Attractions

17 Waterfalls in Massachusetts You Need to Visit This Year

When you think of a summer getaway to Massachusetts, you may automatically think of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket Island. But on the other side of the state, western Massachusetts is home to hundreds of gorgeous waterfalls. Today, I list down some of the best waterfalls in Massachusetts to visit this year.

Many of the most famous and gorgeous waterfalls in Massachusetts can be found in the Berkshires and in the Pioneer Valley region. However, there are also some waterfalls worth visiting in the Central region and the Boston Metro region.

Waterfalls in the Berkshires

The Berkshires is home to the highland region where the Green Mountains of Vermont extend south into western Massachusetts, locally called the Berkshire Hills. With its natural, historical, and cultural beauty, the Berkshires is a popular tourist destination.

1. Bash Bish Falls – Mount Washington

01 Bash Bish Falls - Mount Washington, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Pablo Sanchez Martin

Probably the most famous waterfall on this list, Bash Bish is the tallest single-drop waterfall in Massachusetts. The falls rise 200 feet and a large jutting rock splits the falls into two segments dropping 80 feet into a deep emerald plunge pool.

It’s quite near the Massachusetts-New York border, and you can hike to it from both the Massachusetts and New York sides.

Its popularity and accessibility have a price, though; if you come here in the summer, you’ll likely encounter a large crowd of both locals and tourists.

Essential Information
Address: Falls Rd, Mt Washington, MA 01258
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash and with proof of rabies vaccination
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Copake Falls, NY; Egremont, MA
Nearby places of interest: Bash Bish Falls State Park, Taconic State Park, Mount Washington State Forest, Bash Bish Mountain
More information: Bash Bish Falls State Park

2. Race Brook Falls – Sheffield

02 Race Brook Falls - Sheffield, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Race Brook Falls offers five sets of waterfalls that offer scenic views of trees and trails.

The lowermost falls on Race Brook drops nearly 100 feet surrounded by trees. The second one fans down a steep ledge before splashing into a pool, making this possibly the most photographed section.

The total drop is around 300 feet from the top of the fifth set of falls to the lowermost, making it one of the highest waterfalls in Massachusetts.

The trailhead for the Race Brook Falls Trail is inside the Mount Everett State Reservation near the Race Brook Falls Parking Lot. However, the trail that leads to Race Brook Falls features challenging terrain and is recommended for experienced hikers only.

If you’re feeling up to it, you can continue hiking on the trail to the nearby summits of Mt. Race or Mt. Everett and get to see gorgeous views.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Race Brook Falls Parking | 716-732 S Undermountain Rd, Sheffield, MA 01257
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: May to October
Nearest town: Sheffield, MA
Nearby places of interest: Mt. Everett State Reservation, Mount Race, Plantain Pond, Mount Everett, Guilder Pond
More information: Mount Everett State Reservation

3. Campbell Falls – New Marlborough

03 Campbell Falls - New Marlborough, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Campbell Falls is on the Massachusetts side of Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, which makes it accessible from both the Connecticut side and the Massachusetts side.

The Whiting River drops 50 feet in an impressive display. The direction of the water flow zigzags to the left then to the right before dropping into the small pools and gorges below.

Essential Information
Massachusetts Address: Campbell Falls Rd, New Marlborough, MA 01259
Connecticut Trailhead Address: Campbell Falls Path, Old Spaulding Rd, Norfolk Historic District, CT 06058
Swimming: Not possible
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Norfolk, CT; New Marlborough, MA
Nearby places of interest: Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, Umpachene Falls Park, Cookson State Forest
More information: Campbell Falls State Park Reserve

4. Tannery Falls – Savoy

04 Tannery Falls - Savoy, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

The elevation gain for Tannery Falls is 200 feet for the entire falls, which is broken up into tall plunges, cascades, and slides of varying heights, some as high as 80 feet and some as low as 5 feet. It eventually empties in a shallow pool.

Hiking through the trail a bit further will lead you to Parker Brook Falls and around a dozen other unnamed plunges and cascades.

The area isn’t very accessible; driving to the trailhead is rough, the marker for the trailhead is easily missed if you’re not paying attention, and the hike to the falls is a moderate one. The advantage is that it’s rarely crowded here, even in the summer.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Tannery Falls Parking Lot, Tannery Rd, Savoy, MA 01256
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash and with proof of rabies vaccination
Best time to visit: May to October
Nearest towns: Savoy, MA; Florida, MA
Nearby places of interest: Savoy Mountain State Forest, Florida State Forest, Mohawk Trail State Forest, Borden Mountain
More information: Savoy Mountain State Forest

5. The Cascade – North Adams

Also known as Notch Brook Cascade after its water source, the Cascade in North Adams is a partially hidden 45-foot tall waterfall in a gorge. The only way to get a full look at the falls is to hike into the gorge.

It’s found within a city park within North Adams, and the trailhead is actually in a residential area, so residents ask for visitors to be mindful and respectful of that.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: 22 Brickyard Ct, North Adams, MA 01247
Swimming: Not possible
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to June
Nearest city: North Adams, MA
Nearby places of interest: Mohawk Trail, Natural Bridge State Park

6. Hudson Brook Chasm – North Adams

Natural Bridge State Park is home to the only natural white marble arch in North America, as well as a manmade white marble dam.

This white marble bridge spans Hudson Brook that carved out the Hudson Brook Chasm. The hundred-foot-long chasm features plenty of petite but powerful cascades. There is a network of bridges, platforms, and observation decks to view the chasm.

Take a few hours to explore the park. The bridge and the dam are worth exploring, as well as an abandoned marble quarry.

Essential Information
Address: McAuley Rd, North Adams, MA 01247
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash and with proof of rabies vaccination
Best time to visit: Memorial Day to Columbus Day
Nearest city: North Adams, MA
Nearby places of interest: Natural Bridge State Park, Mohawk Trail
More information: Natural Bridge State Park

7. Wahconah Falls – Dalton

07 Wahconah Falls - Dalton, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Wahconah Falls Brook flows over several smaller falls before ending in the 40-foot Wahconah Falls. Water flows over multiple tiers of cascades, forming a wide white wall that ends in a shallow pool that sometimes appears turquoise depending on the weather.

This is one of the more family-friendly waterfalls in Massachusetts, with an easy hike to the falls that even children can make, plus picnic tables nearby.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Wahconah Falls Parking Lot, Wahconah Falls Road, North St, Dalton, MA 01226
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash and with proof of rabies vaccination
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest town: Dalton, MA
Nearby places of interest: Wahconah Falls State Park
More information: Wahconah Falls State Park

Waterfalls in the Pioneer Valley Region

The Pioneer Valley is the local name for the portion of the Connecticut River Valley that lies within Massachusetts. Made up of the three counties of Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden, the Pioneer Valley is rich in forests, hills, and meadows.

Franklin County is the most rural of the three counties and home to most of the waterfalls in this region.

8. Goldmine Brook Falls – Chester

08 Goldmine Brook Falls - Chester, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Goldmine Brook Falls is found within the Chester-Blandford State Forest. Goldmine Brook supplies the water here, resulting in a multi-tiered waterfall with a 45-foot drop.

There are a couple of pools that are technically swimmable, but the water may be a little too cold since the sun doesn’t shine on them.

These falls are notoriously hard to find. There’s a small entrance along US Route 20 that leads to some eroded stone steps. After a 300-foot hike uphill, you can see the falls. It’s probably why its nickname is Heavenly Hideaway.

If you have time, you can also explore Sanderson Brook Falls, which is also inside the state forest but is more accessible.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: US-20, Chester, MA 01011
Swimming: Allowed, but not recommended
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Chester, MA; Huntington, MA
Nearby places of interest: Chester-Blandford State Forest, Sanderson Brook Falls, H Newman Marsh Trail, Boulder Park
More information: Chester-Blandford State Forest

9. Glendale Falls – Middlefield

09 Glendale Falls - Middlefield, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Scott Connolly

At 160 feet, Glendale Falls joins Bash Bish Falls and Race Brook Falls as some of the highest waterfalls in Massachusetts. The waters of Glendale Brook crash over ledges and boulders to end up in the Westfield River.

The hike to the falls is around 0.3 miles and leads to the top of the falls first, with a view of the waterfalls’ edge (be careful not to get too close). Savor the view and take photos before going down some stone steps to the bottom of the falls.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: 101 Clark Wright Rd, Middlefield, MA 01243
Swimming: Allowed, but not recommended
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest town: Middlefield, MA
Nearby places of interest: Glendale Falls Reservation, Middlefield State Forest, Keystone Arch Bridges
More information: Glendale Falls | The Trustees of Reservations

10. Chapel Brook Falls – Ashfield

10 Chapel Brook Falls - Ashfield, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Chapel Brook Falls features a set of three drops from different heights, beginning at 20 feet, going to 15 feet, and then a 10-foot drop. The formation looks more like a slide than a cascade.

Swimming is recommended only in the summer; the waters are too strong after snowmelt and too cold near the fall. The rocks create a natural slide that swimmers can enjoy.

The Chapel Brook Reservation also includes Chapel Ledge, also called Pony Mountain, which is popular with recreational rock climbers.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Two Bridges Trail, 1229 Williamsburg Rd, Ashfield, MA 01330
Swimming: Yes, during the summer
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Ashfield, MA; Goshen, MA
Nearby places of interest: Chapel Brook Reservation, Pony Mountain, DAR State Forest
More information: Chapel Brook Falls | The Trustees of Reservations

11. Bear’s Den Falls – New Salem

11 Bear's Den Falls - New Salem, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Doug Kerr

Bear’s Den Falls is steeped in history and legend. It is said that the great Native American chief Metacomet met with neighboring chieftains here to plan attacks on the nearby towns of Hadley, Deerfield, and Northampton.

This 12-foot high waterfall is perhaps one of the smallest waterfalls in Massachusetts, but despite its size, it’s a lovely sight to behold.

Water from the Middle Branch of the Swift River flows here, split by boulders in the middle of the brook, fans out, and drops into shallow pools.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: 17 Neilson Rd, New Salem, MA 01355
Swimming: Not possible
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns/cities: New Salem, MA
Nearby places of interest: Bear’s Den Reservation
More information: Bear’s Den Falls | The Trustees of Reservations

Waterfalls in the Central Region

Central Massachusetts is mostly made up of Worcester County, featuring hilly woodland areas in contrast to the neighboring valley. The city of Worcester is the second-largest city in Massachusetts and is considered the cultural capital of the region.

Royalston offers three well-known waterfalls, all connected via the 22-mile Tully Trail circling Tully Valley.

12. Doane’s Falls – Royalston

12 Doane's Falls - Royalston, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: liz west

Doane’s Falls is famous for the stone bridge backdrop to a 175-foot series of plunges and cascades.

The falls are split into three distinct sections. The first section is a couple of plunges, the second is a few cascades, and the third one is a 20-foot block waterfall over a ledge, eventually emptying into Tully Lake.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Tully Lake Campground, 25 Doane Hill Rd, Royalston, MA 01368
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest town: Royalston, MA
Nearby places of interest: Doane’s Falls Reservation, Tully Lake, Tully Trail, Spirit Falls, Royalston Falls
More information: Doane’s Falls Reservation | The Trustees of Reservations

13. Spirit Falls – Royalston

Spirit Falls is a multi-tiered waterfall inside the Jacobs Hill Reservation. It looks best just after snowmelt, when the outflow from the Little Pond tumbles over stair-like rocks.

Jacobs Hill also has various ledges where you can get spectacular views of the surrounding areas, including the Berkshires, Long Pond, Tully Mountain, Mount Grace, and the Tully River Valley.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: Tully Lake Campground, 25 Doane Hill Rd, Royalston, MA 01368
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to June
Nearest town: Royalston, MA; Athol, MA
Nearby places of interest: Jacobs Hill Reservation, Tully Lake, Tully Trail, Doane’s Falls, Royalston Falls
More information: Jacobs Hill Reservation | The Trustees of Reservations

14. Royalston Falls – Royalston

14 Royalston Falls - Royalston, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Ericshawwhite

Royalston Falls is a 50-foot waterfall and granite gorge along Falls Brook. You can view this cylindrical gorge by standing at the top of the falls or from behind cable-wire safety fences.

The hike to either vantage point is difficult and not recommended for beginner hikers, especially after a rain when the ground is wet and muddy. If you need a moment, you can take shelter inside a wooden shelter right on the Tully Trail.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: 385 Athol-Richmond Rd, Royalston, MA 01368
Address: Route 32, Falls Rd., Royalston, MA 01368
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Royalston, MA
Nearby places of interest: Tully Lake, Tully Trail, Doane’s Falls, Spirit Falls, Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, Royalston State Forest
More information: Royalston Falls | The Trustees of Reservations

Waterfalls in the Boston Metro Region

The counties of Middlesex, Suffolk, and most of Norfolk comprise the Boston Metro region, which is a mostly urban region with over 50 colleges and universities, museums, parks, entertainment venues, and recreational facilities.

Aside from these attractions, there are hidden waterfalls in this region just waiting to be discovered.

15. Trap Falls – Ashby

15 Trap Falls - Ashby, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism

Just a few paces into the Willard Brook State Forest, Trap Falls is made of three separate plunges that fall into a shallow pool, with the highest plunge being 12 feet.

Families would enjoy hanging out here, as there are picnic tables, grills, and restrooms in the area, which means the falls are likely to be crowded in the summer.

Essential Information
Address: 599 Main St, West Townsend, MA 01474
Swimming: Not possible
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: April to November
Nearest towns: Ashby, MA; Townsend, MA
Nearby places of interest: Willard Brook State Forest, Pearl Hill State Park
More information: Willard Brook State Forest

16. Pawtucket Falls – Lowell

16 Pawtucket Falls - Lowell, Massachusetts
Photo Credit: Marianne Gries

This is the only waterfall in this list that isn’t natural.

Pawtucket Falls is formed by a dam on the Merrimack River, forming a mile-wide, 32-foot high waterfall. The dam dates back to the 1820s.

Historically, the hydropower that the Pawtucket Dam generated enabled Lowell to flourish as a factory town producing textiles.

You can easily view Pawtucket Falls from an adjacent bridge over the Merrimack River. If you can’t get enough of the Merrimack, you can also walk along the Northern Canal Walkway (entrance also on School Street) to view the Merrimack River, the canal, and the surrounding areas.

Essential Information
Address: 20 School St, Lowell, MA 01854
Swimming: Prohibited
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: May to October
Nearest city: Lowell, MA
Nearby places of interest: Merrimack River, Lowell National Historical Park, Downtown Lowell Historic District
More information: The Merrimack River

17. The Cascade – Melrose

Note: Not to be confused this with The Cascade in North Adams.

The Cascade Falls in Melrose is located in Middlesex Fells Reservation. It’s a 40-foot high waterfall with horsetails of various shapes and sizes.

This is perhaps the closest natural waterfalls to Boston. In fact, you can ride the Orange Line to the Oak Grove Station and make your way to the falls.

To get here, find Goodyear Avenue along Washington Street in the town of Melrose, MA (near Melrose Garden Triangle). Follow Goodyear Avenue until the dead-end and find the end of Cross Fells Trail. Follow the trail and cross the creek. Go right onto the Cascades Trail and follow it around 750 feet to reach the base of the falls.

In the winter, the water from Shilly Shally Brook freezes over, and ice climbing enthusiasts try to climb up the falls.

Essential Information
Trailhead Address: End of Cross Fells Trail, 7-199 Goodyear Ave, Melrose, MA 02176
Swimming: Not possible
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash
Best time to visit: Only worth visiting during the snowmelt or after significant rainshowers; visit during the winter for ice climbing
Nearest town: Melrose, MA
Nearby places of interest: Middlesex Fells Reservation, Spot Pond
More information: Middlesex Fells Reservation

Visit These Waterfalls in Massachusetts Soon!

As you’ve probably learned today, Massachusetts isn’t just a destination for fishing, collecting sea glass, or running a marathon; the waterfalls in Massachusetts are worth a visit, too.

These photos will never do them justice, so start planning your trip to Massachusetts to see these waterfalls!

Love chasing waterfalls?

Waterfalls are fascinating natural wonders. If you can’t get enough of waterfalls in the US, here are more articles about waterfalls on our website.

Visiting one or a few Massachusetts waterfalls soon? Which ones look promising? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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