KNIFE SHOP FALLS
||4.0 / 5.0 stars (Excellent)
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
||Humaston Brook State Park
||Plunges, horsetails, and cascades
||Upper falls are 12 feet; middle falls are 15 feet; lower falls are 10 feet
||0.1 mile one-way to visit all three falls
||Easy side of moderate
||5 minutes one-way to visit all three falls
||-50 feet to visit all three falls
|WHEN TO VISIT:
||April to November
||Upper Falls: Good
Middle Falls: Not Possible
Lower Falls: Good
||2007: Page 42, J-3 (the falls are not marked on the CT atlas)
|COST TO VISIT:
||Free (as of 2016)
|LENS TO BRING:
||Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
|| Upper Falls: 41.698333, -73.10300
Middle Falls: 41.698333, -73.102500
Lower Falls: 41.698333, -73.101667
||Upper Falls: 60° excluding declination (the falls face east)
Middle Falls: 100° excluding declination (the falls face northeast)
Lower Falls: 30° excluding declination (the falls face southeast)
|INCLUDED IN BOOK?:
||No, the falls are not currently included within the guidebook
There are some waterfalls that undoubtedly should have made the first and second editions of the guidebook, had their existence actually been known to the authors at the time. It turns out there are three falls to be discovered here, each differing widely in character from the rest. The upper falls is a stunning 12-foot plunge over exposed bedrock into a pool that is likely swimmable. Below the falls, the brook takes a 90-degree turn, cascades softly for 100 feet and then horsetails down the 15-foot middle falls. Remarkably, the brook turns nearly 90 degrees again, before heading a short distance downstream and plunging over the 10-foot lower falls into a deep gorge.
All three of the falls are located in one of the southern segments of Humaston Brook State Park, which is one of many undeveloped state parks in Connecticut.
From the parking area beside the reservoir, walk back towards Knife Shop Rd, heading downstream of the dam. Once you are about 100 feet from the parking area, take a right onto a rough path that enters the woods and you'll soon be rewarded with views of the middle and upper falls. To reach a view of the lower falls, return back to Knife Shop Rd, walk 100 feet further down the road and follow a different path on the right that starts 25 feet after a road guardrail begins. Reaching the base of the lower falls is treacherous and not recommended.
From CT-8 in Thomaston, take exit 39. Follow US-6 west for 0.8 mile, bearing left to drive through downtown Thomaston, and take a right onto CT 254 north (Northfield Rd). Follow CT 254 north for 2.5 miles and turn right at a traffic light onto the northwestern end of Knife Shop Rd (which is a loop road that connects with CT 254 twice). Follow Knife Shop Rd for 0.2 mile and turn left onto Newton Rd. Park in the grassy area on your left next to the reservoir that is just above a small dam.
To get to Thomaston, take US-6 west from Hartford or CT 8 north from Waterbury.
UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION
If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates
the upper falls of Knife Shop Falls, Connecticut
the middle falls of Knife Shop Falls, Connecticut
the upper falls of Knife Shop Falls, Connecticut
the lower falls of Knife Shop Falls, Connecticut
INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?
TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES
Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
- DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
- CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
- LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
- PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
- BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
- SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
- CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
- PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
- DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
- WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
- HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
- DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
- WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
- SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.
Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
- Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
- Waterfalls of Maine = link
- Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
- Waterfalls of Vermont = link
- Best Waterfalls in New England = link
- Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
- Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
- Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
- Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
- Waterfall Photography Tips = link
OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS
In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
- Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
- Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
- Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
WATERFALLS ON FACEBOOK
Join the growing communities of waterfall aficionados on Facebook! You can share your photographs, follow the adventures of other waterfall hunters, and find new places to explore:
- Request to join the "New England Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "New Hampshire Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Waterfalls of the United States" community > link
And if you'd like to follow the New England Waterfalls page on Facebook, click here.
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