Are you looking for hiking trails in your area that are family friendly? Ripley Falls and Arethusa Falls are located off route 302 in Crawford Notch, about 15 minutes from Bretton Woods and 30 minutes from North Conway, NH.
The parking area for Ripley Falls is well marked and there is ample parking. The climb is easy and just a little more than half a mile one way. This is a terrific family hike. It is also a great hike for first time hikers. The path seems almost flat for a good part of the hike. The view of the 100 ft waterfall is spectacular. Pack a picnic and have lunch at the base of the waterfall, then cool off in the cascading water. This is a great way to spend a day in the White Mountains.
Arethusa Falls is another great family waterfall hike in Crawford Notch. The parking area for this hike is well marked as well. There is an upper and a lower level to this parking area. There is a trail that leaves the lower level parking area called the Frankenstein Cliff Trail. This trail connects to the Arethusa Falls Trail but is quite rough. The trail that leaves the upper parking area is Arethusa Falls Trail. The Bemis Brook Trail cuts away from the Arethusa Falls Trail and re-enters it about half a mile later. The Bemis Brook Trail is a bit rougher than the lower part of the Arethusa Falls Trail and makes the hike a little longer. This is a great alternative if you have already hiked Arethusa Falls and are looking for a change. Staying on the Arethusa Falls Trail the hike is about 1.2 miles one way with easy footing. Nearing the falls the trail gets a little steeper but is still a fairly easy climb as a series of wood and earth stairs are built into the grade. Arethusa Falls is the largest waterfall in NH. Like Ripley Falls it is a great place for a picnic and to play in the water. There is also a large rock just in front of the falls that is perfect for a photo op.
For a more challenging hike the Arethusa-Ripley Falls Trail connects both waterfalls together. This hike crosses Frankenstein Cliff. The lookout from Frankenstein Cliff is impressive; the hike from one parking lot to the other is approximately 5.5 miles.