If you ever find yourself in the Crawford Notch area with too much time to spare, but not enough time to climb an entire mountain, then get your butt over to Ripley Falls. After pitching our tent at Dry River campground for the night, we were left with a good few hours before we could reasonably start a fire for dinner. We saw a sign on the way to Dry River for a short hike to a waterfall, so we decided to check it out and we’re glad we did!
We reached Willey Station House Road and parked at the very top lot right in front of the trailhead. Interestingly enough, this would also be our starting point for hiking Mount Willey, Mount Field and our attempt at Mount Tom. Like our hike for those mountains, we crossed the railroad tracks to get to the trail, but this time we bore left onto the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail instead of Ethan Pond. Most of the trail was uphill, and the grade ranged from easy to moderate in certain places. After about 0.4 miles, the trail ended and we reached the bottom of Ripley Falls, which allowed us to look up and see them in their entirety. A few families had the same idea as us. Young children played in the water as their parents watched them carefully. We witnessed one kid get in trouble for venturing too far out and almost forgetting his towel. Katie laughed, half because she was uncomfortable watching him get chastised, and half because she has a terrible sense of humor.
We lounged on the rocks for a while. Colin took pictures using his tripod, which he lugged along for the hike (he got some stunning shots, too). Katie found some fun in ogling the puppies belonging to other hikers, and trying to get their attention when their owners weren’t looking. It was a good time. The sound of the water crashing on the rocks and the crystal clear cascade was soothing and relaxed us before our anticipated three-mountain hike the next day.
The way back was a leisurely walk downhill. It only took us about twenty minutes to hike each way, making this trip a total of forty minutes, or about 0.6 miles each way. This was a short, yet rewarding side trip for us, especially because we wanted to hike somewhere cool, but didn’t have the time to devote to a long hike. If you ever happen to be in a similar situation, try doing this. And if you don’t feel like using your legs, the Willey House was a fun place to visit. Just don’t provoke the ghosts!