Willey Brook Falls, Crawford Notch

Crawford Notch State Park - Willey Brook Trestle along the old Maine Central Railroad in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. The Mt. Willard Section House was located just to the right of the trestle. This railroad is now used by  the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Willey Brook Trestle – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire 
 

Willey Brook Falls, Crawford Notch – These falls are an impressive series of cascades located on Willey Brook, above Willey Brook Trestle (above), on the side of Mount Willard in Crawford Notch, New Hampshire. The real adventure is just getting to them, which can be tricky if you use the wrong route.

The Willey Brook area is more of a gorge, and it is best to study a map of the area before exploring the brook. The gorge alone will lead to hours of exploring so plan on spending a few hours at this location.

Crawford Notch State Park - Willey Brook Falls in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA.
Willey Brook – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire 
 

I always recommend photographing waterfalls on an overcast or rainy day when the light is diffused (soft & balanced). But extreme care should be given when trying to reach these falls on a bad weather day. The rocks in the gorge are very slippery, and the terrain around Willey Brook is steep. It would be wise to scout the area on a sunny day to get your bearings. These falls are not for everyone.

Crawford Notch State Park - Willey Brook in Harts Location, New Hampshire.
Willey Brook – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire
 

And like most waterfalls in the White Mountains, they look best during the spring months when water levels are high from snowmelt.

Cascades on Willey Brook in Crawford Notch of the New Hampshire White Mountains.
Willey Brook – Crawford Notch, New Hampshire
 

Only basic photography gear (polarizing filter, solid tripod, and a remote shutter switch) is needed to produce a pleasing image. And filters such as a Lee Big Stopper filter and Neutral density filters will add to the creative side.

Crawford Notch State Park - Remnants of the Mt. Willard Section House, which  is located at the end of the Willey Brook Trestle along the old Maine Central Railroad in the White Mountains, New Hampshire USA. The section house was built by the Maine Central Railroad in 1887 to house the section foreman and crew who maintained the track along the face of Crawford Notch. It was destroyed by fire in 1972.
Water Piping System For The Willard Dwelling
 

For the history buffs that read Henry E. Childs 1945 article "Mount Willard Ramblings" where he mentions “New Cascade” as being on a tributary of Willey Brook. I am on the fence with his comments about the cascade and brook not being named or listed on a map. I think the brook is named and listed on a map.

Willey Brook looks to only have two major branches above the trestle. And the 1896 map shows Willey Brook as being the branch closest to Mt Willard. I believe this is the branch Childs is talking about in his article. Why? Because the pool he mentions, where the piping (above) is for the Willard dwelling, is on this branch. Interestingly, the location of the two branches of Willey Brook varies from map to map. And I wonder if he only looked at a 1940s map, which shows a different layout of the brook than the 1896 map.

To license any of the photos in this blog article for publications, click on the photo. View more scenes of Willey Brook here.

Happy image making..


 

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Erin Paul is a professional photographer who specializes in environmental conservation and historic preservation photography in the New Hampshire White Mountains. His work is published worldwide, and credits include; Backpacker Magazine, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and The Wilderness Society.

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