Tuesday August 07, 2012 | 03:18 PM
If you're going to spend your day traipsing through the woods, hiking along trails and mastering mountains you should at least get a little visual reward out of it: Like a gorgeous view at the top of a waterfall.

The western part of the state has a handful of these natural wonders, which make great spots for picnics, cooling plunges or breathtaking photos. If you've got the time, energy and sense of adventure, trying searching out these popular watery spots. Angel Falls, near Byron in Franklin County The view: Fed by Mountain Brook, the water here tumbles 90 feet down over rocky cliffs. The cliffs surrounding it are even higher, which adds to the natural beauty. The trip: Located 17.6 miles south of Oquossoc, turn west off Route 17, go over the bridge, turn right on the old railroad line and find the gravel road 3.8 miles later. The trail is .8 miles long and takes about 30 minutes.

070199.dunn falls.jpg Dunn Falls, near Andover in Oxford County The view: The upper falls drops 70 feet forming what is said to be a "horsetail," with the lower falls plummeting another 80 feet. You'll find several swimming holes nearby and an 80-foot wide pool near the upper falls. The trip: Find the southbound section of the Appalachian Trail and take a left onto the Cascade Trail. There's a two-mile loop leading past the falls.

Poplar Stream Falls, near Carrabassett Valley in Franklin County The view: You'll find a pair of waterfalls here. The first drops 24 feet to a swimming hole below. The second, South Brook waterfall, drops 51 feet and is a little more difficult to reach. The trip: Located off Route 27 just south of Sugarloaf Mountain. Look for signage for a 4.7-mile loop connecting the falls at the Maine Huts & Trails Poplar Stream hut.

081503screwauger.jpg Screw Auger Falls, near Bethel in Oxford County The view: Part of Grafton Notch State Park, the 30-foot waterfall is fed Bear River. Find picnic tables, parking and bathrooms near the 0.1-mile trail that is handicap-accessible. The trip: Pay the parking fee when you enter the park and look for the trail that leads to the falls.

Smalls Falls, near Rangeley in Franklin County The view: Numerous cascades come from the 54-foot drop in a scenic gorge with walls in multiple colors. The trip: Located just south of Rangeley, it's just a five-minute walk to the falls. There's also a bridge that allows for close-up views. Also find picnic tables nearby and several trails to choose to get to the top of the falls.

100799.StepFalls.jpg Step Falls, near Newry in Oxford County The view: There's no dramatic plunge here but the falls offer cascades and horsetails that stream gradually along 250 foot feet. Find many wading pools along the sunny slabs of granite. The trip:Take Route 26 northwest from Newry and look for the sign for Step Falls Preserve. It takes about 20 minutes to hike the 0.6-mile trail.

About the Author

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Shannon Bryan, content producer for MaineToday Media, likes exploring Maine - from mattress races to cardboard boats, she's into the weird stuff.

Karen Beaudoin, online editor for MaineToday Media, likes knowing the important things - like who's just opened their deck for a sunny afternoon beer and what Portland's eclectic set of street performers are up to.

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