The hike from Ripley Falls to Arethusa Falls via the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail is not only gorgeous, but is relatively easy. It is doable for all experience levels, and there is a lot of parking right off of 302. Hiking just Ripley Falls is the easiest route. Arethusa has a little more distance in it, but if you want your moneys worth, I recommend doing them both.
(Scroll Down for Pictures)
Ripley Falls Trail
This trail is 1.2 miles out and back (.6 each way) from the parking lot of 302 in Crawford Notch. It doesn’t gain too much elevation, so the hike to Ripley Falls can be done by almost anyone who is willing to work a little bit for an awesome waterfall. This is a well traveled trail.
Hiking to Ripley Falls is only a 10-20 minute hike to the falls, for a roundtrip total of 20-40 minutes for the average hiker.
Arethusa Falls Trail
This Trail is a 2.6 mile out and back trail (1.3 each way) from 302 in Crawford Notch. It is a relatively gradual elevation gain all the way to the falls. This is a well traveled trail.
This should take 25-35 minutes each way for the average hiker.
Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail
This is a 1.2 mile trail between Arethusa and Ripley Falls. It can be accessed right from Ripley Falls and only about .1 miles from Arethusa Falls. This trail is far less traveled than Ripley Falls Trail or Arethusa Falls Trail. It features a relatively thin path most of the way with a few elevation gain and loss between the two falls. This trail can be pretty muddy during wet times.
The entire loop will turn out to be 6.5-7 miles and will involve walking along 302 to get back to your car, taking the railroad tracks back to the other trailhead (my personal favorite) or you can trace your steps back the same way you came.
Arethusa falls is at around 2,150 feet, and the trailhead is at an elevation of 1,350 feet. This results in an elevation gain of around 800 feet.
Ripley falls is at around 1,800 feet and the trailhead is at an elevation of 1,450 feet. This results in an elevation gain of around 350 feet.
If you like the Crawford Notch area, check out a nearby hike: Zealand Mountain and Zealand Falls
Directions and Parking
Both parking lots are convienently located off of 302 in Crawford Notch. The lots can get busy, but you can always find a spot on the side of the road if necessary.
It is only located a few miles south of Saco Lake and the AMC Highland Center. With great swimming holes on the Saco nearby, tons of waterfalls, both difficult 4000 foot hikes as well as incredibly gorgeous short day hikes like Mount Willard, Crawford Notch is an awesome weekend or day trip in the White Mountains.
Pictures of Ripley Falls and Arethusa Falls:
Arethusa is a 300 foot gorgeous waterfall on Bemis Brook. Bemis Brook eventually flows into the Saco River.