Waterfalls are popular attractions to visit, especially for hikers who aren’t afraid to work a little to see them. But what if I told you about not one, not two, but seven waterfalls in one short hike? For the falling water enthusiasts, it sounds too good to be true.
Well, it is too good. And it is true. The Brook Walk Trail to the Fall of Song in Moultonborough, New Hampshire, boasts seven waterfalls in about a mile hike. You’ll definitely want to load up your pack and grab your camera for this one.
In my family, we love our waterfalls.
It’s no joke. We’ll hike almost anything if there is a waterfall at the end. Heck, they are one of the reasons Ryan and I splurged on a trip to Iceland for our 5th wedding anniversary. We just can’t get enough.
That being said, our level of “working a little” to reach waterfalls has changed in the last few years. Because we insist on bringing the kids, we have had to scale down the longer trips and pick things that fit with young attention spans. Because really, Zoom and Speedy are entertained for 2-3 miles before meltdowns ensue. And since mommy and daddy are practicing a lot of photography right now, a shorter hike is more ideal, and having something to see at the end of our destination helps placate the restless wanderers.
Which is why this hike was perfect for us.
Not just the Fall of Song
I was browsing online as I was writing this post, and I’ve got to say, the main focuse seems to be on the last waterfall of the hike, the Fall of Song.
And why shouldn’t it be? It’s lovely to behold. A 40-foot drop into a narrow stream, tucked between massive granite walls. The boardwalk along the stream is pleasant, and our family had a nice picnic on the platform viewing area.
But to be honest, I reveled in the other waterfalls along the route just as much as the final crescendo. There are waterfalls of every size and shape on the Brook Walk trail, and the peaceful setting makes the entire hike dynamically beautiful.
Where did we find seven waterfalls in one short hike?
Well, it really wasn’t a “we” effort. It was all my husband. In fact, I’ve started bugging Ryan about writing posts for me — or at least an excerpt — because he’s the one who always finds this stuff. He’ll brows and search and map and satellite view and read until he finds great places to hike or take pictures, or both. The man loves to hike and photograph. But writing…not so much.
Alas, this gem of a hike is found in the Castle in the Clouds Conservation area in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. It was about an hour-and-a-half drive for us from central New Hampshire. A quick history lesson, according to the Castle in the Clouds website, the property was originally known as Lucknow Estate, built from 1913 to 1914 by a wealthy family. Through the years it has changed hands and uses. Since 2006, the mansion has been maintained by the Castle Preservation Society, while the surrounding grounds of 5,500’ish acres are maintained by the Lakes Region Conservation Trust. The land boasts 35 miles of hiking trails that are open to the public, including the Brook Walk Trail to the Fall of Song.
Getting there is pretty easy. Take Old Mountain Road toward the castle, but instead of going through the main entrance, we bypass up Ossipee Road. Follow that into the grounds — you’ll see a small stone cottage on your left and a parking area on your right. Follow the road until the three-way intersection at Shannon pond and go south (away from the stables). There are a couple of places nearby to park. The Brook Walk trailhead is off the road (trail sign visible in the distance), just south of the Cafe in the Clouds. Here are the GPS coordinates: 43°43’51.5″N 71°19’22.4″W.
What to expect
Even though I’m no trail guide, I’ve done my fair share of hiking through the years. I’d call this an easy trail. But don’t mistake “easy” for “cakewalk.” This is a hiking trail: there is uneven ground, brief climbs, roots, and boulders to step over.
That being said, it is quite kid-friendly — adventurous kids like Zoom will shoot down this trail without hesitation (which he did. At a run. Both ways.), while more timid kiddos will be able to comfortably pick their way along the path.
And you don’t have to go far before your efforts are rewarded.
Remember, this is seven waterfalls in one short hike. And since the Brook Walk is an out-and-back trail, you really only need to go about half a mile to see all the falls.
I will say some of the falls are just that, waterfalls. Some of them are what I would call “cascades” only a few feet high. Either way, they are still beautiful when the water level is moderate to high. We prefer to visit waterfalls after a good rain.
Summer or winter, still worth it
The last time we were here was early June. We got to the parking area mid-morning on a weekday. When I can, I love to hike during the week. There is less chance of crowds, and like I said in my post about doing rest, it’s a way I can recharge while getting the kids out.
Anyway, when we went, there was plenty of parking and despite the beautiful weather and higher traffic due to the quarantine, we passed only a handful of other families while on the trail.
Winter isn’t bad, either. Our first introduction to this hike was back in February. The trail was passable and we thoroughly enjoyed the ice formations around the falls. But a word of caution: bring appropriate traction gear. Nothing kills a delightful hike more than constantly slipping and sliding — or worse, falling — on the path. I learned this the hard way, earning myself a bruised butt cheek while caring Speedy. Needless to say I’m now a big fan of the kinds of cleats that fit snug on boots, like these spikes.
Now I’m not going to give you spoilers and talk about each waterfall along the way.
I know, I know. Killjoy.
But I’m pretty sure if you’re reading this, you’re already going to check it out yourself. A little anticipation makes the reward that much more enjoyable.
So go, wander.
Have you been here? Know another great waterfall hike? Share in the comments!
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