Kent Falls

One of Connecticut’s most beloved natural attractions, Kent Falls is a beautiful winding waterfall that drops down in stages that amount to 250 feet, over a quarter-mile stretch. The waterfall is located within Kent Falls State Park and features a grassy area with picnic tables. There is a steep but paved path that runs up the side of the waterfall and provides a great walk, which most kids or adults in average shape can easily manage. It is not far from downtown Kent, which is home to a variety of bookstores, shops and galleries. Prior to heading to the falls you can grab an excellent sandwich at the Panini Cafe.

Great Falls, Canaan

This waterfall along the Housatonic River is so mighty the surrounding village (Great Falls) was named after it. The 60-foot fall carries one of the highest volumes in the state and is truly awe-inspiring when flowing. However, according to ctwaterfalls.com, for most of the year much of the falls’ volume is diverted upstream by a hydroelectric plant, only roaring at its full power during springtime floods or a dam release.

Dean’s Ravine, Canaan

Canaan is also home to Dean’s Ravine. This fall was once part of the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail (AP), but in the 1980s the AP was rerouted west of the Housatonic River. Now the trail passing through Dean’s Ravine is part of a 26-mile half-loop off the main AP trail. Park at the intersection of Music Mountain and Cream Hill roads and enjoy a short walk to the ravine.

Roaring Brook Falls, Cheshire

Located on land owned and maintained by the Cheshire Land Trust, this waterfall boasts an eye-catching, 80-foot drop, and like all the waterfalls on this list, is particularly impressive after a heavy rain. Follow the trail to the falls, and if you’re up for more hiking, take the Blue-Blazed Quinnipiac Trail that runs along Prospect Ridge from the Cheshire and Prospect town line to the Naugatuck State Forest and Hamden’s Sleeping Giant State Park.

Wadsworth Falls

(Falls are located in Middlefield but park entrance is in Middletown)

Formed by a more-than-10-foot drop on the Coginchaug River, these falls can be viewed via a 1½-mile leisurely hike (or guests can park nearby). Named for Clarence C. Wadsworth, a noted scholar and linguist who fought to preserve the falls and its surrounding area, the park is steeped in history. According to the state, “the sluiceway of a textile mill remains by Wadsworth Falls in the southwest corner of the park. Nearby, one of the first pistol factories in Connecticut was operated during the 1800s by Simeon North, developer of the interchangeable parts system for firearms used in the Civil War. Gunpowder was made at the factory established by Jehosophat Starr at Powder Mill Pond in 1794, until the business literally blew up in 1892.”

Also Check Out

Here we highlight a few hidden-gem waterfalls within and just beyond the state line that may be harder to find and/or require more of a trek to enjoy.

Buttermilk Falls, Plymouth

This eye-catching series of falls can be found within a nature conservatory on Lane Hill Road. Follow the blue-marked Mattatuck Trail to this waterfall, which is 59 feet high, according to ctwaterfalls.com.

Enders Falls, Granby

Beloved by waterfall enthusiasts, this collection of multiple waterfalls along a quarter-mile stretch of river is consistently ranked as one of the most beautiful in the state. Find these falls on Route 219 West in Granby within Enders State Forest.

Campbell Falls, Norfolk/New Marlborough, Massachusetts

The falls themselves are not in Connecticut, but are found within the Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, which is a Connecticut state park that crosses into Massachusetts. State lines aside, this waterfall is a favorite of Connecticut hikers. Follow Route 272 north from Norfolk Center. Take a left onto Old Spaulding Road and the park is on the right.

Beyond the Border

Speaking of crossing state lines, Connecticut is close to some pretty spectacular falls. Bash Bish Falls is found in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, on the border, and is one of the most spectacular single-drop falls in the region. A bit farther afield you can find the beautiful oasis waterfall that is Awosting Falls, within Minnewaska State Park Preserve outside of New Paltz, New York, about an hour from Danbury. You can also view the awe-inspiring, cascading waterfall effect of the New Croton Dam in Croton-on-Hudson, New York. Though man-made, the dam has an eye-catching spillway that is so dramatic it invokes memories of Niagara Falls, albeit on a smaller scale.


Return to main page: Best Connecticut Spots for Fun on the Water

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University