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06 February 2020

A Winter Hike to Bridal Veil Falls near Franconia, NH

Some might think of visits to waterfalls as being something that is done in warm-weather months when water is freely cascading over rocky terrain.  However, wintertime visits to waterfalls have their own unique rewards.  There can be displays of frozen water that are colossal, and sometimes quite colorful.  Such was the case in late January 2020 when I visited Bridal Veil Falls near Franconia, NH.  The website (click HERE) contains excellent directions as to how to reach this waterfall. 

Shown below is a photo of Bridal Veil Falls taken during my January 2020 visit.


When doing the hike to Bridal Veil Falls, you might want to wander a short distance off the trail at about the halfway point to try finding the Bette Davis plaque that is attached to a boulder in Coppermine Brook.  It’s difficult to find since the plaque’s positioning on the boulder is not in your direct line of sight from the shoreline of the brook.  I found it once many years ago.  Below is a photo of the plaque.

Here is a short version as to how the Bette Davis plaque came to be (for a more complete version, click HERE).  While staying in Franconia, Bette Davis met her second husband, Arthur Farnsworth, when he was the assistant manager at an inn called Peckett`s.  One of the inn's activities included excursions on horseback to a location near the present-day Coppermine Road.  Once there, hotel patrons could hike the trail to Bridal Veil Falls.  Locals are fond of perpetuating a story that Bette often "strayed" from the hiking party, knowing that Farnsworth would be sent to rescue her.  They married in 1940, but their union was brief, ending with his death in 1943.  Sometime after that, a plaque appeared on a large boulder in Coppermine Brook, which can still be seen today.  It reads:
In memorium to Arthur Farnsworth. The Keeper of Stray Ladies. Pecketts 1939. Presented by a Grateful One.

And lastly, regardless of whether you are visiting Bridal Veil Falls in wintertime or summertime, you might want to stop by the shelter shown below which is located about 0.2 mile from the waterfall.  It’s a nice spot to have lunch, or even for an overnight stay.  No reservations . . . it’s first come, first served!



One Day in America said...

Wow John, those falls are beautiful! Where does the color come from? Minerals in the water or in the rocks?

So Bette Davis vacationed in New Hampshire? Who knew?

Lastly, I think it's great that so many of the trails you hike have shelters nearby. We could use more of those on our western trails!

Another great winter post—thanks for sharing!

1HappyHiker said...

Rita . . . thanks for your comments!

Regarding the colors in the ice on Bridal Veil Falls, I’m far from being an expert, but seem to recall that blue is the natural color of thick ice. Blue coloration, as well as shades of green are seen in icebergs. And regarding the yellowish/brownish ice, as you suggest, that could be due to minerals and/or particulate matter (silt, etc) suspended in the ice.

Last but definitely not least, thank you for being such a loyal follower of my blog.