||2.5 / 5.0 stars (Good)
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
||Cascades below several dams
||176-foot total drop (see notes)
||Very large (although it's dam controlled and water flow is typically limited)
||Upper and middle falls are visible from roadside; roadside or 0.4 mile one-way to lower falls (see notes)
||Easy to all falls
||None for middle and upper falls; 10 minutes one-way to lower falls (see notes)
||Negligible to all falls
|WHEN TO VISIT:
||April to May
||Not Possible and/or Prohibited
||2015: Page 19, E-1 (the falls are actually marked on the ME atlas)
||Yes (all three sets of falls can be seen from roadside)
|COST TO VISIT:
||Free (as of 2017)
|LENS TO BRING:
||Standard (35-70mm) and/or short-telephoto (70-105mm)
||Pennacook Falls, Amoscoggn Falls, Pennycook Falls
|| Upper falls: 44.539167, -70.543833
Middle falls: 44.543000, -70.546333
Lower falls: 44.548000, -70.547333
||Upper falls: 200° excluding declination (the falls face northwest)
Middle falls: 200° excluding declination (the falls face northwest)
Lower falls: 170° excluding declination (the falls face north)
|INCLUDED IN BOOK?:
||Yes, the falls are included as a full chapter within the guidebook
Originally referred to as Pennacook Falls or New Pennacook Falls, Rumford Falls is chain of massive drops of the Androscoggin River. Although the waterfall drops a total of 176 feet, dams have split the once continuous cascading waters into several distinct sections.
The beauty of the scenic upper falls ensured it a spot in this guide. Worthy of drawing the attention of any form of artist, Rumford Falls is quite spectacular in strength and setting when it is actually flowing. The problem is that the dam often diverts most of the water. The artificial lake below offers popular fishing for three species of trout and landlocked salmon. The best time to visit these falls is during the spring snowmelt as the water flow often reduces to a trickle during the summer months because of the dams.
The lower falls are natural and feature cascades that drop a total of about 20 feet. These wide cascades are visible both upstream and downstream from the Portland St bridge.
A 20-foot statue of Paul Bunyan stands tall at the parking area for the middle and upper falls. This is a fun sight to see for those who appreciate roadside attractions.
The middle and upper falls are within 0.1 mile of each other, and they are both clearly visible from both the parking area at J. Eugene Boivin Park and the sidewalks along the bridge on Bridge St (ME 108), which is only 100 feet east of the parking lot. The upper falls are seen off in the distance across a reservoir, and they are directly beside a dam. Most of the water gets diverted from the upper falls, but they sometimes flow well in the springtime. When they are flowing, it's pretty sight. The 15-foot middle falls are just upstream of the bridge on Bridge St, and they are essentially a low-angle concrete dam where water often freely cascades over it.
The lower falls and cascades are 0.4 mile downstream of the middle falls. To reach these falls, walk along the sidewalks heading in a northern direction towards the town of Mexico along US-2 east with the river on your right. When you reach a traffic circle with the Rumford Public Library on your right, take the first exit onto Portland St. There are cascades both directly above and below the bridge over the river, and there are sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.
This portion of the falls are natural and they will usually have a decent flow to them. You can also park on a side street near Portland St if you don't want to walk from the J. Eugene Boivin Park (although the walk from there is very easy).
Chisholm Park is found on the west side of the river between the middle and lower falls, but only offers limited views. The views from Bridge St and Portland St are far superior.
If the upper falls are flowing well, you can also walk a dirt road upstream on the east side of the river from Bridge St to views from closer-up.
The best parking area for the falls is the J. Eugene Boivin Park, which sits just 100 feet west of the Androscoggin River and the junction of US-2 and ME 108 (Bridge St) in Rumford. This parking area is currently marked with signs for "Tourist Information" and "Scenic Falls Viewing". Both the middle and upper falls are visible from this small park.
The lower falls are 0.4 mile downstream from this spot, but there is no official place to park for them and it's easy
to walk there from the middle and upper falls parking area anyway.
Parking at the Rumford Public Library beside the lower falls is strictly prohibited.
To get to Rumford, take US-2 east from Bethel or US-2 west from Farmington.
UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION
If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates
the lower falls of Rumford Falls, Maine
the upper falls and dam of Rumford Falls, Maine
looking downstream from the lower falls
roadside attraction at the trailhead for Rumford Falls
INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?
The 3rd edition of the New England Waterfalls guidebook contains 552-pages of detailed information on hundreds of waterfalls throughout all corners of New England. This 3rd edition has been completely updated and it is the first to be printed in FULL COLOR! Click on the image below to explore some sample pages of the guidebook on Amazon.com.
TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES
Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
- DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
- CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
- LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
- PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
- BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
- SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
- CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
- PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
- DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
- WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
- HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
- DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
- WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
- SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.
Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
- Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
- Waterfalls of Maine = link
- Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
- Waterfalls of Vermont = link
- Best Waterfalls in New England = link
- Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
- Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
- Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
- Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
- Waterfall Photography Tips = link
OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS
In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
- Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
- Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
- Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
WATERFALLS ON FACEBOOK
Join the growing communities of waterfall aficionados on Facebook! You can share your photographs, follow the adventures of other waterfall hunters, and find new places to explore:
- Request to join the "New England Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "New Hampshire Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Waterfalls of the United States" community > link
And if you'd like to follow the New England Waterfalls page on Facebook, click here.
ASK A QUESTION / LEAVE A COMMENT / PROVIDE AN UPDATE:
Feel free to ask a question, leave a comment, and/or provide an update relevant to this waterfall below.
(your desktop/laptop browser may block this section - try your smartphone or tablet if you don't see a comment section below)