Smalls Falls: A Gem Along Maine’s Route 4
Located in northern Maine, Smalls Falls has consistently been one of my favorite places on earth to visit, no matter the season. Whether you’re sliding down a nature-made water slide to cool off in the heat of summer, cheering on adventurers kayaking 25’ waterfalls in the wet swell of spring, or being dazzled by the beauty of the snowy fractals lining the falls, Smalls Falls is the perfect place to relax in the glory of nature.
Get ready for a super fun waterfall hike at Smalls Falls! This place has it all – multiple levels to explore and awesome pools for swimming. An easy and family-friendly adventure that promises a day of unforgettable memories.
Though no specific hours are posted, this is a daytime stop. Low light plus slippery wet rocks over a waterfall is a recipe for disaster. Plenty of parking spots and large covered picnic areas make this great for large groups. There are also some (not-so-clean) restrooms as well – but I say something’s better than nothing (maybe bring some hand sanitizer).
Once you park and head towards the back of the lot, there are steps leading down to the falls area. Head across the bridge for a picturesque view of the bottom 3 falls, and take a right to find the steep gnarly trail leading to the top. There is both a wooded trail and a stony gorge trail, both with their own advantages. The wooded trail has a lush environment that allows for exploration and examination of dozens of types of mushrooms (Careful – Some mushrooms are extremely poisonous!), trees, and wildlife.
The rocky trail gives a better view of the falls themselves, and leads into areas were you can take dip at the bottom of each fall. There is a fence along this trail, and for good reason – the rocks can be extremely slippery. It’s against this fence where supporters gather for the annual Smalls to the Wall, in which talented athletes kayak these treacherous falls (truly impressive, bucket-list item!). Multiple small trails meander throughout the woods: some leading over to Chandler Mill Stream (colorful gorges and swift rushing river make this a great photo stop) and some lead up over a dirt road to reveal more of the picturesque rocky Sandy River.
For those unable to make the climb up to the top of the falls, there is a slow moving rocky stream perfect for little ones to splash in – just step down the stump step ladder before the bridge. If you go swimming in this bottom pool, you’re able to climb up the rocks in the area to the right of the fall and explore the pool behind. There’s even a nature-made water slide leading back into the bottom pool (I mean, come on, how cool is that!).
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There are a total of 5 falls, each with their own unique quirks and charm, each pulling you deeper into love with this place. Whether you’re a mycologist, thrill seeker, nature lover, or just a motorist needing a quick place to relax – Smalls Falls has this unparalleled ability to bring everyone into the same state of curiosity and wonderment.
Bringing pets to Smalls Falls is allowed, but there are a few important guidelines to keep in mind to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors. Pets must be kept on a leash at all times to prevent them from wandering and disturbing other visitors or the local wildlife. It’s also crucial to clean up after your pet and properly dispose of their waste in designated receptacles to maintain the cleanliness of the area. Additionally, be considerate of other visitors and make sure your pet’s behavior is controlled and respectful. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help create a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone, including your furry companions, as you explore the beauty of Smalls Falls.
Smalls Falls Trail
Smalls Falls offers more than just stunning waterfalls and abundant flora and fauna—it also provides an excellent opportunity for hiking enthusiasts to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. With a variety of trails to choose from, hikers can embark on an adventure that suits their preferences and fitness levels.
The 0.5-mile out-and-back trail near Phillips, Maine, is a popular choice for hikers. Considered an easy route, it takes an average of 11 minutes to complete. This trail is great for hiking, providing a leisurely stroll that allows you to take in the picturesque surroundings at a comfortable pace. From the trailhead, you’ll venture into a world of natural wonders, meandering through lush forests, crossing footbridges, and following the path along the Sandy River and Chandler Mill Stream.
For those seeking a bit more challenge, the steep and gnarly trail leading to the top of the falls is a thrilling option. As you navigate the trail, be prepared for some steep sections and the occasional tree root to maneuver around. This trail offers a more adventurous hiking experience, rewarding you with stunning views of the falls and the opportunity to witness the cascades from different vantage points.
The trails at Smalls Falls offer a chance to connect with the natural world and appreciate the intricate beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you choose the wooded trail, with its lush greenery and fascinating mushrooms, or the stony gorge trail, which provides a closer look at the falls themselves, each path offers its own unique allure.
As with any hiking adventure, it’s important to come prepared. Wear sturdy footwear that provides good traction, as some sections of the trails can be slippery. Bring along sufficient water to stay hydrated, especially during warmer months. Don’t forget to carry a map or use a reliable navigation app to ensure you stay on the designated trails.
While hiking, always prioritize your safety. Be mindful of your surroundings and exercise caution, particularly near the waterfalls. Avoid climbing wet cliffs or embankments, as this can be extremely dangerous. Stay on designated paths and respect any safety barriers or fences in place, which are there to ensure your well-being.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting to explore the world of hiking, Smalls Falls offers a range of trails that cater to various skill levels and interests. So lace up your hiking boots, grab your gear, and embark on an adventure through this captivating landscape, where the wonders of nature await at every turn.
What’s Nearby Smalls Falls
Surrounded by natural beauty, Smalls Falls provides easy access to several nearby locations that are worth exploring. Just a short distance away, Height of Land offers a scenic overlook with panoramic views of the mountains, forests, and lakes, providing an ideal setting for capturing stunning photographs. For outdoor enthusiasts, Mt. Blue State Park beckons with its vast wilderness, featuring a network of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, and the opportunity to conquer the summit of Mt. Blue for breathtaking vistas.
If you’re seeking a different adventure, Coos Canyon awaits with its sparkling waters and captivating rock formations along the Swift River, inviting visitors to swim, fish, or simply revel in the natural splendor of this picturesque gorge. Another must-visit destination in the area is Moxie Falls, a majestic waterfall known for its impressive 90-foot drop, surrounded by a lush forested landscape. With its cascading beauty and peaceful ambiance, Moxie Falls is a true gem for nature lovers and provides a memorable experience for those who venture to witness its grandeur. There’s also Gulf Haagas nearby, offers a serene retreat where visitors can immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature, surrounded by lush forests, pristine lakes, and an abundance of wildlife. With these nearby attractions, your visit to Smalls Falls becomes a gateway to a world of outdoor exploration and unforgettable experiences.
Smalls Falls Parking Information
Parking at Smalls Falls is convenient and readily available for visitors. Upon arrival, you’ll find plenty of parking spots located near the rest area and picnic area. The parking area is well-maintained and offers ample space for vehicles of various sizes. It ensures that you can easily access the falls and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. Whether you’re visiting as part of a large group or arriving in your own vehicle, you can expect to find suitable parking options to accommodate your needs.