Trailhead and parking area are on a branch of Magalloway Road in Pittsburg, NH. Magalloway Road is a logging road which begins on Rt. 3, 11.6 miles north of Rt. 145. There is no sign for the road, but the entrance is very wide and there is a marker for the lookout tower. As you go, ignore any diverging spur roads that look rougher than the main road. Also, you are required to yield to logging trucks, which will probably force you off the road if you don't. Drive 1.2 miles and continue straight (right) at a fork just after a bridge over the Connecticut River. In 1.7 miles past the bridge, take the left fork to stay on Magalloway Road as Cedar Stream Road goes right. In another 2.4 miles past this junction, turn right, leaving the main road onto a spur road (sometimes called Magalloway Mountain Road) marked with a sign for the tower. Use caution, as this road is much rougher and steeper. Follow it for 3.0 miles to its end in a small parking area.
About the Hike
Located in a remote area of NH not known for its hiking trails, Magalloway Mountain's fire tower offers one of the few trail-accessible views of the Connecticut Lakes Region. The trail to the summit follows the fire warden's jeep road. From the parking area at the end of the road, follow the Coot Trail. The trail begins ascending at a moderate grade, soon passing a cabin. It then becomes steep and rocky, climbing quickly for the next 0.5 miles. The trail is fairly wide in places. Near the end of the steep climb is a glimpse of the First Connecticut Lake. The Bobcat Trail, which can be used for a loop descent, enters from the right at this point. The trail then flattens out and gradually climbs for 0.2 miles on a pleasant, grassy path. At the summit is a clearing with a cabin and the fire tower. There are a few ledge views from the east side, but the best view is from Magalloway's fire tower. From the tower, a sweeping vista of the remote and wild terrain of the Great North Woods opens up before you. You can see Lake Francis and the First and Second Connecticut Lakes. To the north, you can see the long Magalloway Road winding through the vast wilderness. Past the road are nearby Diamond Ridge and more distant Stub Hill block the view further north. To the east, the view extends into Maine toward long, river-like Azicoos Lake. Far to the south, the most northern peaks of the White Mountains can be spotted in the distance.
Trailhead and parking area are on Magalloway Road in Pittsburg, NH. Magalloway Road leaves the east side of Rt. 3 11.5 miles north of Rt. 145. There is no sign for the road, but the entrance is very wide and there is a marker for the lookout tower on Magalloway Mountain. As you go, ignore any diverging spur roads that look rougher than the main road. Also, you are required to yield to logging trucks, which will probably force you off the road if you don't. Drive 1.2 miles and continue straight (right) at a fork just after a bridge over the Connecticut River. In 1.7 miles past the bridge, take the left fork to stay on Magalloway Road as Cedar Stream Road goes right. In another 2.4 miles past this junction, stay straight as the road for the Magalloway Mountain trailhead turns right. In another 4.3 miles, the road makes a long 180-degree turn to the right. 1.1 miles past the turn, bear right at a fork onto Garfield Falls Road as Magalloway Road goes left. From this junction, drive another 1.3 miles to a small parking area with a kiosk.
About the Hike
Since it is located just about as far away from civilization as possible in New Hampshire, some explorers may question driving 12 miles down a rough logging road just to see a waterfall. But Garfield Falls is worth the effort. Aside from the driving, the hike to the waterfall takes only about 15 minutes, and it's down an easy dirt path. Find the trail on the opposite side of the parking area as the kiosk. Garfield Falls Path descends gently through the remote northern forest for just 0.2 miles to reach the main waterfall. The 40-foot, voluminous cataract is a striking feature in the total isolation of the wilderness. The trail descends past the falls on a wooden step and runs along the flat river at the bottom. After taking in the scenery of the area, you can return the way you came. For a bonus, walk through the woods along the river above the main plunge for a short distance to get to another waterfall upstream (this can be glimpsed from the viewing area for the main waterfall).
The Cohos Trail Association has restored a number of trails in Coos County, NH, and this is one. It begins on a spur road off Sophie's Lane west of Deer Mountain Campground about four miles from the Canadian border. Walk Sophie's Lane half a mile until a spur lane rises on the left. Walk up it until it ends. The trailhead is on the left (west) in a small turnaround lot. Begin an easy to moderate climb in quiet woods, crossing three streams as you climb higher. In less than an hour reach a high elevation drained bog in boreal forest. Now begin to climb more steeply and reach a narrow waterfall. Crest the summit ridgeline and walk north on the ridge until the steel superstructure of an abandoned fire tower comes into view. This is the summit of Deer Mountain, a spot that seems far removed from anywhere.
The Cohos Trail system ends on the short but briefly steep Fourth Connecticut Lake Trail, protected by the Nature Conservancy. It reaches the little two-acre fen high on Prospect Hill that is the headwaters source of the mighty Connecticut River. The pathway reaches the little pond in less than half an hour, but the trail makes a complete circuit around the watery environment in true boreal forest.