BIG & LITTLE NIAGARA FALLS


T3 R10 WELS, Maine



RATING: 4.0 / 5.0 stars (Excellent) Big & Little Niagara Falls, Maine (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Maine
COUNTY: Piscataquis
TOWN: T3 R10 WELS
PARK: Baxter State Park
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No
TYPE: Cascades and slides
HEIGHT: Both falls drop 20 feet
WATER SOURCE: Nesowadnehunk Stream
WATERSHED SIZE: Large
TRAIL LENGTH: 0.9 mile one-way to Little Falls; 1.2 miles one-way to both falls
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Easy side of moderate
HIKING TIME: 30 minutes one-way to Little Falls; 45 minutes one-way to both falls
ALTITUDE GAIN: Down 100 feet to Little Falls; down 175 feet to both falls
WHEN TO VISIT: Late-May to early-October
SWIMMING: Big falls: Not Possible
Little falls: Great
DELORME ATLAS: Page 50, D-4 (the falls are not marked on the ME atlas/map)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: No (they are prohibited from the entire state park)
COST TO VISIT: Yes (a per-vehicle fee is charged; bring cash)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: None noted
GPS-TRAILHEAD: 45°52.94, -69°01.91
GPS-WATERFALL: Big falls: 45°52.16, -69°02.24
Little falls: 45°52.34, -69°02.36
COMPASS: Big falls: 355 degrees
Little falls: 320 degrees
(when N on the compass is pointed towards the falls)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: No, the falls are not currently included within the guidebook
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THE FALLS

Coming soon...

On my last visit in August of 2017, the pool below Little Niagara Falls looked enticing for a swim, but there was a little bit of a foul smell to the area.

The Daicey Pond area is one of the most scenic areas of the whole state park. While visiting this area, you are highly encouraged to walk 250 feet further up the road from the parking area to see the wonderous views offered from the shoreline of the pond. There is little doubt in my mind that this is one of the finest easily-attainable views in the park. You should also consider hiking the 1.8 mile Nature Trail around Daicey Pond too.

TRAIL INFORMATION

The trail to both falls starts directly in front of the day use parking area. Follow the white-blazed Appalachian Trail south. The first 0.2 mile of the hike is a bit rough and there are several bog bridges in that place that can be slippery. After hiking for 0.2 mile, turn right at a 4-way junction with the Daicey Pond Nature Trail. The Appalachian Trail is generally easier from this point on all the way down to the spur trails that leads to both falls.

When you are 0.8 mile from the trailhead, a spur trail will head right for 150 feet to visit where the Toll Dam once stood. There isn't much for waterfalls here, but it's a pretty spot regardless.

Continue along the Appalachian Trail for only 75 feet south of the spur trail to the Toll Dam and you will reach another 150-foot spur trail that leads right over towards Little Niagara Falls. The easiest way to get down to the base of the little falls is to scramble along the rock ledges on the edge of the woods. You can bushwhack through the woods as well, but it's much longer and difficult.

To reach Big Niagara Falls, continue south along the Appalachian Trail for 0.3 mile further and turn right onto yet another spur trail that leads 150 feet over to those falls. This spur trail is 1.2 miles from the trailhead, and it is full of roots and requires some careful balancing. Views of Big Niagara Falls are limited to the side and top of the falls. An unofficial, steep, and rough path does lead to the base of the big falls, but huge rocks block most of the view so it's not worth it. The view from the broad ledges at the top of the big falls is wide open and provides great views looking upstream and downstream.

DIRECTIONS

From Bangor, take I-95 north to exit 244. Take a left onto ME 157 west, traveling towards Millinocket. Continue traveling on ME 157 west past the center of the town of Millinocket. When you reach the junction of ME 157 and ME 11 south, take a right onto Katahdin Ave. Drive 0.1 mile north on Katahdin Ave and turn left onto Bates St, which will automatically convert into Millinocket Ave and, later, Baxter Park Rd. Drive north on Bates St / Millinocket Ave / Baxter Park Rd for 14.9 miles and you will reach a fork with Old State Rd (also called the Abol Cutover). Fork right and continue 1.8 miles further to the entrance gate of Baxter State Park. Register with the gate attendent, pay any access fee that is due, and then fork left immediately after the gate. Follow the main Baxter State Park road west for 10.1 miles and turn left onto the road that leads towards Daicey Pond. Drive 1.3 miles south along this road and park at the day use parking area on the right, which is about 250 feet before the campground and cabins at Daicey Pond.

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

Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine
Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine

Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine
Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine

Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine
Big Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine

Big & Little Niagara Falls, Maine
the view from Little Niagara Falls looking upstream

Big & Little Niagara Falls, Maine
the view from Little Niagara Falls looking upstream

Little Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine
Little Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine

Little Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine
Little Niagara Falls, Baxter State Park, Maine

Big & Little Niagara Falls, Maine
Appalachian Trail sign at the start of the hike

Big & Little Niagara Falls, Maine
nearby Daicey Pond (less than 0.1 mile from the trailhead for Big & Little Niagara Falls)

Little Niagara Falls, Maine
the view from Little Niagara Falls looking upstream

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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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:

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  • 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

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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!