There aren’t many better ways to cool off than to take a dip in a local swimming hole. It can be a magical experience. The water is often refreshing and rejuvenating, and the surrounding landscapes can be breathtakingly beautiful. While some swimming holes are kept hidden, Lower Falls is one of the best not-so-secret swimming holes in New Hampshire.
Today, we’ll share everything you need to know about Lower Falls and why we think it’s the perfect place to cool off on a hot New Hampshire day. Let’s dive in!
About Lower Falls, NH
The calm and relaxing waters of Albany, New Hampshire’s Lower Falls, make it the perfect summertime adventure. The falls result from centuries of fast-moving water rushing through the granite rocks. The Swift River drops multiple times to create beautiful cascades and the impressive Lower Falls. The massive granite rocks form a refreshing pool.
Heavy rains can create high and rushing waters that can be very dangerous. You should avoid getting into the water during these times. However, if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are many hikes and walks in the area.
The smooth granite rocks can be very slippery when wet, increasing the risks of injuries to visitors. A fall on one of these rocks can cause a hazardous situation, especially if you hit your head.
Lower Falls has gorgeous scenery and offers a picnic area with grills and picnic tables. There are also bathrooms near the parking area, so pack a lunch and some snacks, and you can easily spend the entire day adventuring at Lower Falls.
This is a trendy spot for adventurers. Lower Falls can welcome thousands of guests on a typical summer weekend. However, the self-pay parking lot is $5 and only accommodates 80 vehicles. It fills up quickly, so arrive early if you want to snag a spot.
Can You Swim in the Swift River?
Swimming is one of the most widespread activities in New Hampshire’s Swift River. However, it would be best if you always kept the water conditions in mind. Heavy rains can quickly create an unsafe and dangerous situation for swimmers. There are rock slides in the river, which make for an aquatic playground for all ages. Lower Falls Scenic Area in White Mountain National Forest is the perfect place to swim in the Swift River.
Traveler’s Tip: After exploring New Hampshire, head next door to one of these Stunning Vermont Waterfalls You Have to See to Believe.
Where Is the Not-So-Secret Swimming Hole in Lower Falls?
Lower Falls sits along the 34-mile scenic Kancamagus Highway in Albany, New Hampshire. The compact parking lot for Lower Falls Recreation Area can sneak up on you, but you’ll know it when you see a packed parking lot along the road in Albany.
If you can snag a parking spot, several walking paths take you to the Swift River and the falls. They’re a mixture of paved and dirt trails, but they’re all short and easy. Once you reach the river, you can walk along the bank while scaling rocks and boulders in the water.
What Are the Best Hikes Near Lower Falls, NH?
Accessing Lower Falls is straightforward and requires a short 0.1-mile hike from the parking lot. However, if you’re looking for a lengthier or more adventurous hike, there are several options.
If you want to get your heart pumping, give the Middle Sister Trail (9.5-mile; Hard), White Ledge Loop Trail (4.1-mile; Hard), or Piper Hammond Loop Trail (8.4-mile; Hard) a try. The views from some of these trails won’t disappoint, especially if you’re visiting while the leaves are changing. The fall foliage is unlike any you’ll ever see!
Where to Stay Near Lower Falls, NH
You’ll likely want to spend a few days near Lower Falls to have time to explore the area along Kancamagus Highway. Here are some places you should consider staying during your adventures.
Address: 17 Wilder St #6162, Conway, NH 03818
About: Scenic Inn is a family-run business offering an affordable and convenient location to stay while hiking and shopping in Conway, New Hampshire. The inn is quaint, and the hosts, Sue and Joe, are amiable and charming.
They love sharing tips for visiting Conway and the surrounding area to help make the most of your stay. You can expect to pay $89 per night to stay here, making it one of the most affordable hotel options in the area.
Amenities: The Scenic Inn provides lightning-fast internet speeds, is a smoke-free property, and has pet-friendly rooms available. Rooms have a flat-screen TV and minifridge. Some guests complain about the lack of amenities, but the area offers so much to see and do that you’ll likely spend very little time in your room.
Why pay for extras that you’re not going to use? If you want to sleep in a comfortable bed without paying an arm and a leg, the Scenic Inn is an excellent option in Conway.
Blackberry Crossing Campground
Address: Kancamagus Hwy, Conway, NH 03818
About: Blackberry Crossing Campground is a first-come, first-served campground that costs $25 per night. As you cannot make reservations, you’ll need a backup plan if you’re visiting during the fall. These sites go fast once the fall foliage appears.
The campground is the work of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps, with upgrades like cement pads and fire pits. The campground sits six miles west of Conway, New Hampshire.
Amenities: The campground is in excellent condition but lacks modern amenities. You’ll have to retrieve water by using a hand pump. If you need to use the restroom facilities, they’re not much more than a vault toilet.
Additionally, there are no shower facilities, but a nearby campground only charges $2.50 for a hot shower. This is a convenient campground if you want to stay in the area on a budget.
Kancamagus Swift River Inn
Address: 1316 Kancamagus Hwy, NH-112, Albany, NH 03818
About: The Kancamagus Swift River Inn has been a family-owned inn since 1979. It sits across from the famous Swift River in North Conway. The inn is in the Mount Washington Valley and sits 200 feet off the Kancamagus Highway. It’s the perfect place to stay along the highway if you want to enjoy the fall foliage and many other local attractions.
Wildlife sightings are relatively regular. You can see birds, deer, and moose throughout the year. Rates range from $109 to $159 most of the year and $159 to $189 during the peak foliage season in late September to mid-October.
Amenities: Kancamagus Swift River Inn has ten rooms and provides guests with a delicious continental breakfast from 7 AM to 9 Am. Their smaller size allows them to be a bit more flexible regarding check-in and check-out times most of the year. Most rooms have one queen-size and one full bed. Rooms include large flat-screen TVs with cable, a microwave, refrigerator, DVD/VCR player, and a collection of movies to enjoy.
Is Swimming at Lower Falls Worth It?
Swimming at Lower Falls is a fun and unique experience. Keep an eye on the weather, and you can safely enjoy Lower Falls. However, rain in the area can cause water conditions to change quickly and increase safety concerns.
We suggest coming during the week as the weekends can be a bit overwhelming. If you’re planning a trip to New Hampshire and want to check out a fun swimming hole, it’s hard to beat Lower Falls.
Will you visit Lower Falls on your next adventure? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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