This chapter describes four waterfalls fed by two mountain streams that drain waters from Mount Adams and Mountain Madison. Gordon Fall is the first stop on the 2.6 mile loop. A fanning 18-foot low-angle cascade, Gordon Fall is a well-shaded treat just downstream from where the Maple Walk meets Snyder Brook. There are several shallow pools for wading here.
The next waterfall of your journey is Salroc Falls, a two-part waterfall. Lower Salroc Falls consists of many small cascades, a long slide, and, finally, a short plunge into a large, cold and clear pool. Upper Salroc Falls is a few feet upstream. Here, Snyder Brook horsetails down moss-covered rocks and then slides down into a calm pool. Be sure to rock-hop across the brook to the table rock in front of the falls for the best view of the falls and the greatest chance for a fine photograph.
Tama Falls, the third waterfall of the trip, is just upstream from Salroc Falls. The final fall on Snyder Brook to be described here, Tama Falls is a 40-foot tall combination of a block and a set of steep cascades. The view from the trail is not sufficient for this waterfall. Be sure to follow one of several paths down the riverbank to the brook. From here, you witness a much more visually appealing waterfall, and as an added bonus, very often you can find yourself hidden from the crowded trail above.
Cold Brook Falls marks the last stop of the hike, yet is the first and only waterfall of Cold Brook on this trip. Cold Brook crashes down a wide terraced wall 30 feet tall into a dark pool. Although there are several modest swimming holes at the other falls of this trip, swimming is prohibited at Cold Brook Falls, as the water is Randolph’s water supply.
In addition to Gordon, Salroc, Tama, and Cold Brook Falls, over half of a dozen other waterfalls can be found further up the trails that travel parallel to Cold Brook and Snyder Brook on the way to Mount Madison and Mount Adams. Although these are not described in this guide, many of these falls are quite impressive and provide excellent challenges for experienced hikers. For those interested, this route is described more comprehensively in Bolnick’s Waterfalls of the White Mountains. Waterfalls to be found higher on the mountainside include Canyon Fall, Duck Fall, Chandler Fall, Marian Fall, Spur Brook Fall, Mossy Fall, Salmacis Fall and Thornike Fall. Some of these are lost waterfalls in that they are seldom visited and currently require bushwhacks of varying degrees of difficulty.
The trail begins at the center of the large parking lot for “Appalachia”. Follow the path beyond the trail information boards, cross the remnants of a set of railroad tracks, and arrive at the Air Line junction. The Air Line Trail will continue right, but you must continue straight onto Valley Way for a short distance until you reach a sign for the “Maple Walk.” At this junction, the Valley Way Trail forks right and the Maple Walk forks left. Veer left and continue along the Maple Walk until you reach Snyder Brook and several trail signs.
To reach Gordon Falls, you will need to proceed downstream 100 feet where the falls are marked with a small white sign. After visiting Gordon Falls, backtrack 100 feet upstream to the junction you were just at. From here, proceed upstream on the Fallsway Trail, which is marked with a sign stating “Fallsway towards Tama Fall.” Marked yellow, the Fallsway Trail will lead you 0.25 mile to Lower and Upper Salroc Falls (both of which are marked with small signs). After passing Upper Salroc Falls, continue climbing along the Fallsway for about 200 feet and you will reach another junction. Turn left uphill on Valley Way and in less than 100 feet fork left onto the Tama Fall Loop and Tama Falls will be a short distance ahead not marked by a sign.
After visiting Tama Fall, return back the junction you were just at and this time, fork left onto the Valley Way Trail. The right fork will lead you back to Salroc and Gordon Falls. Travel along the blue-blazed Valley Way Trail for 0.3 mile and take a left onto the Sylvan Way. The sign for this trail is currently placed on a tree behind you, so be sure to stop at each trail junction to spot the inconspicuous trail signs. Continue on the yellow-blazed Sylvan Way, crossing two very skinny brooks and hiking straight through two irrelevant trail junctions. Soon, you will reach Cold Brook and the last waterfall of the trip will be just to your left, a few feet upstream.
To get back to the parking lot from Cold Brook Falls, follow the yellow-blazed trail directly downstream (do not cross Cold Brook at any time). In a few seconds you will reach an interestingly constructed half wooden, half stone bridge on your left. Instead of crossing the bridge, take a right turn onto the Amphibrach Trail. This trail will parallel the highway, which you will only be able to hear but not see. Be sure to stay on the yellow blazed Amphibrach trail as there are some private property trails that merge on this section of the trail. If you follow the white signs and arrows pointing the way you are sure to keep to the correct path. After a 15 minute trek along the Amphibrach Trail, you will reach a T junction. Take a left and a minute later take another left onto the Valley Way Trail. The parking lot is just ahead and the 2.6 mile loop will be completed.
Directions for this particular waterfall are not posted online. Please see directions in our published guidebook, New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades And Waterfalls, or you can email us and we will happily provide them to you. When requesting directions via email, please remember to specify which particular waterfall(s) you are looking for directions to.
SPECIAL NOTES / UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION:
The trails used to visit the four waterfalls of Appalachia are located in one of the most complex and confusing trail networks we have found in our travels. For this reason, we urge you to purchase the AMC White Mountain Guide (28th edition), which contains an excellent trail map for this area.