Snyder Brook Waterfalls, White Mountains

View up Snyder Brook Valley toward Mount Madison and Mount Adams from the Inlook Trail in Randolph, New Hampshire during the summer months. This trail leads to Dome Rock.
Snyder Brook Valley From The Inlook Trail – Randolph, New Hampshire
 

Snyder Brook Waterfalls, White Mountains – Located in the New Hampshire town of Randolph and the township of Low and Burbank's Grant Snyder Brook is a photographer’s and waterfall enthusiasts paradise. The lower portion of Snyder Brook is within the thirty-six acre Snyder Brook Scenic Area, which contains an impressive stand of old growth hemlock and red spruce.

In September of 1875 William G. Nowell, a 19th century trail builder, named Snyder Brook after Charles E. Lowe’s dog (ref: 1915 Appalachia Vol.13). Lowe was also a 19th century trail builder and mountain guide. Lowe and Nowell are credited for building Lowe’s Path in 1875-1876, one of the oldest trails in continuous use in the White Mountains. An 1896 map of Randolph indicates that Snyder Brook was once known as Salmacis Brook.

Gordon Falls on Snyder Brook in Randolph, New Hampshire during the summer months. This waterfall is located along the Fallsway Trail and is part of the Snyder Brook Scenic Area.
Gordon Falls – Randolph, New Hampshire
 

The journey begins at the Appalachia Trailhead along Route 2 in Randolph. From the trailhead, waterfall enthusiasts can use the Fallsway Trail to reach Gordon Falls (above), the first waterfall on Snyder Brook. This waterfall is named after the 19th Century mountain guide James Gordon. Gordon guided Thomas Starr King on the first ascent of the headwall of King Ravine in 1857. In the early days of Randolph, this waterfall was known as Ripple Falls.

Upper Salroc Falls on Snyder Brook in Randolph, New Hampshire during the summer months. This waterfall is located along the Fallsway Trail and is part of the Snyder Brook Scenic Area.
Upper Salroc Falls – Randolph, New Hampshire
 

Continuing up the Fallsway Trail, the next waterfall on Snyder Brook is Salroc Falls. Salroc Falls is the smallest named waterfall along the brook, and it consists of an upper and lower section. I find the upper falls (above) to be more photogenic than the lower falls. This waterfall is small compared to the others along Snyder Brook, and it looks best after rain storms, and during the spring snowmelt.

A female hiker sitting in from of Tama Falls on Snyder Brook in Randolph, New Hampshire during the summer months. This waterfall is located along the Fallsway Trail and is part of the Snyder Brook Scenic Area.
Tama Falls – Randolph, New Hampshire
 

Staying on the Fallsway Trail, the third waterfall along Snyder Brook is Tama Falls (above). Of the three waterfalls (Gordon, Salroc, and Tama) located in the Randolph portion of Snyder Brook, Tama Falls is the most impressive. During humid days, like the ones we have been having lately, this is a great waterfall to visit.

Salmacis Fall on Snyder Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months. This waterfall is located along the Brookside Trail.
Salmacis Fall – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire
 

The next waterfall on Snyder Brook, Salmacis Fall (above), is located in the Low and Burbank’s Grant portion of the brook, along the Brookside Trail, 1.3 miles from Valley Way. To reach these falls, and the rest of the ones I mention below requires hiking over rough terrain.

Duck Fall on Snyder Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months. This waterfall is located at the junction of Watson Path and Snyder Brook.
Duck Fall – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire
 

Continuing up the Brookside Trail, turning left on to Watson Path and following the Watson Path for a short distance to where it crosses Snyder Brook brings us to the next waterfall on Snyder Brook, Duck Fall (above). This cascade is so small that many people are surprised to find out it is named. If hiking to Mount Madison, via Watson Path, it is a great spot to take a break. The remaining waterfalls on Snyder Brook are trail-less.

One of the many cascades located above Duck Fall on Snyder Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months. This is possibly Marian Fall.
Marian Fall – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire
 

In 1916, an extension of the Brookside Trail above Duck Fall was completed. Abandoned by the Randolph Mountain Club (RMC) in 1980 this extension of the Brookside Trail branched off Watson Path just above Duck Fall, passed Marian Fall (above), and followed Snyder Book eventually joining the Valley Way a short distance below the hut. I suspect Marian Fall is named for Marian of the legendary 19th century mother-daughter hiking duo Lucia and Marian Pychowska.

Remnants of the abandoned Brookside Trail, above Duck Fall, in the Snyder Brook drainage of Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months.
The Abandoned Brookside Trail – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire
 

The extension of the Brookside Trail above Duck Fall is nonexistent today and in only 36 years mother nature has reclaimed the trail corridor. This section of the trail must have been already very deteriorated when the RMC abandoned it. I was excited when I found remnants (above) of the abandoned trail corridor.

One of the many cascades located above Duck Fall on Snyder Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months.
First Cascade Above Marian Fall – Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire
 

Old guide books reference that there are numerous cascades above Marian Falls, but more specifically they reference the second cascade above Marian Fall is named Thorndike Fall. Should be easy to find this waterfall right? Well, the problem is there are many cascades above Marian Fall that could be Thorndike Fall.

I have yet to find any vintage images of Thorndike Fall so determining what cascade is the named one can only be a guess. So I decided to count only the larger cascades, not the small ones, above Marian Fall. I consider the above cascade to be the first cascade above Marian Fall. But this one very well could be Thorndike Fall.

One of the many cascades located above Duck Fall on Snyder Brook in Low and Burbank's Grant, New Hampshire during the summer months. This is possibly Thorndike Fall.
Second Cascade Above Marian Fall (Possibly Thorndike Fall) – Snyder Brook, Low and Burbank's Grant
 

I also found a loose reference that suggests the second cascade above Marian Fall is named after Thorndike (not sure if this is S.H.) because he was drawn to that cascade when they were building the now abandoned upper extension of the Brookside Trail. The image above shows the second cascade above Marian Fall. I think this is possibly the forgotten Thorndike Fall. As I photographed it, I couldn’t help but admire the picturesque setting. The moss is beautiful and almost overpowering.

As I finish up shooting Snyder Brook, I am left with the nagging question on which cascade is Thorndike Fall. Could it be the one I think it is, the second cascade (above) or is it the first cascade or neither? I believe Thorndike Fall is one of these cascades, but until I find proof, like a vintage image, I will never know.

All of the above images can be licensed for publications by clicking on the image you are interested in. And you can view more images of Snyder Brook here.

Happy image making..


 

Please keep in mind the history of the White Mountains is not cut–and–dry subject matter. The information included in this blog article is based on my research and knowledge of the White Mountains.

Connect with us on Facebook | Subscribe to our blog | See our New Hampshire wall calendars

The following two tabs change content below.
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.

Latest posts by Erin Paul Donovan (see all)

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>