FALLS ON THE OVERBROOK TRAIL


Lenox, Massachusetts



RATING: 2.0 / 5.0 stars (Good) Falls On The Overbrook Trail, Massachusetts (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Massachusetts
COUNTY: Berkshire
TOWN: Lenox
PARK: Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No
TYPE: Horsetails and cascades
HEIGHT: Tallest cascade is 15 feet
WATER SOURCE: Unnamed stream
WATERSHED SIZE: Very low
TRAIL LENGTH: 0.8 mile one-way to the uppermost falls
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Moderate side of difficult
HIKING TIME: 45 minutes one-way
ALTITUDE GAIN: Up 450 feet, down 40 feet to uppermost falls
WHEN TO VISIT: April to May
SWIMMING: Not Possible and/or Prohibited
DELORME ATLAS: Page 32, G-8 (the falls are not marked on the MA atlas/map)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: Not allowed / prohibited
COST TO VISIT: Yes (a per-person fee is charged ($5 in 2017); free for Mass Audubon members and Lenox town residents)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: Overbrook Trail Falls, Cascades On The Overbrook Trail
GPS-TRAILHEAD: 42°22.94, -73°17.95
GPS-WATERFALL: Upper falls: 42°23.40, -73°18.32
COMPASS: 10 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

These waterfalls have no official name. A published guidebook referred to these as the Cascades Along the Overbrook Trail, but they are technically a variety of waterfall types instead of just cascades, so I have elected to call them the Falls on the Overbrook Trail.

The falls are located on the grounds of one of the Mass Audubon's premier properties. The trails benefit from the same exquisitely-maintained grounds and trails that the organization in known for. There are several cascades and waterfalls found along the Overbrook Trail, and each needs a high volume of water to be attention-worthy. The premier falls is a 15-foot curtain of water over the mossiest rock wall I have ever seen in New England. The elevation is so high at this point in the trail that water flow is almost always a trickle. Try to visit in mid-to-late April for the best show.

To make the most of your visit to the sanctuary, consider making your trip a loop by hiking up the (very steep) Trail of the Ledges and returning via the Overbrook Trail. This is a challenging but rewarding 3.0-mile loop hike with about 850 feet of elevation gain and loss. This loop offers fine views from Lenox Mountain in addition to the falls, although the firetower seen along the route is fenced-off and not open to the public. For more information on this wonderful conservation property, visit their official website: link

TRAIL INFORMATION

From the parking area, cross the dirt road and check in at the visitor center. After paying the day-use fee ($5 for non-members in 2017), take a right after exiting the center and follow the Bluebird Path northwest for 0.4 mile across a field, past an array of solar panels, and down into the woods. When you reach a junction with the Ovenbird Trail after 0.3 mile, bear left onto that trail and continue 300 feet to its junction with the Overbrook Trail. Take a left onto the Overbrook Trail and continue climbing at a moderate incline. After hiking the Overbrook Trail for 0.3 miles, you will reach the lowermost falls as the trail crosses the brook directly below it. Keep climbing along the trail with the brook on your right for an additional 0.2 miles to view the middle falls and the pretty and moss-covered upper falls. The upper falls may be close to dry depending upon current water conditions.

Take note that all trails that lead away from the visitor center are blazed blue and all trails that lead back are blazed yellow. This is a rather unique trail marking strategy and not one that I think I've ever seen. I suppose it could be helpful if you ever found yourself lost on the mountain without a trail map.

DIRECTIONS

From Pittsfield, take the combined highway US-7 south and MA 20 east. Continue traveling on US-7 south and MA 20 east for 1.8 miles past the "Entering Lenox" town line sign (which is on the opposite side of the road) and take a right onto West Dugway Rd (Note: West Dugway Rd is 0.6 mile north of the junction of US-7, MA 20, and MA 7A in Lenox). Travel on West Dugway Rd for 0.7 mile and you will reach a fork. Take the left fork onto West Mountain Rd and continue for 0.8 miles, at which point you will reach the visitor parking area for the Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.

The trails within the sanctuary are open from dawn to dusk, 365 days a year, but the visitor center has limited hours and is closed on Mondays in winter. The parking area is on West Mountain Road and so you don't have to worry about any gates or parking areas being roped off.

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

There are seven miles of trails within the sanctuary. The visitor center has maps and can answer any questions you have about any of its trails.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Falls On The Overbrook Trail, Massachusetts
Falls On The Overbrook Trail, Massachusetts

Falls On The Overbrook Trail, Massachusetts
Falls On The Overbrook Trail, Massachusetts

INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?

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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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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!