falls here that if taken by themselves would each be a wonderful find yet that seem like just another turn in Beaver Brook!
Note also that the Beaver Brook Trail is part of the Appalachian Trial. It is also a popular route for climbing Moosilauke. Consequently you should expect a fair number of people on the trail.
It was a beautiful day at first, but clouds started to move in later in the day. I was surprised at how few people were around. Evidently weekdays in June are not busy times in the White Mountains. I was also pleasently surprised at how few bugs there were today. There were some black flies about, but they were not nearly as much of a problem as I would have expected for the time of year. The air was cool today and that probably supressed them.
I spent about three hours at the cascades. I took my time and enjoyed many spots along the trail. I took many pictures. When I got back to the car, my legs were tired. This was my first real hike of the season, and it was a steep one!
Return to the list of waterfalls.