NH Notes: Ripley Falls

(Continuing the notes from our recent trip to New Hampshire, here is another note – that will appear at McCartySeasons.com as well – on things to do while visiting our condo and the surrounding Bartlett area)

Before we arrived in New Hampshire for our vacation, we had a “plan” of sorts. It involved a visit or two to Storyland, Cranmore and Santa’s Village, swimming at the Seasons Pool, tubing down the Saco River and hiking Diana’s Baths. Flashforward and the plans have changed! What has occurred now is the visits to Cranmore and Santa’s Village as well as the swimming and hiking of Diana’s Baths…BUT, we have also hiked THREE other times while up here (Mt Willard and Cranmore to name a few). I call this an evolution of our family as we move away from the Storyland and Santa’s and start to take in the beauty of the Mount Washington Valley! The kids are getting older and thus the interests change with such!

One of the new hikes we did this year was Ripley Falls. It is located up 302 from our place in Bartlett and slightly past the entrance to Crawford Notch park. Compared to Mt Willard’s hike earlier in the week, this walk is much shorter but from a “skill” standpoint, is considered a “tougher” hike. Last year we attempted Ripley with the kids but did so during some light rain and that made the route very slippery ans problematic for our dog and three kids (last year at this time, they were 5, 5 and 7). This year was far different as the weather was great and the kids are a year older!

Now before proceeding, here is the description of the hike from AllTrails.com.

This description is pretty good but let me share a few other tidbits of information for you to consider!

  • Terrain somewhat tough. Mt Willard had rocks all over the place on the trail but exposed tree roots were not as common. On the Ripley Falls trail, roots are all over the place and that makes things a challenge. The slope of the path (to be mentioned shortly) makes these roots even more of a challenge. Finally, if they are wet (like we encountered last year), they can be very tough!
  • Narrow views on the trails! There are parts of this hike which feature a very narrow walkway. This is from erosion of the slope during the rain and storms which makes walking it a bit more challenging in parts. This is not to say that it is impossible to continue to climb! Just care most be taken when doing so!
  • Slope is Tricky! The climb up and down can be difficult at times as one needs to find the right “stairs” of rocks. At the same time, with the narrow trails in parts, combined with the very long drop down the side of the path (steep slope) it can seem somewhat of challenge for those with issues around heights. HOWEVER, On the way back, it does not seem that bad so perhaps it was just me?
  • Great Views! The views along the trail are great with the path winding through the woods. It just is peaceful as the sounds of the road fade and the sound of the falls and running water takes over. Once you get to the falls, things look quite majestic! (Pics behind me above and in the title picture are cool – I posted this video to the condo Facebook page).
  • Bring watershoes: So if you want to get a close up and personal view is the falls, it makes sense to bring watershoes – especially for kids. It is much like Diana’s baths (which I owe a review on btw) as the kids can play around at the bottom of the falls. With the jagged rocks in the water, it can be hard to walk around barefoot but watershoes should do the trick.
  • Pet ok but… One thing I realized with this trip versus last year was this: my dog would probably operate better on the path without the leash on. At the same time, I don’t think I have the confidence to leave my greyhound off a leash because of her prey drive! I did see a golden retriever, without a leash navigating the path well (probably better than my kids). This is a tough call and a pet owner decision though.
  • Snacktime and water at the end. We did our snack time and water at the conclusion of the up and down. The kids seemed ok with such a format versus the 1.6 miles up (and down) at Mt Willard which was long and a snack and water break seemed to work out well. 


The AllTrails site (shown above), gives this trail a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of 5) which I would agree with. If you rank the hikes we have done this week (from a “family” point of view) I would rate them as follows (with 1 the best)

  1. Diana’s Baths ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Mount Willard ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2
  3. Ripley Falls ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Cranmore ⭐️⭐️

More reviews will be coming from our trip in the future. So far the following have been done

Thanks for Reading!



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