In search of Easy Walks in the White Mountains


Many more steps awaited the trip to the bottom of Glen Ellis falls

We had an errand to run, all the way in North Conway, New Hampshire. We typically avoid the White Mountains in summer because of the horrendous traffic one encounters around Conway. But Limmer’s Boot Company makes the only boots my husband can wear without experiencing severe back pain, and so off we headed to get his boots looked after.

The overcast day was not ideal for being outdoors, but regardless of the weather, we didn’t want to pass up spending some time outdoors amidst this lengthy trip. The White Mountains have a lot of challenging trails, many that go straight up, but there were a few good candidates we planned to stop to check out at on our trip.

The camera was left behind on the easiest walk of the day, to Sabbaday Falls, so no pictures there. We’ll have to picture in our minds a wide graveled path with a rocky stream running alongside the trail. The wide path made for easy strolling all the way out to the falls, only about a half mile walk. It seems lots of other people knew this was an easy walk as well, so we had quite a lot of company on our way out and back.

Some stone steps take you to the bottom of the falls, then additional steps take you up to the top for a different view. Or you can continue on the trail, rather than taking the steps to the bottom, and simply enjoy the view from the top.


A portion of Glen Ellis Falls

Quite near Pinkham Notch (actually, just across the street) is another trail to a waterfall, Glen Ellis Falls. A small tunnel provides safe passage across the highway, but a small stream follows along this trail, so plan to get your feet wet. This is another hugely popular hiking spot, and the trail is narrower, so getting by fellow travelers was pretty challenging. The stream rushes alongside the trail for most of the path, providing a wonderful soundscape, in addition to the pretty views of the rocky stream.


A series of small falls leads up to the big one at Glen Ellis Falls

Trail crews did a remarkable job building the stone steps that carry visitors to the bottom of the 62 foot waterfall. There are railings, but it was extremely challenging for me. We took our time, and most people were incredibly considerate of how difficult it was for me to manage all those steps. One dog owner allowed her dog to take the lead, forcing their way past us on the stairs and nearly caused us serious injury. It only takes one misstep…

But the view at the bottom was pretty stunning. Worth the trip, the effort, the care required, and the sore muscles the next day. But no, this did not count as an easy walk!


The big one! A lot of spray from the falls at the bottom–such fun.


Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress. She is a co-author of the recent community history, Bellingham Now and Then.

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