Hiking Glen Ellis Falls

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.

 

Girl near sign
Tiny excited to begin our hike

 

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.

Waterfall
Because it is so easy to get to, Glen Ellis falls is very popular on sunny summer days.

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.

Basin Campground and Basin  Pond

This summer in New England we had to stay in campgrounds. The first year we had the RV, we camped on my mother’s property.  The next summer, that place was for sale, but my cousin invited us to stay at his place. We had a wonderful summer there, but when we bought the new RV, we realized it is so much taller than our old one that it wouldn’t fit in the same spot.  We decided to look for a work camping gig. None of the campgrounds looking for work campers were within a reasonable distance of the family members and friends we wanted to spend time with, so next we looked at campgrounds.

We took a drive to check out Basin Campground, one of the Forest Service campgrounds in the White Mountain National Forest.  Looking at a website is a good starting point, but sometimes the only way to determine if our rig will fit in a campsite is to go look. We found plenty of sites that we could get into and decided to give Basin Campground a try.

 

Basin Pond-too many leeches for swimming, but fine for fishing and canoeing.

Approaching the campground we passed the day-use/boat launch area. (Non-motorized boats only are permitted.) The pond and adjacent meadow make for some great photo ops! The kids enjoyed wading in the pond to chase frogs, until they discovered how many leeches live in the pond!

Basin Campground is about 15 miles north of Fryeburg, Maine right off Route 113.  There are 21 sites, 7 of which are walk-in only. Camping is $20 per night with a 14 day stay limit. Access and Senior passes are honored for half-price camping at Basin Campground.

Each site has a picnic table and fire ring. There are flush toilets near the camp host’s site, and water spigots at a few locations throughout the camping loop.

Basin Campground does not have electric or water hookups at the campsites, and there is no dump station on site.  The nearest dump station we found was in Gorham, NH at the water treatment facility.

CAmp site
Each campsite has a large picnic table and fire ring with cooking grates

Basin Campground is further away from the amusement parks, restaurants, outlet malls, and other tourist attractions that are popular in other parts of the White Mountains.  There are opportunities for hiking, fishing, and enjoying nature, which is what we go to the mountains for in the first place! Basin Campground was within a reasonable distance of the birding blind at Deer Hill Bog, and several hiking trails.  Though we stocked up on groceries before we went up, there is fresh produce and firewood available at roadside farm stands. Gorham, NH also has a good-sized, diverse farmer’s market once a week. 

Two children running
Adjacent to the day-use parking is a huge wildflower meadow with lots of room to run.

The camp hosts, Roy, Ann, and Kimberlee, were very helpful and friendly, and had firewood available to purchase. We are looking forward to seeing them again when we return to Basin Campground next summer!

Birding at Deer Hill Bog

While camped at Basin Campground in Evans Notch, we heard there was a wildlife viewing blind off Deer Hill Road.  Curly, our birder, and I got up early one morning to go check it out in hopes of seeing lots of birds and perhaps beavers or moose.

To get to the viewing area was a long drive up a rough dirt road, but that didn’t bother us.  There was a dirt pulloff with room for a few cars to park, but we were the only ones there.  The blind itself was wood with benches and viewing slots at a variety of heights, so we could choose to sit or stand.

We didn’t see a moose, or the beavers (though we could see their lodge) but we didn’t see and hear lots of frogs and birds, including an Eastern Kingbird , a merganser, and the ubiquitous Canada Geese. 

The Deer Hill Bog wildlife blind was a comfortable but uncrowded spot for birding and other wildlife watching, and we plan to return again when we’re back in the area.

 

Frogs in a bog
A variety of wildlife can be seen at Deer Hill Bog
Duck
We enjoyed watching this merganser early in the morning