What do you do if you have a couple of friends who are new to hiking and you have a couple of hours only in an afternoon? Head to Randolph NH where the trails are endless and there appears to be a waterfall around every bend!
We began hiking around 2pm in a chilly atmosphere with overcast skies. It was the first day I’d been out below freezing and although 32 degrees is pretty warm for the winter months, it sure FELT cold this first time!!! To compensate we moved pretty efficiently through our loop and we STILL enjoyed it!
We began on Valley Way and then turned right on The Link. This first half mile is a real pretty trail through an evergreen forest with lots of large boulders. This section was a favorite of mine back when my kids were 2 and 3 years old. We felt like we were deep in the woods almost immediately and then they got to climb and jump off of all these boulders! .6 Miles out we hit Memorial Bridge and Cold Brook Fall. This is a town of Randolph water source so even on warmer days, no dipping! However it is a gorgeous break spot! Cross the bridge and continue on maybe 100 feet for a nice close up spot near the base of the falls.
We stayed on the near side of the river and turned left onto Sylvan Way. We followed this upstream just a smidgin and then the trail itself turned uphill away from the stream (be careful…easy to get off of the trail here). We followed Sylvan Way just a quarter of a mile or so and then turned right on Beechwood Way. This was an uphill although a moderate one on a nice wide path. Maple Syrup lines networked through the trees above our heads.
Eventually we crossed the Airline and then come to the end of Beechwood Way on Valley Way. We were now almost 500 feet above our beginning and the ground conditions were tell tale. Most of the hike the ground was frozen but as we climbed we began to have spotty snow and at the high point we had a nice white dusting. Climbing got us warmed up enough too that we could stop and be silent and enjoy the peace of a winter wood. Can’t recommend that enough!
On Valley Way we turned left again and started back downhill, turning right on Fallsway in just a short distance. Fallsway is just a gorgeous gorgeous section of trail no matter how you want to walk it. You can go up it and back down it from the Parking Lot. You can make a loop of it with Valley Way or with Brookbank on the other side of Snyder Brook. Or you can add it in with a full loop like we were doing. One way or another you pass waterfall after waterfall with plenty of swimming holes you CAN dip in in the warmer months. This time of year we just enjoyed the formations of ice around the edges and the beautiful water amidst the evergreen trees.
You can find this hike on the AMC Presidential Map #1 (on the back side if you have the Tyvek version) and all of the trails are listed in the AMC White Mountain Guide. It is a great hike to get acquainted with the vast network of trails over in Randolph from a time when trail building itself was the passion of the day!
As always you can check AMC conditions for the latest report and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we’re seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you!
We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at email@example.com. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm.
AMC Backcountry Information Specialist