NH Family Hikes

Crystal Cascade

Length: 0.7 miles out-and-back

Difficulty (click for info): Beginner

Elevation Gain: 190 feet

Rating (click for info): 8/10

Height: 100'

River: Cutler River

Driving Directions:
Trailhead and parking area are on Rt. 16, in Pinkhams Grant, NH, 11.8 miles north of its northern junction with Rt. 302 in Conway and 10.6 miles south of its eastern junction with Rt. 2 in Gorham. There is a very large parking area on the west side of the road at the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Click here for a Google map.

About the Hike:
Just a third of a mile up the most popular route to Mt. Washington is the fabulous Crystal Cascade. As Crystal Cascade is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the White Mountains, this trip is possibly the region's most rewarding short walk. The only drawback is the crowds on the trail.

To find the trailhead, walk into the common area directly across from the main entrance to the parking area. Bear right and walk around to the back of the visitors center, and look for the kiosk. The Tuckerman Ravine Trail begins here, splitting off to the left of Old Jackson Road. It begins climbing at an easy grade and soon comes alongside the Cutler River. There are many places where you can step off the trail to see small cascades. After 0.3 miles, the trail crosses the river on a bridge, steepens, and climbs for a short distance to an overlook with a stone wall just off to the right of the main trail. From here, you overlook the magnificent Crystal Cascade. It is about 100 feet tall in total, broken up into a wide 80-foot fan and a 20-foot plunge, separated by a pool. The scenery of the area and the beauty of the waterfall will make you want to enjoy Crystal Cascade for a long time.

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