3 Seacoast Nature Walks to Waterfalls


Did you know there are waterfalls on the Seacoast? As part of my continuing goal to explore every Seacoast hike and nature walk, I’ve discovered three Seacoast nature walks to waterfalls that the whole family can access. Enjoy!

Gonic Falls
My children enjoy walking to Gonic Falls in Rochester

Gonic Falls – Rochester, New Hampshire

Also called Locke Falls or Isinglass Falls, this waterfall is one of my favorites in all of New Hampshire and a perfect year round family friendly hike. To get to the falls, go to the Gonic Trail system (more info here) and take the yellow trail an easy half mile walk down to the falls. Beautiful in every season, this is a popular spot for families, dog walkers, fly fishermen, and in the summer – swimmers. In addition, my children love to climb the large boulders near the waterfall and explore the shoreline for water bugs. Continue on the yellow trail down stream and you will be rewarded with a few other approaches to the Isinglass river and seasonal rapids. Parking is free, but there are no facilities at the trailhead.

gonic falls in fall
Gonic Falls in Fall

Orris Falls – South Berwick, Maine

A narrow cascade through a gorge makes Orris Falls a must-visit on the Seacoast. To access this Seacoast waterfall, start at the trailhead on Thurrell Road in South Berwick (more info here).  This easy trail will lead you up a wide path. Follow signs to the falls and on the way, pass an old home foundation and beaver pond. The falls are 0.9 miles from the trailhead. From the viewing bench, look down onto the 12 foot falls as it cuts through forest. For more ambitious hikers, continue past the falls and check out Balancing Rock. Parking at the trailhead is quite limited. Additionally, this trail is free to access, but there are no facilities.

Orris Falls - a Seacoast hike near water
My daughter and I look at Orris Falls in South Berwick

Little Niagara Falls – Strafford, New Hampshire

I recently discovered this trail after someone mentioned it on the local Hike it Baby group. With a name like Niagara, I had to check it out! The trailhead is tricky to find, so I’ve laid out the directions on Barn Door Gap Road carefully on my blog. Once you find the trailhead, it’s an easy trail – formerly a logging road. Follow the straight, wide path 0.4 miles to the falls. During spring melt, the force of water was impressive, and definitely lived up to its name. The cascade pumped enormous amounts of water down a wide slope to the river below.

I’m told that these falls can completely dry up in a summer drought, so springtime is the perfect time to check it out! Those who want to keep exploring can walk a full mile to the Little Niagara Road before turning back.  Parking is free but limited, and there are no facilities.

Little Niagara Falls - a Seacoast hike near water
Little Niagara Falls in Strafford, New Hampshire

The Perfect Spring Outing

These falls are the perfect spring outing for your family.  Almost all children should be able to access these short and sweet trails. Practice safe hiking by telling someone your plan, bringing water, snacks, and a first aid kit, and taking precautions against ticks and biting insects. You are sure to enjoy these three Seacoast nature walks to waterfalls and welcome spring in right!  

Gonic Falls Rochester
My son loves climbing the rocks at Gonic Falls in Rochester

Want more? Check out our list of Seacoast trails.  Additionally, follow Seacoast Hikes on Instagram and Facebook. I can be found sharing all my New Hampshire adventures at Freelance Adventurer on Facebook or Instagram. Let me know if you go!