Glendale Falls

Glendale Falls

Overview : Excellent falls! One of the finest in New England.
Location : Middlefield, MA
Stream   : Glendale Brook
Height   : 150-200 feet overall. Composed of many small cascades.
Finding  : Tricky. Bring a good map.
Access   : Easy. Does require a bit of a scramble to get to the bottom of the falls.
Swimming : There's a large pool at the bottom that is swimable.
Basking  : Excellent, especially in low water. Bring a picnic lunch.
Legal    : Owned by the Trustees of Reservations. Public access.


The description below gives the approach from Huntington. This is the approach I know best. It is the approach my parents always used.

  1. Take the Westfield exit off I-90 and leave Westfield on Rt. 20 going west. Drive to Huntington and there turn right across the river on state route 112.

  2. Immediately after crossing the bridge, take a sharp left turn onto Basket Street. The road doubles back alongside the bridge toward the river.

  3. This new road follows the river for some distance. After a minute or so there is a fork. Basket Street continues uphill to the right, but you should take the left branch here. At a point 1.5 miles outside of town there is another fork to the right that goes uphill. At that junction there is a sign that says "Welcome to the Skyline Trail." Take the uphill road. Follow that road for 2.5 miles. When it feels like it's getting near the top of the hill, there will be a right hand turn in a relatively open area of the road. Take that turn.

  4. The road shortly begins to descend the other side of the hill. It's very a long and dramatically straight descent. At the bottom of the hill, 2.1 miles from the turn at the top, the road turns toward the left and begins to parallel the Middle Branch of the Westfield River.

  5. Follow the river for 5.0 miles. Look for the crossing into Middlefield. There is a sign, but it's pretty inconspicuous. As I recall the road surface changes character at that point, but they were doing some repaving along there so I'm not sure what it's like now.

  6. In a relatively open area there will be a road coming down from the left. This occurs just before the main road crosses a stream (Glendale Brook!). There are very few side roads so you probably won't miss it. Take this left.

  7. The road climbs steeply and in less than a mile comes to the parking area for Glendale Falls. You won't miss it. There is a very obvious sign for the falls (the first you'll see).


This is one of the most fascinating waterfalls in New England. It's located on a back road in Middlefield rather far from anything. The falls themselves are owned by the Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts based conservation group. I've know about these falls for a long time. My parents brought me here when I was a child and I have returned often.

Glendale Falls is large. There is no single drop that's more than 10 feet, but the entire falls complex drops at least 150 feet overall -- maybe more. The stream that flows over the falls splits into many streamlets that each find their own way down a steep, rocky slope. In some places water rages through narrow channels. In other places it glides across wide, flat rock faces. In still other places it churns and tumbles down complex rock steps. Some of the streamlets flow over the open rock section of the falls. Other streamlets flow through the adjacent forest. Some streamlets carry significant amounts of water while others are just trickles.

The entire show flows eventually into a large, deep pool at the bottom of the falls. From there the stream continues on it's way to the Middle Branch of the Westfield River.

If you are the sort of person who likes to watch water snake and wind, Glendale Falls is for you. During the dry season, you can walk all over the rocks and get up close and personal to each little streamlet as it finds a path down to the pool. When there is more water in the stream, it's more difficult to get around on the rocks, but there are more falls to look at in compensation.

This is an excellent waterfall for all seasons. It is a "must see" if you are touring waterfalls in New England.


Sunday, July 7, 1996

Today my daugher Hillary and I visited these falls again. I was surprised at how little water was in the stream. This has been a very rainy summer and most of the streams in Vermont are filled to the brim. Yet at Glendale Falls, it was possible to scramble over the rocks and jump over the stream with ease (in many places).

There were a lot of people here today as well. I don't remember ever seeing it so crowded. Many people were swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls. It wasn't a particularly hot day, but the water didn't seem overly cold either.

Friday, April 5, 1996
Glendale Falls

Today I visited Glendale Falls with my friend John and his girlfriend. I wanted to get some better pictures to replace the black and white ones I took last year. The falls were in excellent form today. The water was high. Not only did that make the main falls impressive, but it also filled every minor streamlet to capacity.

April 14, 1995

Today I went with my daughter, Hillary. The stream was full; we couldn't even cross it at the bottom. We climbed down to the pool over moderate footing and took a good look at all the various angles we could.

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© Copyright 1998 by Peter Chapin.
Last Revised: July 15, 1998