Massachusetts WaterfallsPosted by Bryan Swan | February 2nd, 2012
While certainly more famous for its rich history surrounding the establishment of the original colonies in what is now the United States and the resulting revolution, not to mention clam chowder, rabidly smug sports fans, presidential retreats and easy-to-lampoon regional accents, Massachusetts – the country’s 7th smallest state – respectably holds its own when it comes to waterfalls.
Though not generally thought of as one of the Appalachian states, the modest mountains found in Massachusetts – the Berkshires and Taconics – are essentially sub-ranges of the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the relief comes in the form of large rolling hills with an underlying structure of Granitic rock, but there are local regions where the terrain is rather pronounced. It is around such areas that the majority of the waterfalls in Massachusetts occur. Of the 105 waterfalls we currently have inventoried within the state, about half of them occur within the western ¼ of the state and around 80% are found west of the Worcester metropolitan area. If you can’t make it out of Boston, there’s even one waterfall found less than a mile from a subway stop.
Because of the storied history in Massachusetts, there is quite literally several hundred years worth of documentation of waterfalls found within the state. Many features have been harnessed with Mills or Dams at some point or another, others were discovered when found to be an impediment to ships navigating the larger rivers (though some of these turned out to hardly be worthy of being called a waterfall). Of course, on the converse, because Massachusetts is fairly densely populated and has been for quite some time, much of the land is privately owned and as such there are a fair number of waterfalls which cannot be accessed by the public. But those that are accessible are usually protected and well developed for the enjoyment of all.