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Some enthusiasts will find visiting waterfalls in winter to be a rewarding experience. Here are some groups of people who may benefit from a visit to a winter waterfall:
  • Solitude Seekers - solitude can almost be guaranteed during the winter at all but a few select waterfalls.
  • Ice-Climbers - there are a couple of waterfalls in northern New England that can provide optimum conditions for this growing thrill sport.
  • Nature Lovers - dramatic ice sculptures often cover the face of waterfalls.
  • Photographers - snap gorgeous photographs of waterfalls in snowy settings that are seldom-seen in winter.
  • Animal Trackers - follow the commonly-seen footprints of many animals that frequent trails near rivers and waterfalls.
  • X-C Skiers - some waterfalls make great winter destinations
  • Snowmobilers - a few waterfall located deep in the backcountry are easily accessed by snowmobilers.
Some waterfalls remain visible to visitors in winter, but many get obscured by thick ice and deep snow. Some of the rivers and streams freeze, while others do not. Some of the best falls to visit are the ones that keep flowing despite the deep cold. It is tough to predict how each waterfall is going to appear because it depends on the current conditions and usually how deep into winter we are. A waterfall may still be flowing and visible in early January, but completely covered in snow and ice by March.

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Trap Falls, Massachusetts in winter
(photo courtesy of Amanda Geist / Amanda Geist Photography)

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Safety is a major concern in the winter. Hundreds of waterfalls that may be totally safe to visit during the summer carry some potentially serious hazards in the winter. Snow may obscure access trails to some, which could cause someone to get lost. Some trails require some river crossings, which may be dangerously cold in winter or otherwise impossible to cross. Waterfall hunters need to be much more prepared in winter, and must carry proper clothing, gear and food. Snowshoes are almost always required during this season, along with gloves, hats and extra warm clothing. It is also a good idea to travel with a friend in case something goes wrong.

Photography presents quite a challenge in winter. You'll want to avoid sunny days as the white of the snow will wreck havoc on your photographs as the reflection is incredibly intense. A circular polarizer will help if you have a DSLR or SLR, but only to a point. Just like during the summer, the best days for waterfall photography are the completely overcast days. As a tip, try wearing brightly-colored clothing if you plan to take photograph sof yourself with winter waterfalls-it will add zest to photographs.

Although I have not personally visited many of these waterfalls during the winter season, here are my best guesses for the top choices for waterfalls in winter. Each of these should be relatively safe to visit in winter, but of course I cannot promise your personal safety - that's always your responsibility.

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Bash Bish Falls, Massachusetts in winter
(photo courtesy of Colleen Nowobilski)

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Here are some of the finest and most acessible New England waterfalls in winter:

  • Chapman Falls - should be very short walk (assuming that the park road is open in winter)
  • Kent Falls - lower section of the falls is clearly visible from roadside
  • Wadsworth Big Falls - very short walk, but a descent of several stairs is required (the stairs may be icy)


If you have any questions about visiting these waterfalls or any others on this website during the winter season, please contact me via email and I will try to provide the most up-to-date information and trail conditions. I should also be able to tell you the degree of difficulty involved in reaching a particular waterfall in winter (some are just as easy as summer and some are near impossible), and perhaps what the falls may look like as well.

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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 wary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!

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