Jackson, NH – About seven miles north of the Village of North Conway is the quintessential New England town of Jackson, and in the heart of town up on Carter Notch Road is the famed and picturesque Jackson Falls.
As a State, New Hampshire is home to a unique and rather large collection of waterfalls, many of which require miles and miles of hiking in order to reach. However, there are a few that are easily reached by a short and easy walk from their parking area. Jackson Falls, with its walking distance of about 50 feet from the side of Carter Notch Road, certainly fits into that category.
There are two distinct sections to Jackson Falls, which are colloquially referred to as the upper and lower sections. The upper section is the more popular of the two, often attracting dozens of swimmers and casual visitors thanks to its various potholes and pools. On a hot summer day, there are sure to be countless kids and adults roaming within the falls as a way to find reprieve from the unrelenting heat. Cascades, slides and plunges abound at the upper end of the falls, and a small and rickety looking bridge allows travelers of Valley Cross Road to pass over the mighty Wildcat Brook by car.
The lower end of Jackson falls is far less popular due to several factors. First and foremost is the lack of a safe swimming area. The lower section of the falls plunges over an incredibly steep slope of rocks as it cuts along the side of Carter Notch Road. There is little chance of finding any safe footing in this area, and roaming about is not at all safe.
However, for the photographer in your group, this section provides a nice opportunity to capture the brook in a most dramatic way without having to wait for the swimmers to clear from the shot. Again, due care must be taken and photographers should never roam out onto the rocks for their shots. A walking path is found at the bottom of the hill near the intersection of Main Street (Rt. 16A) and Carter Notch Road, which allows for the safest access to this section of the falls.
Another great thing about Jackson falls is its proximity to other places of interest, which are of particular appeal to the both the hopeless romantic and the bold adventurer.
Before arriving at Jackson Falls, most travelers will notice the need to pass over the Wildcat Brook by way of the Honeymoon Bridge, a famous, red kissing bridge (or covered bridge, if you prefer). This bridge, built in 1876, remains one of the most visited and oft photographed of New Hampshire’s covered bridge collection.
Jackson Falls is also not that far from another set of attractions at Wildcat Ski Area; the gondola and the Ziprider Zip Lines. It’s not really a secret that Wildcat Mountain offers some of the most incredible views of Mount Washington that the White Mountains has to offer. Yet few people think to use the gondola as vehicle to a rather perfect and unique picnicking area. Be forewarned that it does get rather windy up top, so pack an extra layer and don’t let any of your rubbish fly away! In the event that you and your partner are feeling especially adventurous, you can entertain the idea of a ride down the mountain in total style on the Ziprider. Life is never the same after a zip line ride down Wildcat; believe us when we say that the rest of your vacation will seem …well, rather pedestrian!
With so much to do in the Mount Washington Valley, it’s important to have a few well-planned trips lined up. A trip up to Jackson with an optional meander up into Pinkham Notch and Wildcat Mountain is, quite literally, the perfect way to spend a day in New Hampshire.