Over the months several people have asked me if I was interested in organizing public waterfall trips around New England. That idea does interest me. There are legal and safety issues that need to be worked out, but I would like to eventually offer some informal waterfall trips on a regular basis.
In the summer of 1997 a friend of mine (who I met on the 'net) suggested trying to set up such a trip for central Massachusetts. The idea was to look at some falls that are close to the Boston area. After some discussion we decided to limit participation to "invitation only" and focus mostly on our personal friends. This decision was reached after talking with the Appalachian Mountain Club regarding liability issues surrounding trips that are open to public participation.
It is my hope that eventually we could arrange some public trips. In any case, there are several possible waterfall "tours" that people might be interested in making with or without the help of an organized trip. This page will summarize some of these tours and will hopefully help those of you who are interested in planning a day of waterfall hopping. Browsing through my individual descriptions does not make it easy to figure out which falls can be readily visited together.
The small town of Royalston, MA is blessed with three interesting waterfalls that are very worth visiting. See the individual pages for directions and detailed descriptions. They are all close enough together so that the order in which you visit them is not important.
All three of these falls are on land owned by the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts based conservation group. All falls have clear public access.
Parking is available at all the falls, but it is not extensive at any of them. You will probably have to park along the road at Royalston Falls before you set out to hike. There may be space available there for four or five cars. Parking at Doane's Falls is plentiful, but the parking area is often full. It is a popular waterfall. There is additional parking on the other side of the bridge that is there. Parking at Spirit Falls is a bit scarce. There is clearly space for two or maybe three cars. Additional cars might be able to park along the road, but the road is not well suited to it at that spot. Thankfully Spirit Falls is not a popular location so that most likely you will be the only people there when you arrive.
To visit all three falls would require several hours and a total of 6 miles of walking over easy terrain. However because of the close proximity of the falls to each other, it is easy to modify plans at the last minute and take in only one or two instead. I suggest that you be sure to visit Doane's Falls as that is the most spectacular.
There are no eating places (that I could see) in Royalston. However, Athol to the southwest and Gardner to the east both have a variety of restaurants. Packing a lunch is also a good option on this trip.
My friend and I went on the Royalston trip. We had invited a number of our friends, but all of them declined or backed out at the last minute. In the end it was just the two of us this time. The weather was extremely hot -- perhaps the hottest day of the year (it seemed). However, walking under the trees of the Massachusetts forest was cooler than it might otherwise have been.
We first visited Royalston Falls and had a lunch there. We decided, due to the low water and warm temperatures, to skip Spirit Falls. We then visited Doane's Falls and then headed into Gardner for an early dinner at Friendly's. The trip worked well and I would happily recommend it to others.
Return to the New England Waterfall Page.