Posts Tagged ‘Sunday River’

Camp Savta 2014 – Day 4: Step Falls

My intrepid hikers, ready for the pleasant trail to Step Falls.

My intrepid hikers, ready for the pleasant trail to Step Falls.

On Day 4 we headed for Step Falls.  My husband and I discovered this wonderful nature preserve quite by happenstance this past Fall, as we were driving to Screw Augur Falls in Grafton Notch, which is a mere 5 minutes past Step Falls.

You are unlikely to find Step Falls in a tourist guidebook, although you’ll find it by searching on the internet.  Originally the land was owned privately by Mr. Fred Wight.  The 24-acre piece of land was deemed “too wondrous not to share” (much to the dismay of his descendants) and so, upon the owner’s death, it was bequeathed in 1962 to the Nature Conservancy and opened to the public.  That said, the conservancy does not want it to become a tourist mecca, so they’ve been rather demure about letting people know of Step Falls’ existence.  Only recently did they put a clearly marked sign at the road.

Just off of Rte. 26 and a short distance from Bethel and Sunday River ski resort, there is a parking area which leads to an easy wooded walking trail alongside a brook.  (If you hit Screw Augur Falls on Rte. 26, you’ve gone too far.)  As the trail ascends, it is possible to see the huge granite face that is part of the falls through the trees.  There are many sections to Step Falls and all have pools, flumes, natural slides, and cascades.  The 250′ total drop makes Step Falls one of Maine’s highest waterfalls.  Close supervision of children is necessary, as there are many sheer drops and some of the slides are pretty steep and slippery.  But there are also plenty of places that with a watchful eye,  are both safe and fun for children,

The water is extremely cold!  We went during a heat wave, when outside temperatures were 89 degrees F, so the ice-cold water felt refreshing and the kids didn’t want to leave.  We spent many hours exploring the different levels of the falls and many different pools and slides, and we still didn’t get to everything.  Even if you don’t want to get your feet wet, the views from the falls through the mountains surrounding Grafton Notch are not to be missed.  They are even nicer during leaf-peeping season (usually the first week of October), but by then the water is too cold to be safe for swimming.  Step Falls was by far the hands-down favorite of ALL the grandkids, and we’re talking an age spread between 2 – 13 years.  It’s not easy to find activities that are enjoyable for all ages, so we really felt we hit the jackpot with Step Falls.

The views into Grafton Notch from Step Falls are magnificent.

The views into Grafton Notch from Step Falls are magnificent.


Several different cascades, slides and pools to choose from kept all the kids busy for hours, despite the cold temperature of the water.







Some of the pools and potholes were very deep

Some of the pools and potholes were very deep