CORONAVIRUS update from The Trustees. Learn More
Central MA

Royalston Falls

Royalston

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.

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Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Fees
  • Directions
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories

Overview

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 well-built trail shelter, which overlooks Falls Brook, is available for up to 12 overnight hikers. The shelter is located near the intersection where the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail diverges from the Tully Trail.

Admission & Fees

Free to all.

Directions

Route 32
Royalston, MA 01331
Telephone: 978.249.4957
Email: central@thetrustees.org

Get directions on Google Maps.

From Rt. 2, take Exit 18, 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

Free trail map distributed from bulletin board in the parking area. Please understand that supplies periodically run out.

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.
  • Seasonal hunting is permitted.
  • Mountain biking is permitted on designated trails only.

 

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 incarnation – 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.

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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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