On the Road to Angel Falls

On the Road to Angel Falls

angel Falls maineMy handout from the Chamber of Commerce describes Angel Falls as one of Maine’s tallest Waterfalls. It claims to be 90 ft. We saw Bash Bish Falls at 60-80 feet and that was pretty impressive. Time to top that one with a 90 ft drop. The directions were pretty specific. “Turn right on to a unnamed gravel road (adjacent to a large open field)” Now that’s pretty clear don’t you think? believe it or not, I found it!

Cross the Swift River

This was starting to look like a real adventure. One of the reason I got an SUV was to be One Lane Bridge over the Swift River, Maineable to navigate the back roads of the places I wanted to visit, like Maine, New Hampshire and Duxbury Beach. (that’s another story). I turned onto an unnamed gravel road next to a large open field and there was a one lane bridge over the Swift River. This matched my directions perfectly. That bridge look pretty questionable but I tried it anyway.

Bemis Road

Bemis Rd, Maine, A dirt Road with RutsMy directions then told me to take a right on Bemis Road. That’s a little confusing because there is no right and I thought I was on Bemis Road when I went over the bridge. No worries, I’ll just keep going a little farther and see where it takes me. After passing a cute little house surrounded by lilac bushes the road made a sharp right. A hand lettered sign said “Gate Closed” 1 mile.  I continued on. The road was bumpy, rutted and filled with pot holes. The deepest holes had sticks standing upright in them as a warning, or so I assume. A friendly Maine driver waved at me so I pulled over. He assured me I was headed in the right direction and told me to ignore the “private” signs and “no trespassing”! he said it was beautiful out there and I might even see a moose.

Angel Falls to the Left

I bumped along what seemed like forever. I kept reminding myself this was why I have an Road to Angel Falls, MaineSUV as we lurched over another set of ruts.  Finally, as I passed a car parked on the shoulder, I saw a sign with an arrow, Angel Falls. It pointed left but as I gazed at the dirt road down the hill my stomach almost flipped. I felt like I was at the top of a roller coaster about to start down! Yikes! I don’t do roller coasters!

High Water at the Lower Falls of the Swift River

High Water at the Lower Falls

After leaving Sabbaday Falls I headed east on the Kancamagus Highway. The Swift River runs parallel the the Kancamgus  on your left as we headed down the mountains. The water was high and really rushing. I actually drove right by the Lower Falls because I wasn’t expecting to be able to see them right there from the road. A but further down the Kanc I found a place to turn around so I could back track.


Kayaking The Swift River

On my way back to the Lower Falls I passed a trail head with a number of trucks and vans parked by the road. Some had kayaks piled next to them but I didn’t see anyone around.  A couple of corners later I could see the  Lower Falls ahead and the kayaks were explained. There were at least a half dozen brightly colored kayaks being put in just below the Falls. They must be putting in here then kayaking downstream to meet the vans. I hurried to park because I wanted to get some pictures but in the few minutes  it took me to pull in the kayakers were long gone and out of sight.


Lower Falls Picnic area

The parking area is beautifully maintained, fully paved and lined. There is a large visitor center with restrooms. The trails are really just short paths over to the river bank. A large wooden deck extends over the river providing a great view of the falls. During low water in the summer people swim here. But clearly the wild water from the spring run off makes it too cold and the current too strong for swimming at this time of the year.


If You Go

The lower falls are not a world class waterfall by any stretch of the imagination. They are made up of a series of ledges and steps. In low water there are lots pools and beaches and people flock here to swim. It was fun to see the water volume giving these quiet, gentle falls a bit of life and energy. Definitely needs a return trip in summer or fall to see a different side of this popular destination.