Mt. Washington is New Hampshire’s best-known mountain and very popular both with hikers and tourists who choose to get to the summit riding on the Cog Railway or driving up the toll Auto Road. We decided to hike on the Tuckerman Ravine trail, not in hopes of summitting, but only as far as the spectacular Crystal Cascade. We ended up doing this hike on a cooler afternoon, after a couple of short hikes during the morning.
The hike to the 100-ft waterfall is listed as .3 mile and 250 feet in elevation gain, but parts of the Tuckerman Ravine Trail were closed for trail maintenance. ( You can check on the trail detour here.)We decided to leave our 4-year-old, Tiny, with a good friend while we tackled this one, which turned out to be a good choice. The trail detour was pretty steep and since the weather had been very wet, the trail was muddy and slippery. I won’t name names, but a couple of us slipped and fell at various times! Nobody was hurt, however, and we plowed ahead.
The payoff was worth it. Nobody but us was at the falls, though we had seen a few others on the main trail. We were able to take in the beauty of the waterfall and get some great photos without waiting for others to move out of the way or worrying that we were getting in the way of others.
I wouldn’t recommend this hike for very young children, unless they’re going to ride in a carrier part or all of the way, but this was one of my favorite waterfall hikes so far in New Hampshire. The views of the falls are unobstructed and it wasn’t crowded at all. I hope you get a chance to check it out sometime!
Glen Ellis Falls trail is an easily accessible, kid-friendly hike in Pinkham Notch. Some may classify it more as a walk, with stairs, than a “real” hike. Whatever you choose to call it, the views are worth the small effort to get to the falls. The trail is about .3 mile each way, with approximately 100 ft of elevation change. The trailhead and parking lot are right off Rt. 16 just a bit north of the AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Although the parking lot is big enough for dozens of vehicles, it does fill up on sunny weekend days. A vault toilet is available near the parking lot.
The trail is heavily used and can be muddy after a rainstorm. Well-constructed stone steps are on the slopes, but handrails are often only available on one side. The trail follows the river on its way to the 64-foot waterfall, providing a pretty view along the whole hike. We stopped to take lots of pictures as we went and read the informational plaques.
When we got down to the base of the falls, there was a set of steps to go up near the top of the falls. On a breezy day, this was a lot of fun because the spray from the falls misted over us! We went to Glen Ellis Falls on a Saturday afternoon, and it was rather crowded. We had to circle around the parking lot to find a space, and there were a lot of people on the trail and at the falls. I would recommend visiting on a weekday, and going in the morning if possible. This was a very rewarding hike for young children and beginners.