Distance: 2.5 miles to Bridal Veil Falls
Time: 1-1.5 hours (one way)
Elevation gain: 1,150-ish feet
Difficulty: Family Hike
The kids perked up at the sound of rushing water. I almost didn’t have the heart to tell them that we were still a mile and a half from the wonders of Bridal Veil Falls. Almost. I totally told them. (Don’t judge, it was a loooooong car ride!)
For the record, Bridal Veil Falls was worth the long, name-calling, tattletaling car ride. As a family hike, the continuous but lightly moderate climb (maxed out at a 12 percent gradient) is kid friendly. There are rocks and roots along the trail, but never to the point where footing is tricky (at least, not until you get to the falls). That said, parents may want to think twice with kiddos in the 3-4-year-old age range where they’re too big for the pack but not quite ready to stay enthused throughout a 2.5-mile hike.
The hike begins off NH 116 on Coppermine Road (directions below), a dirt road with a small parking area at the beginning. A short distance in, stay to the right at the split with Beechwood Lane, which goes to Coppermine Village.
The 2.5-mile measurement for the trail is from the parking area at the beginning of Coppermine Road. It’s a little over a mile before Coppermine Brook comes into play, first spotted from a ridge above. A herd path loops down to a flat area along the brook that gets used for stealth camping. The main trail comes close to the brook a couple of times, making its first crossing at 2.3 miles via a footbridge.
After the shelter, the trail rock-hops the brook, which is easy to cross under normal conditions. Be mindful of this crossing during periods of heavy rainfall.The trail emerges at the “veil” of the falls, a natural waterslide where the brook fans across a smooth rock formation. There’s a tempting pool of water at the base of the veil, all of which is walled-in by the gorge’s tall cliffs.
Slightly hidden from view, the trail continues to the left of the veil. Here, it can be tricky for children (and adults) to navigate the steep climb over and around rock slabs at the base of the ledge. This scramble brings visitors to a viewing area for the main cascade, which shoots over an overhang on the 50-foot cliff, spraying water into a cavernous opening at the base, where the brook snakes into another inviting pool at the head of the veil.
Directions to Bridal Veil Falls
From I-93, take Exit 32 and turn onto NH 112 toward Woodstock. Continue following NH 112 past Woodstock, Lost River Valley Gorge, the Mt. Moosilauke parking lot for the Beaver Brook Trail, etc. Turn right onto NH 116 north, and from here the Coppermine Road is 7.7 miles on the right. For anyone heading south on NH 116, the Coppermine Road is on the left, one mile after the Franconia Airport.