Central MA

Royalston Falls


217 acres

Royalston Falls

Follow a descending trail that leads to a deep, ancient gorge carved by prehistoric glacial meltwater to 45-ft falls that plunge into a basin.


Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions & Contact Info
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories


Over the ages, the rushing waters of Falls Brook carved a deep gorge in granite, concealed by deep forest. Today, the brook plunges 45 dramatic feet into a dark pool veiled in mist, surrounded by a resurgent landscape that’s slowly erased the clear-cutting that arrived along with the first wave of 17th-century European settlers.

In summer, as you descend the trail into the ravine, the falls appear suddenly from an emerald cloak of dense forest and ferns. In winter, freezing spray creates a fantastic landscape of ice. Upstream, the swirling brook has carved large glacial potholes and a natural bridge in the bedrock.

Ideas for Your Visit

Please note that the trek through Royalston Falls is strenuous and can be very slippery in places; use extreme caution when hiking here. The reservation is a link in the Tully Trail and the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail, part of the New England Trail.

A rustic, open-sided shelter, which overlooks Falls Brook, is available for backpackers thru-hiking or section hiking the New England National Scenic Trail or Tully Trail. The shelter is located near the intersection where the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail diverges from the Tully Trail.

Admission & Hours

Free to all. Open sunrise to sunset.

Please note that the parking area is not plowed in the winter.

Directions & Contact Info

Route 32
Royalston, MA 01331

Email: info@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 2, take Exit 77, Rt. 2A West. Follow into Athol. At the intersection of Rts. 2A and 32 in Athol, cross Millers River Bridge and bear right onto Chestnut Hill Rd. (becomes Athol Rd.) north toward Royalston. From Royalston Center, follow Rt. 68 North until it ends. Turn right onto Rt. 32 North and follow for 1.7 mi. to entrance on right. Enter the reservation via the marked Tully Trail.



Property Map

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Parents are encouraged to keep their children under close supervision in the areas surrounding the falls. Because of its difficult terrain and natural hazards, this trail is not recommended for children under the age of six.
  • Dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Hunting is permitted at this property subject to all state and town laws. It is recommended to wear brightly colored clothing like an orange vest or hat during the hunting season. Hunting is not allowed on Sundays. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties, and read safety tips for non-hunters.
  • Mountain biking is permitted on designated trails only.
  • Please note that the parking area is not plowed in the winter.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: We ask that photographers or their clients become Contributing Level Members before conducting portrait sessions at this property.  Click here for more information, and to request permission for any portrait sessions. The Trustees of Reservations reserves the right, and may give permission to its designated photographers and videographers, or to outside media, to photograph or video visitors and program participants at all its facilities and properties.


Before Setting Out
More to Explore

A recreation destination from way back

Walking through this quiet region of north-central Massachusetts, it’s hard to imagine the heavily forested landscape’s former identity – as a local farmer/entrepreneur’s recreation park. Before becoming known as Royalston Falls, the imposing chute was called Forbes Falls. In the 1840s, Calvin Forbes owned and worked the land, which for generations had been cleared for crop production and livestock grazing.

Learn More
The View From Here
See What People Say

We never thought this hidden gem would be so beautiful! It was! We loved everything about this experience! The sights, sounds and even the smell of the air! Breathe deep!

Travelingover50, TripAdvisor

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