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Wondrous Waterfalls of the Great North Woods

Posted on by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

By Caleb Savage, Interpretive Ranger at Lake Francis State Park

One of the most remarkable forces of nature is that of water. Here in Pittsburg there are plenty of opportunities to recreate on or around water. Some of the opportunities include: fly-fishing along the Connecticut River, boating on a few of the Connecticut Lakes, and kayaking around Lake Francis.

Kayaking Program on Lake Francis

Kayaking Program on Lake Francis

Another opportunity to enjoy the forces of water is to take a day trip to some of the wondrous waterfalls near Lake Francis State Park! Here are a couple of my favorite waterfalls also including a short hike!

Smaller waterfall at the top of Garfield Falls

Smaller waterfall at the top of Garfield Falls

If you are looking for a short hike then I would recommend checking out the majestic Garfield Falls. To get there travel north on route 3 past Lake Francis for about 6 miles, then take a right on Magalloway Road (be careful this is a heavily traveled logging road)! Once on Magalloway Road stay on this dirt road for approximately 13 miles. As you get closer to Garfield Falls there is a small brown sign on your right that has an arrow pointing towards the falls. The road will narrow right before you arrive to the parking lot where there will be some bathrooms and a NH state kiosk with Garfield Falls on the bottom.

A short easy hike lasting around 10-15 minutes before you arrive to this massive 40 foot waterfall surrounded by massive glacial rock outcroppings. If you are bold enough bring a bathing suit during a hot summer day and take a dip in one of the many swimming pools!

Close up of the majestic Garfield Falls

Close up of the majestic Garfield Falls

My new favorite hike that I recently explored is the hike out to “Little Hellsgate Falls.” Once again you will drive north on route 3, then take a right onto Magalloway, and follow this road just till you hit the 3rd mile marker on your right. There is another heavily traveled road that veers to the right this is Buckhorn Rd. Follow Buckhorn for about 4-5 miles and this road will turn into Cedar Stream Rd. Right around mile marker 16/17 you will come to a brown NH kiosk. You can park right before the kiosk, and then you will cross two bridges. Right after the second bridge you will see a trail that begins on the left side of the snowmobile trail, which should be marked with some pink flagging.

View from the trail of the second bridge

View from the trail of the second bridge

This trail will lead you into the vast tranquil wilderness to Little Hellsgate Falls. Along the trail you are surrounding by a lush green mat of moss along the forest floor. Stay on the trail following the trail markers until you get to the top of the falls, then there is a short decline to the base of the falls.

Little Hellsgate Falls from a distance

Little Hellsgate Falls from a distance

Be careful on the way down as the rocks and roots are very slippery!

Close up of the powerful Hellsgate Falls!

Close up of the powerful Hellsgate Falls!

It is truly amazing as you arrive at both of these waterfalls that at the top might just be a small pool of water or stream that unleashes into a powerful yet tranquil waterfall.

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About Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters

Discover the Power of Parks is presented by New Hampshire State Parks in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association and made possible by generous financial support from Public Service of New Hampshire. The program offers a look into the natural world through hands-on programming. Interpretive programs focus on connecting participants with nature and building appreciation for New Hampshire's unmatched natural heritage. Programs include guided hikes, interpretive tours, and imaginative environmental workshops for children and families. Programs are offered free to guests with paid park admission fee. No pre-registration is required. View all posts by Discover Power of Parks SCA Interpreters →
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