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Follow a descending trail that leads to a deep, ancient gorge carved by prehistoric glacial meltwater to falls that plunge 45 feet into a basin.
What makes Royalston Falls a special place?
We think it’s the remote location of the waterfalls – well worth the 0.8-mile descent to the edge a half-hidden ravine! Carved over the ages by Falls Brook, the boisterous cascade plunges 45 feet into an icy pool, sending up a misty spray through the thick forest hugging the gorge. A shelter on the trail offers a great resting spot.
As you make your way into the ravine, the dramatic falls remain hidden within an emerald cloak of dense forest and ferns. The flume appears suddenly, as if to offer a sensory reward for your exertions. In winter, freezing spray creates a fantastic landscape of ice.
Please note: The trek is not an easy one – and can be very wet in places, so you should use extreme caution when walking here.
The Forest’s Comeback
From the time of the first wave of European settlers in the 17th century, much of the Massachusetts forest was cut down for agricultural fields and pastures, firewood, and timber. Such wholesale land clearing continued into the 19th century until New England farmers abandoned their fields and headed west in search of richer, less rocky soil.
Today, the resurgent forest continues to slowly erase all remnants of human activity from more than a century ago.
But at this reservation, the forces of nature manifest themselves in ways other than just flora reclaiming its own; Falls Brook not only carved the flume but also fashioned a series of natural bridges through the bedrock just upstream.
A large group shelter, which overlooks Falls Brook, is available for overnight hikers. The shelter is located on the reservation near the intersection where the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail diverges from the Tully Trail.
A Tale of Two Trails
The primary access route to the falls is along a short stretch of the Tully Trail, a 22-mile loop encircling the scenic Tully Valley. But this 0.8-mile pathway down to Falls Brook is also part of the much longer Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. The M-M Trail extends for 117 miles from the border with Connecticut near Springfield to Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire.
1.5 miles of trails. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places. The trail is rugged and wet in places, so use extreme caution when hiking.
The reservation is a link in the Tully Trail and the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.
Interested in camping near Royalston Falls? Check out the Tully Lake Campground, also in Royalston.