A Guide to Jackson Falls, NH

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Jackson Falls, NH, is one of our favorite places to stop for a picnic in the White Mountains. These tiered waterfalls on the Wildcat River have a total cascading drop of over 100 feet, and several levels of rocks you can walk on to enjoy the landscape.

If you enjoy pretty waterfalls and classic small towns, you should prioritize Jackson Falls on your NH trip.

Jackson Falls are in located in the town of Jackson, New Hampshire. We at New Hampshire Way are huge fans of Jackson — it’s an adorable town brimming with New England mountain charm. If you don’t like crowds, Jackson is a nice alternative to busy North Conway, its neighbor 10 minutes to the south. Even during peak foliage season, it never feels too crowded in Jackson.

Whether you’re using Jackson as the base for your White Mountains trip or just stopping by on a drive through Pinkham Notch, Jackson Falls are well worth the stop. Ideally with a packed lunch!

This post was most recently updated in May 2023.

Cascading waterfalls over flat rocks, surrounded by green and yellow trees.

Jackson Falls NH FAQ

Is there a bathroom at Jackson Falls?

There is no public restroom at Jackson Falls, nor anywhere in Jackson.

How long is the hike to Jackson Falls?

Jackson Falls is next to the road, so there’s no hiking at all.

Is Jackson Falls accessible?

There is a wheelchair-accessible area at Jackson Falls complete with accessible parking spots.

How much does it cost to visit Jackson Falls?

Jackson Falls are free to visit and the parking is free, too. Enjoy yourself!

A bright yellow tree in the foreground, with cascading waterfalls in the background.

Visiting Jackson Falls

As you arrive at Jackson Falls, you’re struck by the number of waterfalls that splay out between the rock ledges. None of them have an impressive height, but the fact that there are so many of them in such an accessible place is what makes them special.

While the falls are a place for recreation and relaxation today, it wasn’t always that way. In the early 1980s, companies proposed a hydroelectric dam at Jackson Falls. If you’ve met anyone from New Hampshire, you know how well that went! Local residents, elected officials, and environmental groups teamed up to protest the idea and protect their beloved waterfall.

It took nine years (!), but the town of Jackson enacted environmental protections around the river, including a voluntary conservation easement program and strict zoning ordinances.

Today the Wildcat River and its tributaries, including nearby Wildcat Brook, are designated part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

A picnic table surrounded by shady pine trees.
One of the picnic tables between the falls and Carter Notch Rd.

How to Get to Jackson Falls

Jackson Falls are located on Carter Notch Road (Route 16B), close to the heart of Jackson, about a five-minute walk from the town center. Jackson is about a 10-minute drive north of North Conway.

There are two levels to Jackson Falls — the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls, all located on a cascading trail you can walk along. The parking lot is so close that there’s no hiking at all — the falls are there for you to enjoy.

Parking is available near the Upper Falls, including two accessible parking spots on the main road right next to the Upper Falls. There is some parking near the Lower Falls, but most of the spots are reserved for hotel guests at the nearby Wentworth Resort. We recommend parking at the Upper Falls.

Looking downhill at countless waterfalls flowing over rocks, surrounded by fall foliage trees of red, orange, and green.

Jackson NH in the Fall

While we love visiting Jackson year-round, there’s something special about visiting Jackson in the fall. Not only do you have beautiful fall foliage, but you get the pumpkin people, too!

Businesses throughout Jackson put together elaborate displays with pumpkins as people.

In October 2022 we came across displays for pumpkins as the Three Little Pigs, Lucy from Peanuts, and far more scary and funny characters!

A country home with a wraparound porch and a sign reading Flossie's General Store & Emporium with a cartoon of an old lady knitting.
Flossie’s General Store is a fun place to visit in Jackson.

More Things to Do Near Jackson Falls NH

Looking for more things to do near Jackson Falls? You have plenty of options! Jackson is one of our favorite small towns in New Hampshire, and at the very least we recommend you visit the bright red Jackson Covered Bridge — also known as the Honeymoon Covered Bridge — and Flossie’s General Store next door. Don’t miss White Mountain Puzzles, either — it’s a gem of a shop.

The Jackson Falls Historic District, right in the town center, was recognized by the National Registry of Historic Places in 2003. The first original settlement was in 1778, and today you can visit many original buildings, including the Jackson Town Hall and Jackson Public Library.

If you want to continue the waterfall-hopping, we highly recommend a visit to Glen Ellis Falls, a 10-minute drive north on Route 16 (look for the small parking sign on the west side of the highway).

A 15-minute drive to the north is the Mount Washington Auto Road where you drive to the top of Mount Washington — an unforgettable experience! (The Mount Washington Cog Railway departs from the other side of the mountain and is a 45-minute drive from Jackson.)

If you’re visiting during the summer with young kids, Story Land is an absolute must. This storybook-themed amusement park is a gem. It’s just south of Jackson in Glen. Living Shores Aquarium is right next door.

And of course, there’s North Conway, one of the most popular towns in New Hampshire. North Conway is home to excellent outlet shopping.

If you’re visiting in the winter, Jackson is THE place for cross-country skiing in New Hampshire, with tons of excellent trails. New Hampshire’s best destination for cross-country skiing. Ski resorts abound, from Black Mountain to Wildcat Mountain to Attitash to Cranmore Mountain, and you can enjoy ice skating and sleigh rides at Nestlenook Farm.

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Have you been to Jackson Falls? Have any tips? Share away!

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