Overview: Beautiful waterfall in the White Mountains. Location: Crawford Notch State Park, NH. Stream : Avalanche Brook. Height : About 100 feet. Finding : Easy. Well marked trailhead. Access : Short hike. Swimming: No. Basking : Some rocks for sitting. Privacy : Popular spot. Legal : Public access.
The access road to Ripley Falls is right along US Route 302 in Crawford Notch. Look for it on the west side of the road a couple of miles below the height of land. The Appalachian Trail crosses Route 302 at the point where the access road meets the highway.
Drive up the access road a short distance to a small parking area. The road ends at the parking area so you won't miss it! There are signs for the trail and the falls.
The trail rapidly angles "to the right" and soon crosses the railroad tracks. Not long after that the trail splits with the route to the falls taking the left fork and the Appalachian Trail taking the right fork. The trail climbs gradually for a total distance of about a half mile. Finally, it decends a steep, rocky section to the stream's edge where you get your first and best view of the falls.
Avalanche Brook flows over a large rock face at Ripley Falls. Although there is no truely vertical drop (to speak of), the rocks are very steeply inclined making for a beautiful waterfall. The falls seems to have two distinct sections over which the stream flows in slightly different directions, and throughout its fall it is spread widely over the rocks.
The end of the trail is just below the falls and pretty much in the ideal spot for viewing the falls. There are a number of rocks that one could scramble over to get closer to the falls and that is worthwhile. However, I felt no particular urge to attempt to climb the steep ground alongside the falls. That would have been very treacherous anyway.
All in all, Ripley Falls is quite beautiful. I highly recommend it.
From Ripley Falls there is a connecting trail that goes toArethusa Falls. We did not follow it.
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