Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Little Niagara Falls in New Hampshire

I first heard about this little hike on the Hike it Baby group I belong to.  The mom couldn't tell me much about the hike, but the idea of a waterfall in the area with "Niagara" in the name sounded too good to pass up.  So I did some research...and it was hard. Few people could tell me anything about it.  I found a few sites with minimal information, but even all trails didn't have it listed.  Therefore, I feel it's my duty put aside my other work for tonight, giant pile of laundry, and messy house...and write this one down.  If not for the public, then for me so I can remember how to do it again!

Little Niagara Falls is a secret treasure in New Hampshire

Here's how to recreate this adventure...

Adventure: Little Niagara Falls

Getting there:  The falls are located along a road-like trail that stretches from Barn Door Gap Road to Little Niagara Road (off First Crown Point Road) in Strafford, New Hampshire.  The falls can be accessed from either side of this 1 mile end-to-end trail.  With limited time, I decided to go from the Barn Door Gap Road side. Drive to Leightons Corner Road in Strafford, New Hampshire.  Drive 800 feet and then turn right onto Wingate Road.  Travel 1.5 miles down Wingate until you reach Barn Door Gap Road.  Turn right onto Barn Door Gap Road - it is a dirt road and can be quite muddy during the spring mud season.  Along Barn Door Gap Road you will pass a few homes and green gated tote roads.  At exactly 1.3 miles down the road, your trailhead will be on your left.  It is a forked entrance to an old logging type road.  On one side of the fork is a green gate, and the other large bounders blocking vehicles.  If you reach the house at 375 Barn Door Gap Road, you've gone a little too far.  Park on the side of the road.  

trailhead to Little Niagara Falls Trail
Trailhead to Little Niagara Falls Trail

Trail:  The trail is wide.  My guess is that it is an old logging road.  It was a little unnerving that it was not marked in anyway, but with the wide cut road, it was easy to follow and I never worried about getting lost.  

It begins by declining down into the forest.  The scenery is a mixed hard and softwood forest.  There was some natural sticks and forest debris in parts of the trail but overall is was easy to maneuver.  Near the beginning, a powerline was visible over the trailhead.  Soon, that disappears and the trail rises back up with some easy elevation.  There are very few points of interest along the route, although I did see a seasonal stream along the way.  

I heard the falls before I saw them.  It's spring melt and the water was flowing hard!  At 0.4 miles from the trailhead, the trail opened up to a rock slab with the falls to the left and the trail continuing straight.  Hikers are able to approach the waterfall on the slab and get fairly close (careful of your footing)!  It's power was impressive!
 To view the cascade from the opposite side, walk upstream and cross the narrow gapped bridge.  Here you can see the top of the falls as well as the pond of standing water behind it, waiting to fall.  

The trail does continue from here an additional 0.6 miles straight out to Little Niagara Road.  I'm told this section is flatter and easier walk (though longer). Next time I'll have to approach from that side!

Little Niagara Falls Trail
Little Niagara Falls Trail is wide and easy to follow

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 0.8 out-and-back to falls from Barn Door Gap Road.


- This path can get muddy and wet in wet season.  Wear waterproof boots.
- Wear bug spray and take precautions for ticks
- There are no bathrooms at the trailhead.  
- Pack in and out your waste.  
- I'm not sure if the trail is managed by anyone but it was surprisingly devoid of litter.  Carry in/carry out waste and trash.
- I had cell service there but it was spotty.  Don't count on it.

This was a great after-work short hike and I was thrilled to find another waterfall near Seacoast New Hampshire!  Do you love waterfalls?  Check out these other similar hikes:

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