Walter Newton Natural Area: Chasing Waterfalls at Rainbow Falls
Nestled within the serene outskirts of Plymouth, New Hampshire, the Walter Newton Natural Area offers an enchanting escape into the heart of nature. This relatively small yet marvelous natural reserve boasts marshlands cloaked in a lush canopy of trees. As you meander along its winding paths, the rustling leaves and branches whisper tales of tranquility and adventure. Concealed behind a dense forest, the main attraction of this pristine haven is the captivating Rainbow Falls, a 25-foot-high waterfall that draws visitors from far and wide.
Walter Newton Natural Area is Plymouth’s hidden gem. A picturesque spot with a beautiful waterfall and early fall foliage, where fascinating mushrooms abound.
The park’s natural beauty can be appreciated year-round. Spring brings the landscape to life with vibrant blooms, while autumn adorns it in a rich tapestry of auburn hues. Even the winter season, with its glistening snow, casts a unique spell on the area. However, hiking is most enjoyable from spring to autumn when the ground is drier. After rain, the trails can become muddy and slippery, making hiking less comfortable. To help with this, wooden beams and stepping stones have been thoughtfully placed in boggy areas, easing your movement. It’s advisable to wear sturdy boots, especially in wetter conditions.
The flow of the waterfall is remarkably seasonal. In the heat of summer, it can dwindle to a mere trickle, potentially disappointing visitors during droughts. On the other hand, following snowfall, the area becomes a winter wonderland, inviting cross-country skiers to explore the two trails between Henry’s Trail and Rainbow Falls.
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Rainbow Falls, the crown jewel of the Walter Newton Natural Area, is a 25-foot-high cascade of natural beauty. It’s a seasonal spectacle that truly comes to life after a good rain in the spring. The falls comprise a series of horsetails that gracefully tumble over a broad granite face. Among them, the uppermost horsetail stands out, offering an exquisite subject for photographers.
To add to the allure, two benches have been thoughtfully placed below the falls. They provide the perfect spots to sit, relax, and perhaps enjoy a picnic. Just downstream, a charming little bridge connects the Ruth Walter Trail to the Newton Trail. This spot not only offers an excellent vantage point to admire the falls but also provides a great opportunity for stunning photographs.
One of the delightful features of Rainbow Falls is the ability to walk up the sides of the falls. Additionally, there’s a small island at the base where you can sit and immerse yourself in the splendor of the falls.
Dogs are more than welcome on the trails but must be kept on a leash. Additionally, visitors are encouraged to be responsible and remove dog waste to help preserve the pristine environment.
Walter Newton Natural Area Trails
For outdoor enthusiasts, the Walter Newton Natural Area is a real treat. It’s a haven for hikers and joggers alike, featuring a network of scenic trails, many of which lead to the enchanting Rainbow Falls.
Ruth Walter Trail: This 0.6-mile trail, named in memory of Ruth S. Walter, a dedicated conservationist, offers a relatively easy hike with mostly flat terrains, leading you to the Falls.
Rainbow Falls Trail: For those seeking a longer adventure, the 1.2-mile Rainbow Falls Trail will take you on a journey to the Falls. This trail, however, presents a slightly more challenging experience with hilly sections, covering approximately 100 feet of elevation gain. Along the way, you’ll pass by the scenic Glove Hollow Brook.
If heights don’t intimidate you, a side trail even leads to the top of the waterfall. Be cautious, though, as this trail can be slippery, especially when covered in moss.
While you explore the Walter Newton Natural Area, keep a keen eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this place home. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts will be thrilled to spot various species in their natural habitat, adding an extra layer of wonder to your outdoor adventure.
When you find yourself in the vicinity of Plymouth, New Hampshire, the Walter Newton Natural Area offers a peaceful, natural respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Despite not being the largest of natural areas, the 25-foot waterfall and the tranquil brook make it a truly special and worthwhile destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. So, take a break from the ordinary, and let the Walter Newton Natural Area transport you to a world of natural wonder and tranquility.
What’s Nearby Walter Newton Natural Area
Walter Newton Natural Area is surrounded by an array of natural wonders, making it a gateway to an abundance of outdoor experiences in the picturesque New Hampshire landscape. Just a short drive away, you’ll find Beede Falls, a charming waterfall offering a tranquil atmosphere for relaxation and photography. For those who appreciate geological marvels, Sabbaday Falls beckons with its unique rock formations and cascading water. Champney Falls, a bit farther, captivates hikers with its pristine setting and serene forest surroundings. The nearby Basin Cascade offers yet another waterfall adventure, complete with forested trails that are perfect for exploration. And if you’re in the mood for some high-altitude beauty, the iconic Franconia Notch State Park is a must-visit, where you can marvel at the stunning Flume Gorge and breathtaking vistas. The Walter Newton Natural Area serves as a perfect launching point to explore these nearby gems, each offering its own distinct charm in the heart of New Hampshire’s natural beauty.
Walter Newton Natural Area Parking Information
Parking and access to the Walter Newton Natural Area are conveniently located, making it easy for visitors to explore this picturesque natural gem. To reach the trailhead and parking area, follow Cummings Hill Road in Plymouth, New Hampshire. As you venture down this road, you’ll find the parking lot near the trailhead, which is the gateway to your adventure. It’s worth noting that parking is free of charge (subject to change), but the parking area does have limited space, accommodating only a few cars at a time. So, be sure to arrive early, especially during peak visitation times, to secure a parking spot and make the most of your experience in this tranquil natural retreat.