Website, hiker’s guide describe Maine waterfalls

Posted Sept. 09, 2010, at 9:54 a.m.

Need a little more motivation to get out hiking this fall? The heat and biting bugs are gone, the foliage is gorgeous, and there could be a cool, sparkling waterfall at the end of the trail!

A local man’s hobby has been parlayed into a helpful hiker’s guide to 37 waterfalls in southern Piscataquis County. Eric Stumpfel of Sangerville discovered many scenic waterfalls while out hiking and fishing, so he created “A Waterfall Guide to South-ern Piscataquis County.”

Some waterfalls are just off the roadway; others require bushwacking. Most are along established trails. At the time the CD was produced, Stumpfel had photographed nearly 50 waterfalls; 37 made it into the guide.

The guide details about 80 miles of trails leading to 37 waterfall sites. All of the hikes are day trips; each is graded for difficulty. The guide also features photographs. Copies of the CD are sold through the Southern Piscataquis County Chamber of Commerce. Call (207) 564-7533 or visit www.piscataquischamber.com.

To date, Stumpfel has confirmed the existence of 70 waterfalls in 50 locations. Some of his digital waterfall prints are on display at the Monson Community Center. Call the Monson Town Office at (207) 997-3641, as community center hours are subject to change. Stumpfel has also posted photographs and some trail maps on the Flickr photo sharing Web site. There’s a link to his Flickr collection on the Chamber Web site or go directly to Flickr and search works by “ems18.”

The PCEDC’s Piscataquis Tourism Development Authority is assessing southern Piscataquis waterfalls to see if a tour complete with signage, adequate parking, good trails, a map, and a Web site might be developed, ac-cording to Bryan Wentzell of the Appalachian Mountain Club and the PTDA chair.

Piscataquis is not the only county blessed with scenic waterfalls, according to www.newenglandwaterfalls.com. Stop by The Falls Rest Area north of Jack-man off Route 201 to view a series of drops totaling about 45 feet. Another Somerset County cascade is Heald Stream Falls in Bald Mountain Township. The short hike might pro-vide some good wildlife watching, and there are several swimworthy pools in the stream.

Houston Brook Falls is also just minutes off Route 201. There are several places to swim along the stream, including a rectangular channel just beneath the 32-foot falls. Perhaps the best known of Somerset’s falls is Moxie, which at its steepest plunges 90 feet down. To reach Moxie, turn onto Lake Moxie Road at The Forks and about a mile in, watch for signs directing hikers to the parking lot on the left. The hike in starts out easy, but gets tougher toward the base of the falls and takes about half an hour.

Franklin County’s Smalls Falls in Township E rates a perfect five stars with newenglandwaterfalls.com. Turn into the Smalls Falls rest area just south of Rangeley and park toward the end of the picnic area. Just off the picnic area, a footbridge spans the Sandy River and gives visitors a panoramic view of the lower falls. A short hike takes visitors uphill past a series of horsetail falls and cascades.

Angel Falls, off Route 17 in Township D, sends the waters of Mountain Brook plunging 90 feet. Waterfall aficionados have been arguing for years about whether the honor of Maine’s tallest falls goes to Moxie or Angel.

Dunn Falls in Andover North Surplus is a five-star water attraction in Oxford County. A fairly difficult hike is required to take in the plunging 80-foot lower falls and 70 feet of accumulated horsetails and fanning water of the upper falls. Access is off the East B Hill Road.

Screw Auger Falls on the Bear River in Grafton Notch State Park is a popular hiking destination. Coos Canyon Falls on the Swift River in Byron is another well-known Oxford County waterfall worth checking out – especially during fall foliage season!

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