Besides being home to big cities and universities, Massachusetts has natural beauty in abundance from mountains to valleys, to the stunning waterfalls breaking around boulders and falling magnificently as a long stream. Most of them are within a nature preserve or surrounded by thick forestry, adding a picturesque touch. Moreover, the pools below them invite visitors to have a fun time in summer. The Berkshire and Franklin Counties lying in western and northwestern parts of the country houses most number of waterfalls.
March Cataract Falls, a 30-foot fan-shaped waterfall, is one of the main attractions of Mt. Greylock State Reservation. Though short, it dramatically cascades down the rocks as it flows down Hopper Brook. Do be careful of the slippery rocks at its base, especially after rainfall.
You could miss the nearby Deer Hill Falls and Money Brook Falls for additional scenic views.
Nearest City: About 2.5 miles from Adams
Hiking & Other Activities: There’s a 1.1-mile trail taking you close to the waterfall. You’ll have to tread along a short distance from the parking lot at Rockwell Road to reach the trailhead. It is narrow with exposed roots and steep points, making it moderately difficult.
Though in private property, Twin Cascades is free to public access. As the name suggests, it is a set of two waterfalls flowing adjacently. While the right cascade is about 60 feet, the left one is comparatively taller. If the water levels are proper and the trail at the end does not get washed off, you can get to the base and enjoy a dip in the cold waters in summer. It is not possible to see the entire waterfall from here, and you’ll find a trail that climbs to the top. However, it is pretty slippery and treacherous, not recommended for the inexperienced.
Nearest City: About 8.5 miles from North Adams
Hiking & Other Activities: You will have to park your cars by the YMCA and walk a short distance to the trailhead at the front of the elementary school. It is about a mile long, following the bubbling creek all the way to the waterfall. Some rocky sections along with muddy parts can be slippery and challenging.
Umpachene Falls is a 40-foot waterfall within Umpachene Falls Park. The pool below it is a hotspot for wading and swimming in summer. Once you manage to climb up the slippery rocks, you’ll be rewarded with different views, but extreme caution needs to be maintained. Don’t forget to bring your picnic baskets to enjoy a meal at the picnic tables within the park. Children can also have a great time swinging or simply running around the little playground.
Nearest City: About 4 miles from New Marlborough
Hiking & Other Activities: It’s a roadside waterfall that can be accessed easily from the parking lot.
The Wahconah Falls Brook flows along to feed several smaller cascades, finally ending in the 40-foot Wahconah Falls. The waterfall named after the Wahconah State Park, is frequented by many visitors. Though it flows all year long, it looks the best during spring, after the winter snow has just melted away. You can also spot many mushrooms on your way.
Nearest City: About 4 miles from Windsor
Hiking & Other Activities: The trail is easy and less than half a mile to the waterfall. Though swimming is a restricted activity, you can enjoy various other things like picnicking, fishing, or just relaxing in the shaded or designated picnic areas within the state park.
Tannery Falls is an 80-foot series of tall plunges and cascades that end in the shallow clear pool below. The best time to witness it in its most attractive form is from May through October. You can also bring your dogs along if leashed. If you want to enjoy some more time in the area, you can consider visiting Parker Brook Falls just a few yard away from the the Tannery falls.
Nearest City: About 7 miles from Savoy
Hiking & Other Activities: A loop trail of about 5 miles runs through the old-growth forest to reach the waterfall. It is a moderate trail with steep inclines. Also, in the rainy season, you will have to traverse through extremely muddy and slippery paths.
Located within Mt. Everett State Reservation, Race Brook Falls is one of the state’s tallest, plummeting from a height of 300 feet. Of the three tiers, only one is directly visible, as the other two need a steep hike for one to access them. There would be no exaggeration to compare the lush greenery and the splash of water cascading over rocks to the magnificent Hawaiian waterfalls. The lowermost falls drop to about 100 feet, and several hemlock trees surround it. The second fall drops from a steep ledge into a pool below.
Nearest City: About 5 miles from Sheffield
Hiking & Other Activities: A trail of about 1.5 miles leads to the waterfall. It is steep and rocky and consists of some creek crossings. You could hike along the Race Brook Trail lying above the Race Brook Falls, and then merge with the Appalachian Trail to get stunning views of the Mt. Race, and Mt. Everette summits.
Goldmine Brook Waterfall is one of the state’s hidden gems tucked away in the woods of Chester-Blandford State Park. For this reason, many know it as the Elusive Falls. Once you find it, you will surely be mesmerized by its appearance as it tumbles down 45 feet in plunges and horsetails. With two swimming pools at its base, you can enjoy a refreshing dip here. However, do keep in mind that the waters remain pretty cold even in summer.
Nearest City: About 11 miles from Chester
Hiking & Other Activities: Just a short walk will bring you to the waterfall. Various recreational activities available within the state park include fishing, hunting, mountain biking, snowmobiling, and cross-country skiing.
Within the Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, the Whiting River plummets 50 feet through a tight gorge to form Campbell Falls. It sits on the Massachusetts and Connecticut borders, making it easily accessible from both sides. The ideal time to view it is from April to November when it gushes in all its glory with lush forests all around. You can also enjoy plunging into the water.
Nearest City: About 6.5 miles from New Marlborough
Hiking & Other Activities: The 0.7 miles to the waterfall requires a short and easy hike. You can also explore the surrounding areas for additional scenic views.
Massachusetts’ tallest, Bash Bish Falls, plunges about 80 feet into a pool of emerald waters. Though swimming is not permissible due to the dangerous currents, you can get down to the rocks to admire the beauty. However, as it is a popular spot, expect a crowd here most of the times and do be careful of the slippery paths. Its location at the state’s southwest border makes it possible to access the Taconic State Park of the neighboring state of New York to enjoy additional fun-filled activities like swimming, picnicking, and even camping.
Nearest City: About 4 miles from Mount Washington
Hiking & Other Activities: You will find a short but rugged trail from the parking lot near Falls Road. It runs parallel to Bash Bish Brook before reaching the waterfall. If feeling adventurous, you can climb up the nearby Mount Everett to enjoy the panoramic views.
Doane’s Falls is a must-visit in Royalston, dropping from 175 feet in multiple cascades and plunges. Swimming or wading in the waters is strictly prohibited, but that does not dissuade people from visiting it. It boasts scenic beauty tumbling under a natural stone bridge to meet the Tully Lake within the preserve area. Don’t miss getting closer to its lower section to see the Lawrence Brook pour over a ledge to form a 20-foot block.
Nearest City: About 2 miles from Royalston
Hiking & Other Activities: The short trail is about 0.2 miles to the waterfall easily accessed by hikers of any skill level. Many hikers explore the 22-mile loop Tully Trail to enjoy a longer hike.
After visiting the Doane’s Falls, you can head to the Royalston Falls, a centerpiece within the same nature preserve area. Formed by the Falls Brook, it cascades over a rock ledge from 45 feet. It flows down into a cylindrical-shaped gorge which is indeed a stunning feature. If you wish to get a clear view of the waterfall and gorge, you will have to scramble some rocky sections to get down to the brook and wade upstream through the waters. After admiring it, don’t miss visiting the Spirit Falls to witness three waterfalls in a day.
Nearest City: About 4.5 miles from Royalston
Hiking & Other Activities: You can hike the Tully Trail for about 2.3 miles to reach the waterfall. It is a moderately difficult trail with many ups and downs and roots and rocks all along the way. Picnicking and nature-gazing are some sought-after activities here. You could also stay overnight at the nearby shelter, which is free and sleeps up to 12 people.
Bear’s Den Falls is one of the state’s smallest yet picturesque waterfalls within Bear’s Den Nature Preserve. Formed by the Middle Branch of the Swift River, it is a 12-foot drop separated into two cascades by a massive boulder before reaching the pool below. The waters then flow to meet the Quabbin Reservoir.
Nearest City: About 4 miles from New Salem
Hiking & Other Activities: The 0.4-mile trail starts from the parking lot at Neilson Road. It is easily accessible for hikers of all skill levels. You can also enjoy exploring the surrounding areas to witness the small dens and beautiful rock formations. Picnicking with your family here would also be ideal.
Chapel Brook Falls boasts picturesque beauty, surrounded by the towering Pony Mountain and dense forests. It consists of three cascades, forming a 45-foot waterfall gently sliding to the pool below. It is a favorite swimming spot for many during the hot months. You can further explore the area downstream to see other little cascades and pools formed along the Chapel Brook.
Nearest City: About 4 miles from Ashfield
Hiking & Other Activities: The moderate hike is about 2 miles away from the waterfall’s base. For a fun-filled adventure you can consider hiking up to the summit of Pony Mountain and then enjoy cooling off in the pool below.
Gunn Brook Falls consists of two sections, the upper and lower falls. While the upper falls plunge from a height of 15 feet, the lower one flows down separately from 12 feet. The moss-covered scenery with several shady spots makes it ideal for picnics. Don’t forget to visit Slatestone Brook Falls, just a mile away from here.
Nearest City: About 2.5 miles from Sunderland
Hiking & Other Activities: A short walk of 0.2 miles will take you to the waterfall. You can get to its base, but do be careful of the steep and slippery path.
Slatestone Brook Falls is a 40-foot waterfall within a private property but is easily visible from the road. The moss-covered surroundings and the Connecticut River provide a mesmerizing view. Don’t forget to bring your cameras to click some stunning photos.
Nearest City: About 2.5 miles from Sunderland
Hiking & Other Activities: Hiking is not required to view these roadside waterfalls.
Trap Falls is a family-friendly and picturesque waterfall nestled in Williard Brook State Park. It consists of three separate plunges, among which the highest has a 12-foot drop. The middle fall is higher than the remaining two resembling a punchbowl. When the flow is high, the three tiers mostly combine into two. You can enjoy splashing in the waters of the shallow pool below.
Nearest City: About 3 miles from Ashby
Hiking & Other Activities: A quick walk along the shady paths will lead you to the waterfall. Picnicking also would be ideal with tables and charcoal grills available at the spot.
Best Waterfalls for Hiking: Chapel Brook Falls, Royalston Falls, Tannery Falls
Best Waterfalls for Swimming: Goldmine Brook Falls, Chapel Brook Falls, Umpachene Falls,
Best Waterfalls for Camping: Bash Bish Falls,March Cataract Falls
Best Hidden Waterfalls: Goldmine Brook Falls, Tannery Falls, Wahconah Falls
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