This is another popular location for photographers and with good reason. Not only do we have an impressive waterfall, but the brook itself is gorgeous, winding through dense groves of mountain laurel. The falls themselves are natural, but lie below a man-made dam which once held back water for the Wilton town reservoir. The reservoir is non-functional these days, but the pond still fills each spring. At the turn of the 20th century these falls, along with others in the vicinity, were popular locations for picnics, swimming and outdoor relaxation. Now the property is largely host to photographers and snowmobilers.
Parking is available in a small turn out and along the road. There are trails on both sides, but the falls are downstream so take that one. A short walk will bring you to them and the roar of the water gets louder with each step. Before you get to the falls it’s worth taking the time to walk up the side trails that lead to the brook above the falls where you’ll discover some really beautiful cascades. Keep an eye out for a large cellar hole on your right as you approach the defunct reservoir.
The falls themselves are accessible via a couple of side paths as well, one at the head of the falls just below the dam and another further down which will bring you to the middle of the falls. They are large, sprawling and impossible to photograph in their entirety while staying on public land. You’ll notice houses on the far side so please respect the rights of the owners who continue to allow public access to this beautiful waterway. As you continue downstream you will encounter many smaller tributaries, many of them hosting spring runoff which eventually run dry in high summer.
In addition to the water you will find a number of wildflowers including pink lady slipper, painted trillium and mountain laurel. I haven’t explored all the trails, but both sides are worth trekking if you have the time. The upstream trail takes you through mixed hardwood forest and skirts a marshy area where Mill brook widens and becomes a valuable ecosystem for wildlife.
Even further upstream is the still active Frye’s Measure Mill. Taking its name from its second owner and that it produced measures; vessels made to the exact standards of measures in five sizes, the smallest being one quart, then two quart, four quart, single peck, and one-half bushel. The mills still uses the power of the brook to create Shaker-style boxes.
How to get there –
Head for the town of Wilton, NH
From Route 101 West bear right onto Route 31 and continue through the town center, bearing left onto Burton Highway and left again onto Issac Frye Highway. Parking is just past Putnam Road which is on your left.
More photos can be found here.
Happy trails and remember to carry out what you carry in (and pick up after those who don’t) and please leash your dogs! Also please respect local rules and regulations.