Campbell Falls, Massachusetts

Campbell Falls in August 2012

I’ve always been interested in geography, so Campbell Falls was very intriguing to me. I had been weaving back and forth between Massachusetts and Connecticut to visit various waterfalls, and Campbell Falls might have been one of the later stops during the day. Many of the falls up to that point had been rather disappointing, most likely because it was later in the summer, when many falls dwindle down anyway. I really wasn’t sure what to expect with Campbell Falls.

I’m in Connecticut, and then I enter Massachusetts. The road to the falls is just past the border. I drive down the road, and at one point, I think I’ve entered Connecticut again. At the parking lot, there’s a post indicating what state you’re standing in. I start the short hike to the falls, and just about halfway there, there’s another one of these posts. I really wasn’t sure which state I was in at that point in time. The falls are extremely easy to find, luckily. I had to go back to the map later to find out I was officially in Massachusetts.

The falls probably ended up being my favorite that day and throughout the whole trip. Bash Bish Falls was honestly just too crowded for me. The other falls often suffered from low flow. During the whole 0.4 mile round trip hike, I was essentially the only person at Campbell Falls. Somebody arrived just as I was leaving.  It was really cool to have the whole place to myself. And it helps that the waterfall had relatively good flow and was very scenic. In late summer, this waterfall might be your best bet for enjoying nature in relative solitude.

Directions:

  1. The falls are found in between the towns (villages) of Norfolk, CT and New Marlborough, MA. From Norfolk headed north, the road is numbered as CT-272 (North Street). The road seems to be named Norfolk Road in Massachusetts.
  2. If you’re headed north, you will cross the border from CT to MA, and then Campbell Falls Road will be directly to your left. Turn onto Campbell Falls Road.
  3. Drive a short distance to the parking area for the falls, which is found in the Connecticut version of Campbell Falls State Park (I think).
  4. From there, follow the short trail to the falls. You should pass the sign into Massachusetts, otherwise you’re probably not at the right place!

Accessibility: 8/10 (easy/moderate)
Height: 50′
Length of Hike: 0.4 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Campbell Falls?

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Bash Bish Falls, Massachusetts

Bash Bish Falls in August 2012

Bash Bish Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Massachusetts, and well…I guess it’s understandable, though I wasn’t as impressed. Bash Bish Falls is found in the extreme southwest corner of the state, literally less than a mile from the New York border. One of the trails to the falls even starts on the New York side.

And yet, as I mentioned, it’s popular. I have nothing against popular, but in this case there were people everywhere! It wasn’t as busy as I had expected, considering I had read upwards of 3000 visitors per (nice) day, but it was still bustling. There wasn’t an easy way to get a photograph of the falls without others in view! This was in stark contrast to what was my favorite Massachusetts waterfall, the relatively nearby Campbell Falls, where I was the only person!

Add to that, I don’t think the falls were nearly as impressive as a few of the others in the area. Race Brook Falls was a big disappointment, and Bash Bish Falls doesn’t remotely approach that, but it just seemed underwhelming. I know I showed up in mid-August, when the flow is lower, but it didn’t have as much character as I had hoped.  For some reason, I just kept noticing that the rock hanging above the falls looked like a big nose. I’m not sure if that’s the memory you want to be left with.

The Massachusetts trail is short, but very steep. I took this trail, and it’s a good workout! If, on the other hand, you hope for something more peaceful and less brutal on the body, apparently the trail that starts on the New York side will be the better choice. As a side note, there is another brook with possible waterfalls on a creek right near the New York entrance. From that parking area, cross the road and to your left, you’ll notice a trail paralleling a brook. I very quickly decided not to go up this trail since there was virtually no water in the creek. In the spring, it might be a worthwhile venture.

Directions:

NY: Though I approached the falls from the Massachusetts side, it appears to be much easier to arrive at the falls going through New York. From NY-22 in the far east of NY, turn right on NY-344 in Copake Falls. Drive a few miles to the obvious parking area. It will be a 3/4 mile hike from that parking area. Continue along the curving road to get to the MA parking area, with the shorter (but steeper) hike.

MA: I felt like I wandered around on the Massachusetts side. There are signs as you get closer to the falls, but you have to pay very close attention! From MA-23 east of the NY/MA border, if you’re heading west, turn left onto Jug End Rd. Then turn right on Mt. Washington Road, and after a number of miles, turn right onto Falls Road, driving to the parking areas.

Accessibility: 4/10 (from the much shorter, steep path starting on the MA side)
Height: 80′
Length of Hike: 0.8 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Bash Bish Falls?