Who doesn’t love a great waterfall? While some are hidden away miles into the woods, many local falls are only a short walk from the road. If you’re itching to cool off from the summer heat, these short-hike spots, all under three miles, should be at the top of your list!

The power of the water is evident and impressive on the polished by nature granite pot hole.
The power of the water is evident and impressive on the polished by nature granite pot hole.

The Basin, Kinsman Falls, and Rocky Glen Falls

Kinsman Falls
Kinsman Falls

If you are heading into the White Mountains on Interstate 93, you will see signs in Lincoln for The Basin. Once there, you can pull into the large parking lot and head a mere 0.1 miles on a paved trail to The Basin, a circular cave ­line formation created by the falls’ rushing water eroding the rock over thousands of years. Ease of access means you will not be alone here, but this is a stop not to be missed.

When you are ready to get away from the crowds, continue on the Basin­ Cascade Trail for a half mile to arrive at Kinsman Falls, where the sounds of cars have faded.

For even more solitude, go another half mile on the root-filled trail to Rocky Glen Falls. This quiet beauty only requires a two-mile, round-trip hike.

NH Waterfalls

Silver Cascade

Silver Cascade is visible right from U.S. Route 302 and has parking across the street. To get there, just cross the road and make a short walk up to the falls to admire its 300-foot drop.

Flume Waterfall

Flume Cascade

Moments away on Route 302 is Flume Cascade, another waterfall with a 300-foot drop that’s just a short walk across the street from the parking lot. Like the Silver Cascade, the Flume Cascade should not be missed!

NH Waterfalls

Ripley Falls

When you are ready for a walk into the woods, head further along Route 302 to the trail head for Ripley Falls. A steep, rocky trail gets you there in about half a mile. The 100-foot falls, while not as high as many others in the area, are still impressive, with the angle and the ability to get close adding to the overall excitement.

NH Waterfalls

Falling Waters “Four-in-One”

This popular hike, which leads to Mt. Lincoln, has four incredible waterfalls, all within the first 1.5 miles! The first mile of trail, nearly flat and easy to walk, brings you to Walker Cascade, which can be challenging to locate, as it’s just a series of cascades. Stairs Falls, the next during your hike, is best viewed slightly off the trail; for just a few extra steps, we feel it is well worth it. A short walk further brings you to Swiftwater Falls, at 0.9 miles from the parking lot. The trail crosses the stream here, making it a great spot to linger on a hot day, as the water is usually well under knee level!

Finally, the grand finale is Cloudland Falls, with an 80-foot drop. For many, this is the stopping point, but if you are continuing your hike, it is a wonderful snack spot. The mist of the waterfall is a natural air conditioner, and the falls are mesmerizing to watch. If you are a winter hiker, this waterfall is also spectacular when frozen over!


If you only have a couple of hours to explore, you can fit in one or two of these waterfalls for an adventure. Have the day and want to get some exercise? Why not see them all! So, bring a towel and picnic lunch to enjoy the beauty of some of the best waterfalls in New Hampshire. Let us know if your favorite made the list, or if you have another we may not have heard of!

Cathy Merrifield

Cathy became hooked on hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A true nature lover, Cathy enjoys kayaking, biking, skiing, snow shoeing, rock climbing, backpacking all are loves of this rugged adventurer. Her excitement for outdoors is only equaled by her passion for travel. She blogs for RoarLoud.net where she highlights everything connected with unique and fascinating adventures she can find.

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