Watch Chronicle's segment on waterfalls, which highlights Doane's Falls and Royalston Falls (August 2011).
Doane's Falls, Royalston
The most popular series of cascades (Upper, Middle, and Lower) in the north-of-Quabbin region, this dramatic stretch of the Lawrence River also is situated just yards from a roadside parking lot. And the delightful Tully Lake Campground is just down the road.
Spirit Falls at Jacobs Hill, Royalston
You won’t find the loudest, frothiest, water here, but rather an extended set of cascades dropping for more than a quarter mile on the East Branch of the Tully River. As with Doane’s Falls, you’re only a short distance away from Tully Lake Campground.
Royalston Falls, Royalston
Located not far from the New Hampshire border, down a short, challenging trail and deep within a gorge carved over eons, this beautiful place would inspire awe, even without its impressive waterfall.
Bear's Den, New Salem
The waters of the Middle Branch of the Swift River flow into the massive Quabbin Reservoir, but before they do, they drop through this modest but lovely gorge. The falls, marked by a man-made sluiceway from the area’s earlier industry, await you only a couple hundred yards off the road.
Chapel Brook, Ashfield
Delight in this intimate series of chutes, punctuated by crystal clear pools that are ideal for wading enthusiasts. You can even drop into the pools via natural “water slides.” A tip from locals: even on the hottest days, the brook’s waters remain ice cold!
Chesterfield Gorge, Chesterfield
Carved from an ancient rock face on the East Branch of the Westfield River (a federally designated Wild and Scenic waterway) this natural wonder is one of the most dramatic waterfalls in the region. Best of all, the 70-foot falls plunge is just a short walk from the parking lot.
Glendale Falls, Middlefield
Dramatic and remote, this long series of cascades feeds into the Middle Branch of the Westfield River, flowing deep within a Highlands valley. Native brook trout rest in hidden pools below the falls, which is boisterous with spring snowmelt, but quiet by mid-summer.