Last Sunday I had a mild case of cabin fever. The rain, the cold, the black flies. Enough, already!
My husband, son and I decided to head into Waterville Valley for a hike to Fletcher’s Cascade. Fletcher’s Cascade Trail is like the poor step sister to the better known Cascades Trail. One online tramper referred to Fletchers as “the best waterfall(s) I never heard of.”
Parking and the initial hike starts at the Drakes Brook Trail off Rt. 49 (10 miles east of I-93, Exit 28).
WVAIA describes Fletchers as a moderate hike that heads up the Drakes Brook valley to the Fletchers Cascade [2,600 ft.], a picturesque series of chutes and ledges that begins somewhere on the boggy summit of Flat Mountain.
The trail begins off the Lower Fletchers Cascade cross-country ski trail, just up the hill from where the Drakes Brook Trail leaves the ski trail and crosses the brook. The Fletcher’s Cascade Trail angles up along the left-hand side of the brook for a fair distance. It can be wet in several sections, requiring some rock hopping and footwork, but it’s not steep and easy to follow. After a short footbridge, the trail crosses a high-banked brook [difficult in high water] and enters the Sandwich Range Wilderness. Once the towering rock walls are in sight through the trees, the trail becomes quite steep for a short distance, ascending directly beside the brook, with poor footing on slick surfaces. It eventually hooks left below a tall rock face and comes to an end on a little island in the middle of the brook bed.
There are several different waterfalls, so don’t think the trail ends at the first one you see!
Although it rained off and on during our hike, the lush tree cover kept us mostly dry. I hate bugs, and I happily had to squoosh just one mosquito! I also dislike water crossings, but I managed to scramble easily across the rocks – but first, I had to take a picture of the water crossing and the stone stepladder that I had to ascend on the other side. I guess I needed to prove to my daughter – who’s away at college this summer – that I had the guts to do it!
Sadly, I was too obsessed with memorializing my water crossing and never snapped any pictures of the falls! You’ll just have to head out to Fletcher’s Cascade and see them for yourself!