With spring passing us by, and summer rapidly approaching, it’s a perfect time to visit Massachusetts’ waterfalls. The high water, caused by spring showers and the warming daily temperatures, makes for great conditions to view these spectacular sights.
Massachusetts is home to numerous waterfalls, but several of these falls stand out as must-see locations for any Massachusetts visitor.
Bash Bish Falls is located in the Bash Bish Falls State Park in Mount Washington. Widely viewed as the state’s most dramatic waterfall, Bash Bish Falls boast an 80 ft. plunge from the Bash Bish Brook. The view is splendid, and the opportunity for hiking and recreation make this location a must-see.
Due to the popularity of this spot, there may be a crowd at the falls during nice weather. Swimming is prohibited at this location due to the deep, strong current, and there are no restroom facilities. Any trash should be carried out. While the downhill hike is moderately easy, the uphill hike back to the parking lot is a bit more challenging (an approximate 300 ft. gain in elevation in a half mile). While you should plan to set aside 30 minutes for hiking at this location, it is certainly worth it.
Campbell Falls is located in the Campbell Falls State Park in New Marlborough. The park extends into Connecticut, but the falls are located in Berkshire County. To go directly to the falls without visiting the rest of the park, take the unpaved Campbell Falls Road. Keep an eye out for a chain link fence and small parking area, as here is where you will find the trailhead. Campbell Falls displays a 50 ft. plunge and cascade waterfall from the Whitney River. The raw power of this fall is a spectacular site as visitors are able to safely get quite close to the falls. The water plunges through a tight gorge, then zigzags to a lower portion that cascades several feet. The hike in and out is a breeze; approximately 15 minutes total. Within minutes you can get from your vehicle to the falls and hardly break a sweat in the process.
Race Brook Falls are located in the Mount Everett State Reservation in Sheffield. The most remarkable aspect of this location is that five unique waterfalls can be visited along the Race Brook, so visitors will get great value for their time.
The first fall is located a little over half a mile from the parking lot, and displays an approximate 100 ft. drop within a hemlock grove.
For the brave hiker, visitors to the second fall are able to wade across the brook and lean against the near vertical 30 ft. wall of water as it cascades down – a wonderful way to get cool on even the hottest summer day.
The third and fourth falls consist of interesting cascades, horsetails, and plunges; during the spring season, the third fall can be a bit difficult to reach due to mud. The fourth fall is a 60 ft. set of horsetails – a wonderful sight during higher water.
The fifth and last fall is the least impressive and the most difficult to access, with a 15 ft. drop that requires a bit of bushwhacking to access, and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. If visitors wish to visit each of the five falls in a single trip, the hike would be approximately 3.5 miles.
One last Massachusetts’ waterfall that bears mentioning is Tannery Falls, which is located in the Savoy Mountain State Forest in Savoy. Unfortunately, storm damage has closed roads off Route 2 that provide access to the falls. Visitors can attempt access to the falls through the park’s unpaved roads, however many of these are in poor condition and should only be attempted with a rugged 4×4 vehicle with high ground clearance. A trip to Tannery Falls may not be possible for everyone this season due to these conditions, but once the roads open back up, the falls are certainly worth visiting. Impressive in even low water, these falls have an 80 ft. plunge and horsetail. A few feet away is another fall, Parker Brook Falls, which flows through a tight gorge.
Always remember to watch your step when hiking in and around waterfalls, the constant water spray can make for slippery rocks and difficult footing. It is always best to hike with at least one other person, and always carry a first aid kit and method of navigation.
Now that you know where the waterfalls can be found, make sure the camera batteries are charged, and get out there and enjoy what the State has to offer!
Benjamin Libbey is a blogger and avid outdoor enthusiast. Born and raised in Western Massachusetts, Ben’s lifelong hobbies include hiking, fishing, and canoeing. Outside of his day job, Ben can be found on the mountains and rivers of New England; seeking both adventure and tranquility in the great outdoors. You can check out his blog, Outdoors Ben, and also find him on Facebook and Twitter @Outdoorsben.