Name of Waterfall

Crystal Cascade


Take Route 16 to Pinkham Notch and park at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center at the summit. Follow the well signed Tuckerman Ravine Trail beginning adjacent to the AMC lodge for one-third of a mile to the walled viewpoint overlooking the falls, about 500 feet beyond the footbridge spanning the Cutler River.Crystal Cascade is a gorgeous series of veiling falls and cascades along the Cutler River near the summit of Pinkham Notch in the White Mountains. The falls are found along the immensely popular Tuckerman Ravine trail and will often rightfully serve as a distraction to hikers starting out on the trail - visitors seeking out the falls specifically should not expect to be alone.
Though the falls visible from the overlook on the trail appear to have two - or three if you look hard - distinct steps, the cascades actually extend upstream for some distance, and consist of at least six distinct tiers in all, which cumulatively drop approximately 140 feet in a run of about 460 linear feet. We surveyed the falls in entirety in 2015 but in the time since our data seems to have been misplaced, so measurements presented are derived from 1-meter lidar data instead (which should be just as accurate). The portion of the falls visible from the trail consists of the two final tiers of the series; an incredibly scenic 54-foot veiling fall, followed by a 16-foot plunge which splits into two separate channels when the flow of the Cutler River is lower. The upper 9 feet of the 54-foot tier may at first glance appear to be a distinct tier of its own, however the fall transitions immediately to the remaining bulk of the drop without pausing, so it should be effectively considered one drop. A small portion of the next fall upstream can also be seen from the trail, but its size is not well appreciated due to foreshortening and the distance from the viewpoint.
The four uppermost tiers of the falls cannot be seen from the trail, and consist of consecutive steps separated by small pools, with successive drops of 10, 16, 7, and 23 feet respectively, each featuring a fairly large pool at its base which separates it from the next drop by 50-75 linear feet. The remaining 15 feet of the total height is made up in cascades between the various steps. From the very bottom of the Crystal Cascades the river rumbles through a narrow gorge and is then spit out just upstream from the first footbridge encountered along the trail. A small set of cascades which drop about 10 feet in all can be found just downstream of this bridge.
The Cutler River upstream of Crystal Cascade drains from an area of approximately 3 square miles on the east flank of Mount Washington, including the heavily incised Huntington and Tuckerman Ravines which retain significant winter snow pack well into the spring and early summer months. The fact that Mount Washington so readily produces its own weather, as well as the heavy winter snow fall which the area receives ensures that there is almost always an ample volume of water flowing down the river at Crystal Cascades, and they will present well at any time of year.

Other Names




IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops


Average Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

45 cfs (2 months)

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

15 cfs (10 months)


60 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

Cutler River