Arethusa Falls resides in Crawford Notch State Park and is the tallest waterfall in New Hampshire, estimated to be somewhere between 140 and 200 feet high. Edward Tuckerman, the botanist for whom Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine was named, discovered Arethusa Falls in the late 1800s. The falls get their name from the poem, “Arethusa,” written by Percy Bysshe Shelley, about a nymph whose name means “the waterer.”
The trailhead has space for several cars and has a few picnic tables among the trees to one side. If this lot is full, you can backtrack down Arethusa Falls Road to a large parking lot where the road meets US-302. This lot serves as both overflow parking for the falls and as a trailhead for the Frankenstein Cliffs. An outhouse and an additional picnic table can be found here.
The trail for Arethusa Falls begins just across the train tracks and borders private property. While a day use fee is not required, Crawford Notch State Park has a kiosk asking visitors to provide a donation to help keep this area maintained and open to the public. The Arethusa Falls Trail gains 827 feet in 1.4 miles at a generally easy to moderate grade, making it a good hike for families and beginners. A second option is to take the Bemis Brook Trail, which adds a little mileage but offers a scenic hike along the brook. These two trails merge again closer to the falls, so you can make this an out-and-back or a loop with a spur to the falls. Arethusa Falls cascade down a granite cliff and are a spectacular sight when the water is flowing, especially after rainfall. The base of the falls may be difficult to get to when water is high, and when the water level is low, the falls may be only a trickle or dry up altogether.