Georgiana Falls

   The grand vista from the top of Harvard Falls includes a peek way down in the valley, more than a thousand feet below, to Interstate 93 in Lincoln.
The grand vista from the top of Harvard Falls includes a peek way down in the valley, more than a thousand feet below, to Interstate 93 in Lincoln.

 

Amy Patenaude

by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

Danielle and I met up just before 8 am at the Irving, the alien gas station, just north of I-93’s exit 33 on Route 3 in Lincoln. I get a kick out of seeing the giant alien that is painted on the side of the store. The mural commemorates the Betty & Barney Hill incident—the couple claimed to have been abducted by aliens in 1961 nearby in Franconia Notch. Further up Route 3 there is a state historical marker placed near the Indian Head Resort’s cottages that tells their story.
Danielle had no idea about the incident and I told her what I knew about it. Neither one of us feared meeting any aliens during our hike but we did worry about the rain.

The signs at the intersection located between the north and southbound lanes of the Franconia Notch State Parkway.  Georgiana Falls are to the right and it is just 7/10th of a mile to reach the 30’ high falls. Most people can reach these falls in less than 20 minutes.
The signs at the intersection located between the north and southbound lanes of the Franconia Notch State Parkway. Georgiana Falls are to the right and it is just 7/10th of a mile to reach the 30’ high falls. Most people can reach these falls in less than 20 minutes.

We drove a short distance north and just opposite the Longhorn Restaurant we turned left onto Hanson Farm Road and drove to its dead end where there is room for a half dozen or so cars to park. There is no trailhead sign.
We walked past the gate and then under the northbound lane of the Parkway. At the intersection there is a sign with trail information for snowmobilers and a small sign pointing the way to Georgiana Falls. Below these signs there is an orange hand written plastic sign “Hiking Trail” with an arrow pointing to the right and “Snowmobile Trail” with an arrow pointing left—now that was easy to understand.
We went right and crossed under the southbound lane of the Parkway and followed the path to the brook.
Harvard Brook was flowing big after over an inch of rain fell during the night and it was raining lightly. We had big plans. Hiking the Georgiana Falls Path and bushwhacking to Wolf Club. The falls path would be new to Danielle and if there was a way we could cross the brook we’d save a few miles of walking on snowmobile trails. But as soon as we saw the brook we knew the chances were slim to none for fording the brook safely.
We decided to hope for the best and continued up the path. If the rain didn’t let up we decided we’d abandon our bushwhack plans.
Harvard Brook’s cascading was roaring and looked like a raging river. The walk to Georgiana Falls is an easy 7/10th of a mile and the footing is good. The 30’ foot high falls was loud and the cascading water bright white as it tumbled off the cliff.
We thought about turning back but the brook’s cascades were too lovely not to explore the upper falls, Harvard Falls. We followed the red blazes on the trees that led up the steep slippery rocky north bank of the brook. The rain had stopped but I don’t remember noticing when. Unlike the effort required to reach Georgiana Falls the effort to reach Harvard Falls is challenging and difficult.

Danielle Normand celebrates the rain stopping and revels in the roar of the falls!  Georgiana Falls is a nice hike in every season.
Danielle Normand celebrates the rain stopping and revels in the roar of the falls! Georgiana Falls is a nice hike in every season.

 

The cascading waters of Harvard Brook.
The cascading waters of Harvard Brook.
Aliens, they’re here, exit 33 at the Irving Station!
Aliens, they’re here, exit 33 at the Irving Station!

Harvard Falls are 60’ feet high and the roar of the crashing water was louder. We decided to scramble and bushwhack to the top to see what we could see. We got a view between the clouds of the highway down below in Lincoln. In the winter you can see the falls, look for a white stripe of ice up on the ridge.
We followed the brook further and the channel was still more than four or five feet deep. Rocks that normally poked above were deep beneath the water. On the opposite bank there was a chair and behind it the snowmobile trail. If we were able to jump 30 feet to the other side we would have been able to save ourselves hours of hiking effort.
Silly us, we continued bushwhacking up stream until we reached the edges of Bog Eddy and it looked more like a big pond than a bog. We had to go back down. We had bushwhacked across an old logging road and decided to give it a try instead of descending along the rocky steep slippery bank of the brook.
At last the weather improved, it was cool and windy and the woods were beginning to dry up. The old logging road swung north around a bump and away from the brook. At times it was quite nice and sometimes it was hard and we had to push through young beech trees that were growing inches apart. We were able to make good time and we ended up near the bottom where we had started.
Along the path this old logging road was blocked by a stack of tree branches to keep people from going up the wrong way. We were happy to make a fun loop. Have Fun.

Georgian Falls and Harvard Falls are a fabulous little secret. I hope you get to visit them. Please be sure to stick to the blazed path (unless you’re an experienced bushwacker with the proper gear and carry a NH Hike Safe Card).
We’re talking about going back this winter to see what they look like when they are icy. Have Fun.
*We did make it to Wolf Cub, a 3 thousand foot trail-less peak using the snowmobile trails to reach the other side of Harvard Brook.