Screw Auger Falls #1
Overview: A popular roadside waterfall in Western Maine. Location: Grafton Notch State Park Stream : Bear River Height : 20 feet (estimated) Finding : Easy. Well marked. Access : Easy. Short walk from roadside parking area. Swimming: Not really. You might be able to splash around in the stream some. Basking : Lots of excellent spots. Also there is an adjacent picnic area. Legal : State park. Public access. Entrance fee: $1.00 per person over 12.
There is another Screw Auger Falls in Maine. It is located in Central Maine in Gulf Hagas.
From the South
Turn north onto Maine route 26 from US route 2 in Newry (0.0mi/0.0km). Screw Auger Falls is located right along route 26 on the west side of the road inside Grafton Notch State Park. At 9.7mi/15.5km you come to a very well marked turn off for the falls. There is a sizable parking area there, an picnic spot, and other facilities.
Screw Auger Falls is a popular waterfall. If the weather is good and the season is right, expect to find plenty of other people there. These falls might make a good family outing. After picnic in the woods beside the stream everyone could make the short walk alongside the stream to the falls themselves. On a hot day, there are plenty of places where you could splash your feet in the water.
Above the falls, the rocks are smooth and very sculpted. In this regard, these falls resemble the nearby Step Falls. There are many smooth, open rocks on which you can sit and enjoy the water. Downstream a bit from the parking area, the Bear River pours dramatically into a deep, narrow ravine. The sides of the ravine are sheer. The state of Maine has erected fencing to protect the unwary from falling. I never like fences of this sort around a waterfall, but considering the popularity of the spot, it's easy access, and the sudden fall into the ravine, I think it is understandable in this case.
The falls are not exceptionally high, but they do drop cleanly a good 15 feet and maybe more. The river surges through the narrow ravine a few dozen feet before opening out again. The falls and the ravine into which they flow are not really very extensive.
It isn't really possible to get down below the falls -- at least it wouldn't be easy to do so. The fences prevent the obvious approaches so one has to enjoy the falls by looking down at them from above. That is not the best vantage point to view a waterfall.
The information presented on signs at the state park indicates that at the end of the ice age, the Bear River was once far bigger than it is today. It was the run-off of the glacier that once existed in Grafton Notch and it was filled with abrasive, ground rock. It was at that time when most of the sculpting of the rocks around the river was done. No doubt it was also then when the ravine into which Screw Auger Falls flows was created.
This is a nice waterfall that is very much worth seeing. However, it is not the most impressive waterfall in New England by any means.
Today my daughter Hillary, her dog Priscylla, and I visited these falls. The weather was perfect and we brought a picnic lunch. There was quite a crowd at the falls, but we were able to enjoy a quiet lunch by the stream anyway. Surprisingly there wasn't much of a problem with bugs today.
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