Arethusa Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in New England!
Arethusa Falls has the highest freefall drop of all NH waterfalls! If
you have not yet been to Arethusa Falls we would highly recommend you put it
at the top of your bucket list! Arethusa Falls is breathtaking!
Arethusa Falls Information:
Arethusa Falls Location:
Arethusa Falls Height:
Arethusa Falls Trail: 1.5 miles
- 1 hour Or if you take the Bemis Trail to
Bemis Falls, Fawn Pool
and Coliseum Falls, then to Arethusa Falls: 2 miles - 2 hours (See
"Hiking Info" below)
Trailhead GPS Location:
Outhouse and picnic tables
No camping, no
overnight parking, no
bikes, no fires.
The hike to Arethusa Falls we found to be a bit of challenge as the
1.5 mile stated distance seemed a bit longer. On our way there we
found ourselves asking
other hikers on the way back to the trail head how much longer did
we have to go. Oddly everyone had completely different answers. One
hiker would tell us "30 minutes," then after we hiked for 30 minutes
the next person we asked said "15-20 minutes" longer. On the way
back from the waterfall people were asking us the same question. We
timed the hike for the purpose of this article so we were able to
give fairly accurate times to hikers. When we did they laughed and
said they were being told all kinds of different answers so we would
recommend to prepare yourself for this
phenomenon. Seems that people were really not thinking about
the timing of the hike to Arethusa Falls until they were getting
tired of walking or maybe it was the Arethusa Falls sign on Rt. 302
that states this is a "One hour hike one way" or its quite possible
that you need to take the right trail! Yup, that's the problem! When
we got to the Arethusa Falls trail head we got out and saw a few
signs but didn't pay a lot of attention to them. As we began the
hike to Arethusa Falls we were almost immediately faced with a
choice of taking the Bemis Brook Trail (marked with yellow paint) or
the Arethusa Falls trail (marked with blue paint). We made the
decision to take the Bemis Brook Trail because it stated it was only
1/2 mile until it rejoins the Arethusa Falls Trail and we remembered
that this trail leads us to see two other waterfalls and a pool.
we took the Bemis Brook Trail to the left. As we begun the hike on
the Bemis Brook Trail we found not many other people were on that
trail, most people were hiking directly to Arethusa Falls on the
Arethusa Falls Trail. We continued anyway and found the trail to be a
little rough in some spots:
Here is a short video of this part of the trail:
After a short but challenging hike we were rewarded with some
cascades and a couple smaller waterfalls Including
Bemis Falls, and
Coliseum Falls. We also got to see Fawn Pool (show below):
Coliseum Falls we realized the trail that ran along the side of
Bemis Brook was gone. It took a few seconds to realize the trail was
about to re-join the Arethusa Falls trail. But when we saw the 45
degree (plus) climb we weren't so excited about that. We are not
regular hikers and a bit out of shape for such a hike. The roots you
see below became handles in some places...
we went higher we kept thinking we were just about to re-join the
Arethusa Falls Trail but were disappointed 3 or 4 times to find we
were not there yet.
we got closer to the Arethusa Falls Trail we could see daylight
through the trees and a slight indication that we were nearing the
peak of this crevasse that we were climbing out of. We could hear
voices so we knew we were not far. We finally made it to the top and
onto a much better trail, the Arethusa Falls Trail...
was a very welcomed site to see the sign to Arethusa Falls!
rested at the junction for a little while telling other hikers of
our adventure up the Bemis Brook Trail. After a few laughs we
continued and headed towards Arethusa Falls. We quickly noticed the
trails were in better condition than the less travelled Bemis Brook
we kept hiking all we could do was laugh about taking the Bemis
Brook Trail to get to the Arethusa Falls Trail. We blamed each other
for a while but then realized we would have never gotten to see
Coliseum Falls had we gone on just the Arethusa Falls Trail.
trail definitely had more traffic on it, we met a lot of people from
all over, including England and Canada. We even passed a couple that
was just about running up this trail. Not exactly our cup of tea but
to each their own. The Arethusa Falls Trail is certainly a trail you
need to watch your footing on. Almost the entire way you are walking
up and down man-made steps, some are quite a jump and require you to
use your hands to hold onto nearby trees but I would call this hike
moderate in difficulty for someone who doesn't hike much, easy for
experienced hikers. It is challenging but
worth the hike and the effort to see Arethusa Falls!
you get closer to the Arethusa Falls you will cross a couple bridges
that are in somewhat tough shape at the time of this article. You
will also hear rushing water if you are hiking here after a recent
rainfall. You will also smell the sweet smell of Spruce trees that
line the last leg of the hike to Arethusa Falls:
Soon after you pass the Spruce trees you will catch your first glimpse of
Arethusa falls through
there in front of you is your reward for hiking to this beautiful
New Hampshire waterfall named Arethusa Falls! The
Fall Foliage makes
Arethusa Falls one of the best NH waterfalls to photograph in Autumn.
During the Summer months there isn't much water here and Arethusa
Falls can come to a trickle. We chose to hike to Arethusa Falls
right after a major rain storm in the Fall and it proved to be the
Arethusa Falls is the
highest free drop waterfall in New Hampshire.
Arethusa Falls News:
June 1995: Philip Sprague, a 37
year old former Boston's Channel 4 news director and producer from
Quincy, MA fell 187' from the top of Arethusa Falls after he slipped
at the top of the falls. Sprague and a friend climbed to the top of
Arethusa Falls to videotape the view from the top of the falls.
Sprague died from his injuries.
October 5, 2010: A 50 year old woman from New Jersey had a heart
attack near the trailhead of Arethusa Falls and died.
Arethusa Falls Photos:
Arethusa Falls Mid-Summer
(Photo by Nick Goodwin)
Arethusa Falls Mid-Summer
(Photo by Michelle Goodwin)
Video of Arethusa Falls in Autumn After Heavy Rain
What Does Arethusa Mean?
Arethusa means "the waterer" In Greek mythology. Arethusa was a nymph and
daughter of Nereus who escaped from Arcadia, her home under the sea. When
she reached the surface of the sea she appeared as a fresh water fountain on
Ortygia Island in Syracuse, Sicily.
The myth of her transformation
originated in Arcadia when Arethusa decided to bathe in a crystal clear
stream but she was unaware that the stream she bathed in was the river god
Alpheus. Alpheus flowed from Arcadia through Elis to the sea. Alpheus had
fallen in love with Arethusa but Arethusa left when she discovered the
crystal clear waters were Alpheus. A long chase ensued and Arethusa began to
pray to her goddess (Artemis) and ask for her protection from Alpheus.
Artemis hid her in a cloud to protect her. After such a dramatic attempt to
hide Arethusa she was still so afraid of Alpheus that she began to perspire
profusely which quickly transformed Arethusa into a stream. Artemis made
another attempt to hide Arethusa by breaking the ground allowing Arethusa
another attempt to flee as a stream into the ground. Arethusa's stream
traveled under the sea to Ortygia Island. Alpheus was so persistent that he
flowed through the sea to reach Arethusa desiring to mingle with her waters.
How do you Pronounce Arethusa Falls?
Many people cannot correctly pronounce the name Arethusa. We often hear
people calling it "Arthusa" Falls (ar-thoo-za). The correct way to
say Arethusa Falls is ar-uh-thoo-zuh Falls.