June 26, 2011

It's Worth the Trip: If you like falling water, you're in luck in Maine

By JOHN CHRISTIE

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

A visitor gets a close view of Moxie Falls in Moxie Gore, off Route 201 near The Forks. At 90 feet, it is one of the highest waterfalls in Maine. The state’s highest waterfall is 108-foot Katahdin Stream Falls in Baxter State Park.

Staff file photo

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

FOR DESCRIPTIONS, maps and photos, go to www.NewEnglandWaterfalls.com.

About half-way in on the 1-mile trail, you'll see warning signs to be watchful of changing water flows, as the dam on Moxie Pond is occasionally opened, substantially increasing the flow and the associated danger.

It's a scramble down about 100 feet to the base, not recommended for children.

As an aside, while you're up there, consider paddling around relatively undeveloped Moxie Pond, or taking the short hike up Mosquito Mountain on the pond's west shore. From the bold summit, there are great views of the Longfellow Mountains to the west.

So much for two of Maine's best that require short hikes. If you're not into hiking, two of my favorites are just off the highway.

Screw Auger Falls in Grafton Notch State Park is reachable on Route 26, which leaves Route 2 about 3 miles east of Bethel. Signs will direct you to the park.

The 30-foot falls are about 4 miles east of the height of land in Grafton Notch.

As the falls are visible from the road, it's a popular stopping point for lots of people, so you'll seldom have the falls to yourself. Regardless, you'll be rewarded with a memorable view of banded granite formations through which the Bear River has intricately sculpted its path over the centuries.

The fourth favorite of mine is Smalls Falls on the upper reaches of the fast-flowing Sandy River, just north of Madrid on Route 4, south of Rangeley. A favorite day trip of ours takes us up through Grafton Notch by Screw Auger Falls to Errol, N.H., then back into Maine on Route 16 through Oquossoc and Rangeley.

It's a day-long excursion, but you'll be able to see two of Maine's premier waterfalls while barely leaving your car or your motorcycle.

There's a short boardwalk leading from the Smalls Falls rest area. You'll come upon a 3-foot cascade leading into a 20-foot wide wading pool, above which is a 14-foot fanning horsetail with a deep pool at its base. You'll often see people (not me) jumping off the ledges into this inviting pool.

A short distance further there's a 25-foot segmented waterfall, and beyond it a final one of about 12 feet featuring a water slide.

So you don't have to leave Maine if you're a waterfall lover. There are more than enough right here in our own backyard.

John Christie is an author and a year-round explorer of the Maine outdoors. He and his son, Josh, will share this space this summer to highlight places to enjoy the beauty only Maine has to offer. He can be contacted at:

jchristie@fairpoint.net

 

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