One of the benefits of living in Massachusetts is its close proximity to the beautiful and relaxing mountains of New Hampshire. My husband and I make the 3 1/2 hour journey, with a few pit stops in between, to Jackson at least a few times a year. If you have never been to Jackson then you need to go! It is so close to our most recent adventure, Frankenstein Cliffs and Arethusa Falls. It is the most relaxing and quaint little town I have ever seen with ski clubs, delicious restaurants, art museums, and even a puzzle store! I love being away from the loud sounds and distractions of the city and breathing in the fresh air.
Last year I bought my husband a guide book on the best hikes in the White Mountains. I love this book because it gives details on the best paths to take and the difficulty. Now I’ll admit, I’m definitely not in the best shape of my life. Especially compared to how fit I was when we hiked Tuckerman’s Ravine a few years ago. So we decided on Crawford Notch with Arethusa Falls and the Frankenstein Cliffs. The hike was only 5 miles, considered moderate difficulty, and offered beautiful views of the tallest waterfall in the state.
Beautiful, sunny Morning in June
On a beautiful sunny morning in June, we arrived at the park’s dirt parking lot before 9 AM. Hiking in the morning is the absolute best!! Less people, cooler weather, and plenty of time to explore new trails. I dosed myself in bug spray with extra deet because the black flies are killer and the bites leave super itchy, disgusting welts. Much worse than a mosquito bite! While most people went down a path that connected to the lot we hiked up the street a bit to another trail. Thanks to the guidance of our guide book, we found a stream with multiple watering holes. It was so quiet, no one was around so I could hear the water trickling off the rocks. Really wished I brought my bathing suit because the sun was starting to beat down and the water was so refreshing!
Looking to see the tallest waterfall in NH? Look no further than Arethusa Falls! I didn’t expect we would actually hike down to see the waterfall but the muddy decent was definitely worth it. As we got closer we could hear the rumble of the falls and the chatter of hikers. Once we came through the trees the falls were amazing! I had to strain my neck all the way back to see to the top. The water was calm enough to grab a seat on a boulder nearby after climbing over some rocks. There were a ton of hikers gathered at the falls by this time and a few dogs too! We were sure to ask another couple to grab a photo of us 🙂
Our next stop was Frankenstein cliffs, so Michael and I hiked out of the falls and onto the next trail. The trails definitely alternated from steep climbs to leveled out paths and I was very thankful for the easier terrain. Even though the guide book said moderate difficultly I felt like it was much harder! I also kept spraying more bug spray all over myself because I was drenched in sweat and I didn’t want to get bit by black flies. I definitely did not look cute either!! Lets just say the struggle is real. 😉 We passed a bunch of people going the other direction and everyone was so friendly! That’s one of the great things about hiking, everyone says “Hi” and gives a smile.
Walking out onto Frankenstein Cliffs was like walking out from behind a curtain onto an enormous stage. We put our bags down by the trees and shuffled up closer to the edge (but not too close!) with some snacks to enjoy the stunning views. I literally cannot tell you how high up we were but we could see our car in the parking lot and it was a tiny speck! The views stretched across all of the Washington Valley – you could even see Mt. Washington in the distance! We relaxed in the sun and snapped a few Instagram worthy photos, of course!
The last few miles back down were steep. I’ll admit, I fell a few times from loose rocks and dirt slipping under my feet. But no injuries! My feet were getting sore in my hiking boots and I couldn’t wait to take a nap. One word of advice when hiking, make sure you’re wearing proper attire! I saw a bunch of people hiking in jeans and sneakers! I feel like I would be so uncomfortable sweating in jeans and would probably roll an ankle in sneakers. But I felt so accomplished when we got to the bottom and had hiked over 5 miles!!
Being away from my phone all day was relaxing (didn’t have cell service) and I would totally recommend it! Having an Angry Orchard after since I’m not a huge fan of beer was the perfect reward. The next time you’re up in NH or even in the New England area head to Frankenstein Cliffs and Arethusa Falls for beautiful views and an awesome hike!
Have you been on any hikes this summer? Where was it? I would LOVE to try a new hike in the future.