Poplar Stream Falls is located in Carrabassett Valley, a town famous for its ski resort, Sugarloaf USA. The falls lie a few miles east of resort, accessible by either a short and uneventful hike or a long and enjoyable one. The falls can be accessed by mountain bicycles or hiking in summer and cross-country skis or snowshoes in winter.
There are two drops here, each on a different water source. One set of falls, a 24-foot horsetail with a swimming pool below, is on Poplar Stream, just below a bridge on a private dirt road owned by the Penobscot Indian Nation. The other falls is a 51-foot horsetail on South Brook. These falls fan beautifully down a steep rock face into a wide sunny pool. These two streams merge only 0.1 mile downstream of each of the falls.
Once difficult to find, these falls are now easily accessible by the newly constructed Poplar Stream Falls Hut and its related trail network. This welcoming hut, which offers backcountry accommodations, hot meals and hot showers year-round, is part of the grand vision of the Maine Huts and Trails? organization. They hope to create a system of 12 ?rustic, yet comfortable? backcountry huts stretching across 180-miles of trail from Bethel to Moosehead Lake. Two huts are already in service, and a third (Grand Falls Hut) is slated to begin construction in 2010.
Although you can reach these falls more easily by the private dirt road, we highly recommend using the trailhead on Gauge Rd to create a memorable loop by visiting many of the new trails, both set of falls, and the fantastic Poplar Stream Falls Hut.
Trail information for this particular waterfall is not posted online. Please see trail information in our published guidebook, New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades And Waterfalls.
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.
SPECIAL NOTES / UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION:
There is an easier and shorter way to reach these two waterfalls. Instead of taking a right onto Gauge Rd, continue 1.8 miles further down Carriage Rd (assuming the access gate is open, as it often is) and take a right onto an unmarked road. Follow this bumpy dirt road for 0.2 miles to a parking area on the right just before the road curves left and crosses a bridge over Poplar Stream. The 24-foot horsetail waterfall described above is located just below this bridge.
To reach the more impressive waterfall on South Brook, find the blue-blazed trail that runs parallel to Poplar Stream and hike along it with the river on your right. Follow this trail for 0.1 mile and you will reach a T-junction. A left would direct you towards the Poplar Stream Falls Hut. Instead, take a right to descend a lengthy rock staircase and the 45-foot falls will be presented to you on your left.