DEER HILL FALLS


Williamstown, Massachusetts



RATING: 2.5 / 5.0 stars (Good) Deer Hill Falls, Massachusetts
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Massachusetts
COUNTY: Berkshire
TOWN: Williamstown
PARK: Mt. Greylock State Reservation
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No
TYPE: Horsetail
HEIGHT: 60-foot total drop
WATER SOURCE: Roaring Brook
WATERSHED SIZE: Very low
TRAIL LENGTH: 1.1 miles one-way to Deer Hill Falls; 3.8 miles round-trip to visit both Deer Hill Falls & March Cataract Falls
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Moderate side of difficult
HIKING TIME: 40 minutes one-way
ALTITUDE GAIN: -350 feet
WHEN TO VISIT: Late May to June
SWIMMING: Not Possible and/or Prohibited
DELORME ATLAS: Page 20, H-14 (the falls are not marked on the MA atlas/map)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes (must bring proof of rabies vaccination)
COST TO VISIT: Free to visit the falls (as of 2017), but a fee is charged if you wish to visit the summit of Mt. Greylock via the auto road ($5/vehicle for MA residents and $10/vehicle for non-MA residents as of July 2017; bring cash)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: None noted
GPS-TRAILHEAD: 42°37.46, -73°11.43
GPS-WATERFALL: 42°37.87, -73°11.55
COMPASS: 290 degrees (when N on the compass is pointed towards the falls)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included within the appendix of the guidebook
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THE FALLS

Deer Hill Falls is one of several highly seasonal, low-volume waterfalls found in Mt. Greylock State Reservation. I've been to these falls four or five times, and they usually look like a thousand dripping faucets. From March through May, the falls are much more substantial, showing off full curtains of whitewater.

Spring runoff provides the optimal time to view the falls in their finest form. This presents a challenge, however, as the state park road to the trailhead is typically opened to vehicles in late-May. If you have the flexibility, try to visit as soon as the state park opens the auto road.

For those looking to do some remote camping, you can backpack into Sperry Campground, which lies between Deer Hill Falls and March Cataract Falls. Refer to the Mt. Greylock State Reservation website for more information on this excellent camping opportunity.

TRAIL INFORMATION

Most hikers who visit Deer Hill Falls also supplement their hike by visiting nearby March Cataract Falls. From the parking area on Rockwell Road, cross the road and continue on foot down Sperry Rd for 0.6 miles until you reach a small ranger station and a fork in the road.

To reach March Cataract Falls, you would want to fork right and follow signs 0.8 mile to those falls.

To reach Deer Hill Falls, take the left fork. In 200 feet, take a left and walk past a few campsites and pit toilets, all the while following signs towards the Deer Hill Trail. After walking a few hundred feet, bear right onto the blue-blazed Deer Hill Trail and cross a wooden bridge. In 40 feet, you need to fork right at the next junction and continue hiking for about 0.2 mile. You will then reach another fork. Fork left and follow the Deer Hill Trail as it descends steeply and with rough footing down to the base of the falls. Exploration around the base of the falls is limited due to unstable shale rock. Starting from the campground on Sperry Rd, there are signs at all significant trail junctions to help guide you in the right direction towards the falls.

DIRECTIONS

From Pittsfield, take US-7 north. Continue traveling along US-7 north for 3.1 miles past the “Entering Lanesborough" town line sign and take a right onto North Main St. Follow North Main St for 0.7 mile and bear right at a fork onto Rockwell Rd, marked only by a sign for “State Reservation.” Follow Rockwell Rd towards the summit of Mt. Greylock for 6.6 miles (bearing left after 0.4 mile to stay on this road) and park at the Sperry Road Trailhead on the right, directly across from the start of Sperry Road. Sperry Road is 2.3 miles south of the summit parking area for Mt. Greylock and it is closed to unauthorized vehicles.

You can also approach the Sperry Road trailhead from North Adams by taking Notch Road south from MA 2. When you reach a junction with a spur road that leads to the summit of Mt. Greylock, turn right and continue south on Rockwell Rd as it descends for 1.5 miles to the Sperry Road Trailhead on the left.

Take note that the Sperry Road Trailhead is for day-use only. If your plan is to backpack into the Sperry Campground near the falls, you will need to park at a separate trailhead that is 0.7 mile south of the Sperry Road Trailhead. From that trailhead, which is also on Rockwell Rd, you can follow a series of trails to the campground instead of simply just walking down Sperry Road.

UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION

NONE NOTED.

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 gparsons66@hotmail.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

OPTIONAL HIKES

None noted.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Deer Hill Falls, Massachusetts
Deer Hill Falls, Massachusetts

Deer Hill Falls, Massachusetts
Deer Hill Falls, Massachusetts

INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?

Our 376-page New England Waterfalls: 2nd Edition guidebook contains detailed information on over 400 waterfalls throughout New England. Click on the image below to read reviews and/or purchase the guidebook on Amazon.com.



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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.

HELPFUL LINKS

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
       

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  • Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be weary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Newenglandwaterfalls.com and the authors of the New England Waterfalls guidebook will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!