Past Meetup

FAN Hike: Purgatory Falls

This Meetup is past

10 people went


Let's hike the Purgatory Falls Brook trail. Its been almost two years since we were there last. It is recommended that you wear hiking boots and bring bug spray, suntan lotion and plenty of liquids. We will be meeting at the Lower Purgatory Falls Parking Lot. After we see the Lower Purgatory Falls, we can decide if we want to drive to Upper Purgatory Falls or hike from the Lower Purgatory Falls. I'm leaning to just hiking from the Lower Falls.

[b]About Purgatory Falls:[/b]

Purgatory is the name of the ½ mile long rocky gorge that forms a boundary between the towns of Mont Vernon and Lyndeborough. Black Brook runs through the ravine, drops roughly 50’ to form the upper falls. Purgatory Brook is a headwater stream for the Souhegan River, and falls into the Souhegan Watershed. Geology The gorge is close to a major fault one mile to the east. As the western wall block of the fault was dropping, large cracks developed in the granite bedrock. 200 million years of erosion widened and deepened these cracks to form the gorge. Water from melting glaciers drilled the potholes. The large boulders at the bottom of the gorge are the result of recent frost heaving. History On August 20, 1889, 2,000 people attended the inauguration of Purgatory Picnic; an annual event instigated by then owner, H.A. Hutchinson, which continued as an annual practice until 1909. The recreation spot included a catwalk viewing bridge, dancing pavilion, bowling alley and bandstand. These celebrations featured the release of a dam constructed above the falls to allow a spectacular flow of water through the falls for celebrants gathered. A practice today, that would definitely NOT be allowed. Logging operations destroyed the remains of these in the 50’s and 60’s but a few iron rods still exist in the rocks that once supported the bridges. It still remains a popular hiking spot for families on weekend outings. It is one of the wildest looking areas on the brook. The Souhegan Valley Land Trust purchased the 30-acre Purgatory Falls Conservancy are from Mrs. Charles Trow of Francestown in 1972; the land was given to the Mont Vernon Conservation Commission and is permanently protected by easement.


[b]Directions to Lower Falls:[/b]

Driving (one way from Nashua, NH): Distance: 16 miles Time: 30 minutes Parking: at MacLellan trailhead parking lot (Lower Falls) Roads: - Route 101A northwest - Route 101 west (for 5.2 miles) - North River Road north (for 0.7 miles) - Purgatory Road north (for 0.2 miles, trailhead parking is on the left)

[b]Directions to Upper Falls:[/b]

To the upper falls from Mont Vernon: Drive north on Francestown Tpk. 0.1 mile to Beech Hill Rd. Continue west 2.5 miles to stop sign. Continue south 0.3 mile to Purgatory Rd. Follow Purgatory Rd. 1.1 miles to Echo Valley Camp and park 100 feet to the right.