Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

Today Connie did a bit of work in the morning then we had leftover pizza for lunch. After that we left to locate a place to get our almost empty propane tank filled and found one up in Littleton which we’ll be visiting on Saturday. Our next destination was a hike on the Falling Waters trail near the Franconia Notch State Park visitors center. This 3.2 mile total out and back hike took us up along side a creek here in the park with about a 600 foot elevation gain over the uphill leg. The highlights of the hike were the 3 large waterfalls we passed, numerous lesser falls, and the gorgeous fall foliage. Connie took this photo of autumn leaves laying on the trail.


Shortly after leaving the visitors center we passed this little 3 foot high fall named Walker Cascade along the first creek. We thought that was the main creek but after about ⅓ mile or so crossed a ridge and met up with a larger stream which we then followed the rest of the hike.


Connie took a little break while Neil was taking the above shot.


We saw some beautiful foliage


We came to the 20 foot Stairs Falls, the first of three waterfalls we expected to see on the trail


At the lower end of Swiftwater Falls; which is a large single drop at the top and then a series of cascades totaling 60 feet total Neil took a series of shots and produced this HDR (high dynamic range) version. HDR photos mimic the actual color spectrum and brightness spectrum that the human eye can see so you get something that looks much closer to what it actually looked like in the woods.


Getting to the upper section of Swiftwater Falls here is a straight shot of the fall and an HDR from the same location so you can see the difference between HDR and non HDR photos.



Finally we arrived at the 80 foot cascade Cloudland Falls after a really steep climb the last ⅓ mile or so.


Neil forgot to get the raw data for an HDR of Cloudland Falls. This normally requires taking several versions at different exposures but can be approximated by duplicating a single and varying the exposure in Aperture 3 (which we use for photo management and enhancement). We show photos in RAW mode rather than JPEG which means we have sufficient data to vary the exposure. As you can see the HDR process gives you a final image that much better evokes the lighting and coloration that you saw with your eyes while in the woods. 


After Cloudland Falls we continued upward about another ¼ mile to see if there were any additional falls. There was actually one very nice unnamed falls (probably because it wasn’t steep enough to really rate being a falls instead of just steep rapids that was a series of 5-6 foot cascades with about 20 total drops. Unfortunately the trail had gotten a little away from the stream by the time we could see it and Neil couldn’t find a way down to the stream bank to take a photo. From the trail there were too many trees to really see anything and despite his best efforts to locate a place to get down he couldn’t find one that he could then get back up once he was done taking the photos. Since not getting back up out of the stream bed was not on his list of daily activities for today we had to skip this photo.

At this point it was starting to get towards sundown so we headed home. We grabbed Neil’s laptop and ran back into the town of Franconia to take advantage of the free wifi they have at the Chamber of Commerce/LIbrary building. You can sit in the parking lot and get internet connectivity…that’s something that is almost impossible here at the RV park. We also found a church to attend Mass at on Saturday, conveniently located right next door to the Chamber of Commerce/Library. Once we were done we came home, had a shower, had some chicken stir fry and rice for dinner and watched TV until time for bed.

Connie is still working on the plan for tomorrow so you’ll just have to wait until then to see what it is.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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1 Response to Falling Waters Trail, Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire

  1. Sherri says:

    Thanks for all the wonderful pics and descriptions, your narratives are great, I hope to be able to explore as you are some day!

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