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Eastern Leg of Tully Trail Exploration

  • Aug 24, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

After completing the western leg of the Tully Trail recently, I'd love to explore the eastern leg of this trail which sounds lovely with it's waterfalls, the lake and Tully Mountain.

The entire Tully Trail is 22 miles long and consists of both the eastern and western legs of the trail. Perhaps the eastern leg is 12 miles long considering the sign from Tully Mountain for the western leg said Royalston Falls was 10 miles away.

This is a long hike but it does have other points at which anyone joining me can decide to complete their hike if it is too long. We will also being hiking the Tully Mountain trail which probably adds another 1 1/2 miles. If we visit Doane's Falls, we'll be adding slightly more mileage.

Please see the information on the website if you want to arrange a shorter hike and post this when you RSVP, including the point at which you plan to end your hike. Everyone can kind of design their own hike or go with the flow and explore the whole thing with me.

What I'd like to do is assemble and park most of our cars at the Tully Lake Campground but spot a couple at Royalston Falls(our destination)  and a couple more cars at Tully Mountain(our starting point).

There is a wonderful shelter at Royalston Falls and also a campground for anyone choosing to stay overnight. Please state this when you RSVP as well as which place you plan to stay. I plan on staying at the shelter overnight if folks will be joining me. Anyone choosing to stay at the campground must make their own arrangements.

I'd like to hope for a pace of 1 1/2- 2 mph for our hike with 20-30 minute breaks for lunch and dinner(if we have not reached our destination by that time) as well as a couple of other shorter breaks for folks.....comfort is important and so is staying together as a group (or at least small groups if anyone wants a shorter hike) so stopping for essential things like needing water, using a tree, great and we will all stop if someone states the need.

Below is some information on the area along the Tully Trail.

If anyone has further questions, I'd be happy to help.

Some thoughts....Overnight gear could be stored in vehicles at the campground or Royalston Falls. There would be an additional hike to the parking area at Royalston Falls though so I would suggest the campground and carrying from there. We could also leave some coolers with food in cars.

Please come prepared for this lengthy hike with adequate water and food. Also please let me know via email prior to this date if you have any type of medical condition which I should be aware of and a treatment plan if you may need help in an emergency.

You must be physically capable of hiking approximately 12-15 miles. We do not yet know the exact distance or how strenuous this hike will be. It is an exploration. Come join the fun...

Tully Trail Map:

About Royalston Falls

Follow a descending trail that leads to a deep, ancient gorge carved by prehistoric glacial meltwater to falls that plunge 45 feet into a basin.

What makes Royalston Falls a special place?
We think it’s the remote location of the waterfalls – well worth the 0.8-mile descent to the edge a half-hidden ravine! Carved over the ages by Falls Brook, the boisterous cascade plunges 45 feet into an icy pool, sending up a misty spray through the thick forest hugging the gorge. A shelter on the trail offers a great resting spot.

As you make your way into the ravine, the dramatic falls remain hidden within an emerald cloak of dense forest and ferns. The flume appears suddenly, as if to offer a sensory reward for your exertions. In winter, freezing spray creates a fantastic landscape of ice.

Please note: The trek is not an easy one – and can be very wet in places, so you should use extreme caution when walking here.

The Forest’s Comeback
From the time of the first wave of European settlers in the 17th century, much of the Massachusetts forest was cut down for agricultural fields and pastures, firewood, and timber. Such wholesale land clearing continued into the 19th century until New England farmers abandoned their fields and headed west in search of richer, less rocky soil.

Today, the resurgent forest continues to slowly erase all remnants of human activity from more than a century ago.

But at this reservation, the forces of nature manifest themselves in ways other than just flora reclaiming its own; Falls Brook not only carved the flume but also fashioned a series of natural bridges through the bedrock just upstream.

A large group shelter, which overlooks Falls Brook, is available for overnight hikers. The shelter is located on the reservation near the intersection where the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail diverges from the Tully Trail.

A Tale of Two Trails
The primary access route to the falls is along a short stretch of the Tully Trail, a 22-mile loop encircling the scenic Tully Valley. But this 0.8-mile pathway down to Falls Brook is also part of the much longer Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. The M-M Trail extends for 117 miles from the border with Connecticut near Springfield to Mount Monadnock in southwest New Hampshire.

1.5 miles of trails. Moderate hiking, strenuous in places. The trail is rugged and wet in places, so use extreme caution when hiking.

The reservation is a link in the Tully Trail and the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour.

Interested in camping near Royalston Falls? Check out the Tully Lake Campground, also in Royalston.


Doane's Falls
Royalston, MA

Jacobs Hill
Royalston, MA

Tully Lake Campground
Royalston, MA

Jacobs Hill & Spirit Falls

Warwick Rd., Rte. 68, Royalston, MA

Dramatic waterfall and ridgeline vista.


Jacobs Hill is one of the gems of the Tully Trail, affording magnificent views of the Tully River and Long Pond, as well as of Tully Mountain, Mt. Grace, and the Berkshire Hills to the west. By following the rectangular yellow blazes of the Tully Trail one way and round yellow blazes the other, visitors complete a 2-mile loop that passes a lovely swamp along the Tully River. Halfway along is Spirit Falls, where a stream splashes dramatically down a steeply angled slope to Long Pond. (A trail down the slope at this point is strenuous.) The source of Spirit Falls is Little Pond, a classic bog of open water ringed by sphagnum moss and then by spruce and tamarack; the bog is visible from a pull-off a short way south on Rte. 68.

About Doane's Falls

Descend a short streamside trail and get an up-close experience with a raucous series of plunging falls.

What makes Doane’s Falls a special place?
We think it’s the pastoral quality of a reservation that showcases a quiet country stream as it turns turbulent. The waterfalls on Lawrence Brook just before it enters Tully Lake indeed grab one’s attention, both visually and audibly. The falls treat visitors to a bit of nature’s frothy frenzy, if not fury.

As Lawrence Brook drops and swirls, its water continually shapes mid-stream boulders, flat granite slabs and small islands. A half-mile trail leads down both sides of the stream, offering great vantage points.

Just upstream awaits Coddings Meadow, a quiet clearing amid surrounding woodlands which offers fine views of the brook in its quiet-water state, pre-plunge. The meadow also serves as an easy launch site for canoeists and kayakers looking to explore the upper stretches of the intimate river. Paddlers will also pass the occasional beaver dam as the river wends through a red maple swamp.

A half-mile trail leads down one side of the stream. Moderate walking, strenuous in places. A three-quarter-mile woods road leads to the 14-acre Coddings Meadow along side of Lawrence Brook. Doane’s Falls is a link in the Tully Trail.

An emergency telephone is located at the reservation’s main entrance next to the upper falls.

The Trustees of Reservations manages the Tully Lake Campground on Doane Hill Road just west of Doane's Falls. Camping is not permitted at Doane's Falls itself.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1 hour, 2 hours if also visiting Coddings Meadow.

This hike is also posted with the Friends in Motion- Northern Central MA Group and our Facebook page which can be accessed by the logo to the left of the home page on our Meetup site.

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  • Yvonne

    Both hikes for Saturday, 8/24, sound great ... keep the posts coming.

    August 18, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I posted this awhile back but since then have trouble again with backpack syndrome so just doing shorter hikes for now and mostly staying local. If anyone else would like to lead this hike, please do let me know, otherwise this should be considered cancelled. It's also still posted on our Facebook page.


    August 5, 2013

  • Terry R.

    Hmmm.... Should I put Lil Debi on stand-by? I'm hoping by the end of August I will have my sea legs (or trail legs) so that I can finish this trail. We're halfway there already! I'm going to say "probably" for now. Topographically speaking, this is a pretty "flat" hike, or gently rolling with the exception of Spirit Falls climb and the climb out of Royalston Falls. Unlike the western leg which traversed 4 small mountains, this one shouldn't "cramp" my style!

    June 22, 2013

    • Terry R.

      And you are correct lenghwise. 3.7 miles from Tully Mountain kiosk to the campground parking lot, 6.4 miles from the campground parking lot to Royalston falls, and another 9/10ths of a mile roughly from the falls to the parking lot. Just over 11 miles and if you add Doanes you can add another mile to the total.

      June 22, 2013

    • Terry R.

      Ah, but her wee little legs!!!

      June 24, 2013

  • Claudia L.

    I'd like to stay the night.

    1 · June 21, 2013

    • Claudia L.

      Hello Cheryl, at the shelter ;)

      June 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds long but fun! Not sure if ill stay the night yet, ill update when closer to August

    1 · June 21, 2013

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