World Waterfall Database

Doane Falls

Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States

Status: Cataloged
This waterfall has been surveyed in person by the World Waterfall Database.

Detailed Info

Doane Falls is a long series of falls along Lawrence Brook where it cascades into the valley of the Tully River. The falls drop a total of about 95 feet in three distinct sections spread out over about one-quarter mile, but no individual drop is more than about 25 feet tall. The distance separating each of these three sections of the falls is great enough that under our guidelines we would normally opt to list each of these three sections of Doane Falls as individual entries in the database, however given the long standing precedent of referring to the whole chain of falls as one entity, we will continue to list it as a single collective waterfall.

The three individual sections of the falls each have their own unique character, and differ considerably in appearance. The uppermost series of falls is composed of three distinct tiers itself, each falling about 6 feet, all of which can be seen individually or collectively from several places along the trail. The second series of falls are found about 300 linear feet downstream, and consist of a short sliding fall of about 10 feet, followed by a nearly vertical fall of about 15 feet which tumbles into a pile of large boulders. The final section of the falls is the largest and most impressive, and is found another 500 linear feet further downstrem from the second set of falls. The lower set first slides down a swirling horsetail style fall for about 23 feet, and then shortly thereafter leaps over a nearly sheer cliff in a broad fall for another 20 feet. Below here Lawrence Brook resumes a gentle course and flows into Tully Lake shortly after.

History and Naming

Doane Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.

Has also been known as:

  • Doanes Falls

The official name of this waterfall is Doane Falls, in the singular form, but many sources have incorrectly referenced it as either Doanes Falls or Doane's Falls. Sometimes the name is spelled with two "n"s as well, which is also incorrect. The name of the falls stems from that of Amos Doane who built and operated a mill in the area in the 1800s.

Our Thoughts

Though the falls can't be seen collectively from any one point, so the overall height of the formation is somewhat lost when trying to comprehend the size of the series, Doane Falls is a big, impressive set of waterfalls by Massachusetts standards. Even taking each section individually as may eventually be necessary (based on our cataloging criteria) these are not lackluster waterfalls by any means, and the significant size of Lawrence Brook further adds to the allure of this one simply because there are not many other waterfalls in the state which can run with the force as Doane Falls. The bottom line is this should be a prime target for waterfall hunters in Massachusetts.

Photo Tips

Most of the falls are fairly shaded and will be exposed to significant high contrast when the sun is out. For the most part the falls face west and will see more direct sunlight in the afternoon, so the best light will be had during the early morning hours. Spray can be a serious issue during the spring months.

Location & Directions

Coordinates:   42.6488, -72.2019
Elevation:   610 feet
USGS Map:   Winchendon 7 1/2"

Take Highway 2 to Route 32 and exit North into the town of Athol (Route 32 and Highway 2A merge as they come into the town). A little more than 2 miles after exiting Highway 2, turn right onto Chestnut Hill Road then keep right after crossing the Millers River and continue for almsot 4 miles to the bridge over Lawrence Brook and the sign marking the Doane Falls Reservation at junction with Doane Hill Road. The trail follows the north side of Lawrence Brook downstream, passing all sections of the falls, with the final tier of the falls reached after about a quarter of a mile of walking.

View this location in Google Earth

Other Nearby Waterfalls

Additional Waterfalls which occur within 5 miles of Doane Falls
No additional waterfalls were found within 5 miles.

By The Numbers

The information presented in this table is meant to help identify and clarify the physical aspects of the waterfall for comparative purposes. While we try to ensure this information is as accurate as possible, sometimes it will prove necessary to either estimate or flat out guess at certain characteristics where either enough information isn't readily available, is not known, or we were not able to confirm a given trait upon surveying. This information may be changed at any given time to ensure accuracy.

Total Height

The Total Height listed for the waterfall represents the difference in elevation from the top of the uppermost drop, to the bottom of the lowermost drop of the waterfall, including all stretches of interstitial stream in between. Stream between two tiers of a waterfall is counted in its overall height regardless of whether or not that section of the stream would be legitimately considered a waterfall on its own right, were it to be isolated. Waterfalls with only one drop will of have the height of only the single drop listed here.

Tallest Drop

The Tallest Drop figure represents the height of the largest single drop within a multi-stepped waterfall. Waterfalls with only one drop will have the total height of the waterfall repeated here.

Num of Drops

The Number of Drops in a waterfall is a tally of the total number of distinct drops which make up the waterfall. Stretches of interstitial stream in between two or more distinct drops of a single waterfall are NOT considered to be distinct drops of the waterfall unless the section of stream in question would otherwise qualify as a waterfall were it to be isolated.

Avg Width

The Average Width of the waterfall represents the breadth of the waterfall from bank to bank under typical flow conditions, or if the waterfall has been Cataloged, under the conditions which it was most thoroughly surveyed. Often this number will be approximated because of a lack of approachability to many waterfalls. We often utilize Google Earth to measure the width (where imagery is of sufficient quality and resolution to allow it.

Maximum Width

Maximum Width represents a hypothetical measurement of roughly how wide a waterfall could get during peak streamflow or flood conditions. For smaller waterfalls, this figure will generally not differ much from the Average Width measurement, but for broader waterfalls - especially those that feature a crest that isn't constricted - this figure can at times be consideraby larger. Like the Average Width measurement, this measurement will take into account the difference in width at the top and bottom of the waterfall as much as possible, but will often be made based on the width of the crest of th falls alone.

Pitch

The Pitch of a waterfall is an estimated - often very roughly - measure of the average slope or steepness of a waterfall. The Pitch figure only takes into account sections of stream which are actively falling. Pools or stretches of level stream in between two or more successive drops of the falls will not factor in this figure. As an example, a waterfall which features two truly free-falling leaps separated by several dozen yards of flat stream will have a Pitch of 90 degrees. Similarly, a waterfall with two drops separated by a pool, one with a true free-falling drop, and one with a Horsetail type fall will average the two, so while the Plunging drop has a Pitch of 90 degrees, if the Horsetail drop has a Pitch of 45 degrees, the total Pitch will be roughly 67 degrees.

Run

The Run of a waterfall is a measurement representing the total linear distance on the ground between the top and bottom of a waterfall. This figure is not often easy to establish with a high degree of precision and as such will often be estimated. Waterfalls with a longer Run will usually either be less steep, often cascading type waterfalls, or will feature multiple steps separated by shorter stretches of a more gradual gradient streambed.

Form

The system of classification of waterfall forms we use is a heavily modified derivative of the classifications outlined by Greg Plumb in his "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest" books. While plumb uses eight distnct forms, we wanted further granularity and opted to break down the hierarchy twofold: first based on the overall pitch of the waterfall, and then based on what shape the fall takes as it makes its descent. There are five primary Categories of falls in this system: Plunge, Horsetail, Steep Cascades, Shallow Cascades, and Rapids. Additional deliniation is then applied depending on characteristics such as the breadth of the falls, whether it splits into two or more channels, whether it falls in multiple successive drops, etc. For more information on our waterfall form classifications, see the Help page.

Watershed

The watershed which a waterfall occurs within, if it is specified, will be based on the ultimate distributary watercourse to the ocean. For example, Washington's Palouse Falls occurs along the Palouse River - which is a tributary to the Snake River, which is itself a tributary to the Columbia River, which ultimately enters the Pacific Ocean, so Palouse Falls would then fall within the Columbia River watershed. Streams which empty directly into the ocean, or into a minor basin which then empties to the ocean will often have this field left blank.

Stream

The name of the watercourse which the waterfall occurs along. If the watercourse is not known to have an officially or colloquially recognized name, this field is left blank.

Avg Volume

The volume of water present in the stream at the location of the waterfall. This is often the most difficult figure to pin down because accurately measuring streamflow is not a simple process. We will rely on USGS data as much as possible, and attempt to take into account seasonal fluctuations in stream levels if possible. There is no guarantee that this figure will be accurate, and in cases where there is no USGS data to use, it may be a very, very rough estimate at best.

Source

If known, the primary source of the watercourse which produces the waterfall will be listed here. This is helpful in determining whether a waterfall may flow more consistently during certain periods of the year - streams which originate in Springs, Lakes, or Glaciers will often flow more consistently throughout the year than those fueled by simply Runoff. The source of the stream may also be either unknown or undetermined.

Flow Consistency

A rough estimation of how many months out of the year the stream which produces the waterfall will actually hold water. The vast majority of waterfalls featured on this website will technically be truly perennial waterfalls (those that flow all year long), but some may see their flow dwindle greatly in the late summer months. This figure will not take into account the winter months when the waterfall may freeze, because in such cases the waterfall will very often be inaccessible. Entries which specify a Flow Consistncy of 12 Months should in general have an acceptable flow at any time of year (but may be better during certain periods - see below).

Best Flow

A general estimate of the best period of the year during which time the falls will be considered at optimal conditions, or flowing at their best. There may be variance within the range specified where the flow will be better or worse, but visiting at any time in the range specified (if available) will generally present the waterfall in its best light.

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Key

Cataloged Icon
Cataloged
Waterfalls which are Cataloged we have visited and surveyed in person. Statistical information should be quite accurate (for the most part), and exact measurements will often be available (information is not guaranteed to always be up to date). Detailed information, directions, and photographs will almost always be available.
Confirmed Icon
Confirmed
Confirmed Waterfalls are known to exist, should be relatively accurately mapped and geotagged, and the statistical information available will often be dependable. If height information is presented, it may be estimated but should be accurate. Directions will not likely be available.
Unconfirmed Icon
Unconfirmed
Unconfirmed Waterfalls are often marked on a published map, but we have yet to confirm the exact location and / or whether or not its stature is significant enough to qualify for listing in the database. Statistical information may be estimated and may be inaccurate. No directions.
Unknown Icon
Unknown
Waterfalls marked as Unknown are either suspected to exist based on heresay or a hunch, or we have received unverified information suggesting a waterfall may exist near the location provided but cannot corroborate it in any way. Geodata may not be accurate, the location may not be known at all, and statistical information will be estimated and highly inaccurate.
Inundated Icon
Inundated
Inundated Waterfalls have been submerged beneath lakes or reservoirs, usually a result of impoundment of a river behind a dam, and most often no longer functionally exist (there may be rare exceptions). We maintain records for these features out of historical importance.
Subterranean Icon
Subterranean
Though not common, some waterfalls can be found entirely underground within cave systems. Access to subterranean waterfalls can vary from easy via developed walkways to requiring a high level of extremely technical spelunking skill, including familiarity with ropework and a distinct lack of claustrophobia.
Disqualified Icon
Disqualified
Waterfalls which have been marked as Disqualified do not have the necessary stature or features to qualify as a legitimate waterfall according to our criteria. We will maintain records for entries with this status where the feature is well known and / or may have been historically referred to as a waterfall at some point in time.
Posted Icon
Posted
Posted Waterfalls are known to exist, and we may have a large amount of information associated with them, but are located on private property and are not legally accessible to the general public. Accessing waterfalls with this status should not be attempted without first being explicitly granted permission of the property owner.
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