Sabbaday Falls

White Mountain National Forest / Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, USA

About Sabbaday Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.6 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 45 minutes

Date first visited: 2013-10-01
Date last visited: 2013-10-01

Waterfall Latitude: 43.99492
Waterfall Longitude: -71.39591

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Sabbaday Falls was a multi-tiered waterfall twisting within a narrow gorge that was said to be carved out from the last Ice Age.

The falls had a cumulative drop of 35ft though that seemed kind of harsh considering that there were at least two major tiers and even a small five-foot tier at the very top.

Sabbaday_Falls_031_10012013 - Sabbaday Falls
Sabbaday Falls

Given the narrow nature of the gorge, I was never able to get an all-encompassing view of the entire waterfall from any one spot.

Instead, there was always part of the falls hidden from view so the end result was that the pictures really didn’t do Sabbaday Falls any justice.

Nevertheless, the trail did pass by each of the waterfall’s drops, which yielded more of an intimate experience.

In addition to the waterfalls, there was an attractive Emerald Pool at the base of the gorge that seemed very true to its name.

With the pool contrasting with the gorge walls and the surrounding potholes and rocks fringed by Autumn foliage, it seemed like this pool very easily could’ve been a popular swimming spot if it wasn’t prohibited here.

Sabbaday_Falls_066_10012013 - Emerald Pool downstream of Sabbaday Falls
Emerald Pool downstream of Sabbaday Falls

Then again, perhaps because it was as a result of this prohibition that the water was clear enough to yield such clarity and color in the first place.

Why Sabbaday?

The falls was said to have gotten its name from workers who were working on a road connecting Albany Intervale to Waterville.

One Saturday night, these workers decided to take a rest and come back the following Spring.

Since their rest day started on Sunday, which was the Sabbath Day, they renamed this brook to “Sabbaday”.

It was said the workers never returned to finish the work though the name persisted.

Sabbaday_Falls_004_10012013 - Relaxing scenery near the trailhead for Sabbaday Falls
Relaxing scenery near the trailhead for Sabbaday Falls

In keeping with the theme of rest, this waterfall also kind of served as an early afternoon rest stop for us as our daughter was taking her afternoon siesta.

I welcomed the break from the long drive between Stowe, VT and Conway, NH.

But since our daughter was sleeping, Julie had to stay with her in the car.

Thus, I ended up doing this hike solo even though it was a pretty family-friendly excursion.

Experiencing Sabbaday Falls

From the very busy parking lot (which was just about full when we showed up in the early afternoon on an Autumn day in October; see directions below), I followed a flat trail that skirted along the Sabbaday Brook.

Sabbaday_Falls_009_10012013 - Hiking along the stream leading up to the gorge and the Sabbaday Falls
Hiking along the stream leading up to the gorge and the Sabbaday Falls

Barely 1/4-mile into the hike, I reached the Emerald Pool, which also had some interpretive signs before it so I knew exactly what I was seeing here.

Going around the Emerald Pool into part of the gorge next to it, I was able to look upstream and see part of Sabbaday Falls noisily dropping and cutting into the gorge (continuing to make this gorge deeper over time).

Since I couldn’t proceed any further at the slippery and potentially treacherous foot of the gorge, I went back to the main trail to continue.

At this point, the trail then climbed up some steps and more boardwalks alongside the rim of the gorge.

Sabbaday_Falls_064_10012013 - Beyond the Emerald Pool in the floor of the gorge, I was only able to get as far as this partial view of the Sabbaday Falls
Beyond the Emerald Pool in the floor of the gorge, I was only able to get as far as this partial view of the Sabbaday Falls

There were plenty of places to stop and look over the gorge as well as to get views across the main two tiers of Sabbaday Falls from a variety of angles.

After crossing over one of the bridges near the top of the trail, I was able to get closer to the smaller uppermost third tier of Sabbaday Falls.

At the same time, I was also able to look down over the main tiers of Sabbaday Falls dropping into the gorge below.

It seemed like the trail kept going beyond the waterfall, but I was content to get to the second bridge where there was supposed to be an overlook back into the gorge and the falls.

Sabbaday_Falls_024_10012013 - One of the partial views of Sabbaday Falls along the trail
One of the partial views of Sabbaday Falls along the trail

Unfortunately, that view was mostly overgrown and not nearly as interesting as the views I was able to get from the gorge-hugging trail itself.

All in all, it took me about 45 minutes to cover the 0.6 miles round trip.

It was a pretty relaxing experience, and I felt recharged enough to do the final leg of the drive towards Conway, NH.


Sabbaday Falls resides in the White Mountain National Forest between Lincoln and North Conway in Grafton County, New Hampshire. It is administered by the US Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website or Facebook page.

Sabbaday_Falls_018_10012013 - It only took about a quarter-mile from the parking lot to reach the aptly-named Emerald Pool. Note there was someone who scrambled further upstream, which made me wonder what was there (it was not on the main trail)
Sabbaday_Falls_059_10012013 - In case you're curious about what was on the gorge floor upstream of the Emerald Pool this was a direct view of the lowermost tier of the Sabbaday Falls with no safe progress further upstream from down here
Sabbaday_Falls_019_10012013 - Beyond the Emerald Pool, the trail then went up some stairs to the rim of the gorge containing the Sabbaday Falls
Sabbaday_Falls_023_10012013 - The two main tiers of Sabbaday Falls as seen from the ascending trail going higher up the gorge
Sabbaday_Falls_030_10012013 - Direct view of the upper main drop of Sabbaday Falls with a smaller punchbowl-like waterfall at the very top
Sabbaday_Falls_040_10012013 - Looking downstream at the two main drops of Sabbaday Falls and its gorge from the top
Sabbaday_Falls_042_10012013 - Looking back over the brink of one of the main drops of Sabbaday Falls at the context of the gorge and walkway alongside it
Sabbaday_Falls_051_10012013 - Last look at the uppermost tiers of Sabbaday Falls as I was making my way back down to the parking lot
Sabbaday_Falls_057_10012013 - Following the same trail I took up alongside Sabbaday Falls, but now I was on the way back down

We drove to Sabbaday Falls after visiting the Flume.

So we’ll first describe the directions from there before describing the directions from North Conway, which was perhaps the largest town in this part of New Hampshire.

After leaving The Flume, we drove south on the I-93 towards Lincoln, where we left the I-93 and went east on the Hwy 112.

Sabbaday_Falls_001_10012013 - The busy parking lot for Sabbaday Falls
The busy parking lot for Sabbaday Falls

We then drove for about 20 miles (30 minutes drive) before reaching the well-signed and busy parking area for the Sabbaday Falls on our right.

Leaving in the other direction from North Conway, we would drive south for 6 miles on the Hwy 302 towards the town of Conway.

Then, we would head west on the Hwy 112 until we would reach the parking lot for Sabbaday Falls on our left after about 16 miles (30 minutes).

To provide you with a sense of geographical context, Lincoln was 92 miles (2 hours drive) east of Stowe, VT, 42 miles (about an hour drive) west of North Conway, 130 miles (2 hours drive) north of Boston, MA, and 190 miles (3 hours drive) southeast of Montreal, QC, Canada.

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Bottom up sweep looking down at the gorge before ending at the falls

Right to left sweep from the top of the falls looking into the gorge

Right to left sweep starting with a partial view of the falls then ending at the Emerald Pool

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Tagged with: white mountain, white mtn, national forest, waterville valley, grafton county, new hampshire, north conway, waterfall, new england, emerald pool

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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