As you will begin to observe while sampling the waterfalls in this
region, each New England state has its own unique
beauties. A wide variety of experiences can be had as you move from
state to state. As you will see below, the waterfalls of each state
offer the enthusiast great variety in hiking terrain, geological
structure, biological environments, and water characteristics.
WATERFALLS IN CONNECTICUT
mountainous topography tends to result in more seasonal falls. To ensure a flowing waterfall, it is best to plan your visit
before the dry spells of summer. The months of March, April and May are
your best bets.
Approximately half the
Connecticut waterfalls described in this guide are under the protection
of the state park system or other nonprofit organizations, such as The
Nature Conservancy. As a result, these waterfalls are often located in
parks that also have picnic facilities, complete with picnic tables, bbq
grills, bathrooms, and ample parking. The enforcement of state park
rules and regulations has kept most areas well protected and very clean.
WATERFALLS IN MAINE
Large sections of Maine
remain relatively undeveloped. Vast expanses of wilderness can be found
throughout the state, especially in the northern half. These
wildernesses harbor dozens or even hundreds of remote waterfalls yet to
be publicly documented or even discovered. The best chance for
discovering your own private New England waterfall has to be in the
state of Maine. Wildlife sightings are also more common in this state
because of the lack of development.
Expect long backcountry
roads when reaching some of the trailheads in this state. Low-clearance
vehicles may not be able to access the formal trailhead parking areas.
Make sure to carefully read the driving directions before beginning
any trip. Some waterfalls do not even have a trailhead; more than a
dozen popular waterfalls in Maine are accessible only by canoe. These
waterfalls were largely omitted from this guide, but we still recommend
visiting them if you enjoy lengthy canoe, kayaking, or whitewater
Maine may be the
northernmost state of New England, but its swimming holes can still
manage to warm to tolerable temperatures with the sun’s rays in summer.
Some of these swimming spots are very popular, both with local residents
and among visitors from other states.
Some waterfalls require
you to pay entrance fees. Public reserved lands, such as the KI Jo-Mary
Multiple Use Forest, require a modest entrance fee. Baxter State Park,
the home of Mount Katahdin and dozens of scenic waterfalls, also
requires a fee for out-of-state residents.
WATERFALLS IN MASSACHUSETTS
are few and far between in Massachusetts, making it difficult to visit
more than two or three in a day. The Berkshire region, where the bulk of
waterfalls in this state can be found, is your
optimal location for visiting multiple waterfalls in a day.
You will find very few
waterfalls in this state with swimming holes below them. Also most
waterfalls are either located within the state park system or managed by
an organization. The Trustees of Reservation, a nonprofit group
dedicated to “preserving the Massachusetts landscape,” has made a great
effort to preserve several waterfall sites. They have succeeded well in
WATERFALLS IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
It is no surprise that
the majority of waterfalls in New Hampshire are found in or near the
White Mountain National Forest. The high peaks of the White Mountains
create hundreds of permanent and seasonal waterfalls. Within the last
decade the White Mountain National Forest adopted a per-car fee for many
of the trailhead parking lots. This fee, $3 in 2009 (but is under review
to be increased to $5) is used for maintenance of trails and roads, as
well as related expenses. Other waterfalls in this region have become
commercialized and are more costly to visit.
Most of this guide’s
longest and challenging hikes with the greatest elevation gains are
found in New Hampshire. Unlike other states, many trips to waterfalls in
New Hampshire can be extended by continuing farther on the trail to
mountain summits, remote ponds and lakes, wilderness areas, and some of
the finest scenic vistas in New England.
New Hampshire also offers
backpacking opportunities to camp adjacent to waterfalls. The state also
offers some of the coldest waterfall swimming holes, colorful foliage,
and some of the tallest waterfalls in New England.
WATERFALLS IN RHODE ISLAND
Rhode Island is not
gifted with waterfalls like the other states. Our research indicates
that Rhode Island only has one natural waterfall worthy of your
attention. Perhaps there is still a natural waterfall or two to be
discovered which may end up in future editions of this guide.
WATERFALLS IN VERMONT
Avid hikers looking for
long-distance hikes may be left somewhat unsatisfied with the waterfall
trips in Vermont; the majority of falls are roadside attractions or
require hikes of less than 0.5 mile. The waterfalls in this state are
most likely to please swimmers and those who are unable to hike long
Many of Vermont’s
waterfalls have been partially altered or diminished altogether by dams
created through hydroelectric projects and power stations. As a result,
locals are actively protective of the waterfalls left in their natural
state. The Vermont River Conservancy is one organization fighting to
purchase and protect the lands that waterfalls are found on. They have
succeeded in doing so on several projects so far and need our continued
Vermont is home to the
finest swimming holes known among New England’s waterfalls. Warm,
refreshing, and clean, the swimming holes naturally attract a slew of
visitors during summer months. The translucent emerald-green color, so
familiar in tropical waters, creates lovely pools. Some even argue that
Vermont has the greatest swimming holes in the entire nation! Always
carry a bathing suit and towel; you will surely need them.
GUIDEBOOKS TO GET YOU THERE
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