9 Must-See Waterfalls in Maine You Can Hike To

Posted by
Liz Dengler
February 03, 2022
Updated September 25, 2023

maine waterfall hikes
Photo: Shutterstock

Known for its craggy shores and rugged, dense forests, Maine also has some of the most amazing waterfalls in New England.

A popular tour of  Maine is to do a waterfall tour through the countryside over several days to a week.

If you’re looking for a relaxing but beautiful trip to Maine, consider checking out some of these top waterfalls scattered across the state.

Maine waterfalls you want to visit

1. Angel Falls

angel falls maine
Photo: Flickr

​​Why you should go: A remote but easily accessible trail to one of Maine’s tallest waterfalls.

  • Nearest town: Township D
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 250 feet
  • Waterfall height: 90 feet

Angel Falls, a 90-foot plunge, is one of the most incredible waterfalls in Maine. In the spring and early summer, when water flow is at its highest, the cascade forms the shape of angel wings. Following an easy to moderate trail that is only about a half-mile each way, Angel Falls is a reasonable trip for almost any hiker; however, keep in mind that the stream crossings could become impassable during high flow. Plan your outing accordingly!

While you’re in the area, there is plenty of other stuff to explore in the Rangley Lakes Region. Spend some time hiking other areas in the area, including Height of Land (which provides one of the best views in the area), Coos Canyon (another small, 15-foot cascade), and Rangley Lake State Park.

Related Read: 6 Amazing Waterfalls in The Adirondacks You Don’t Want to Miss

2. Small Falls

small falls maine
Photo: Larry Miller

​​Why you should go: A remote but easily accessible trail to one of Maine’s tallest waterfalls.

  • Nearest town: Township E
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: .5 mile
  • Elevation gain: 30 feet
  • Waterfall height: 54 feet

If you’re doing a waterfall tour in Maine, just a few miles down the road from Angel Falls is the “gorges” Small Falls. A beautiful, 54-foot in total cascade, Small Falls has a series of falls and pools tucked into a narrow and colorful gorge. With numerous picnic spots, places to sit and relax in the gorge, and pools to swim in, Small Falls is a great place to spend a summer afternoon. A rather unassuming spot since the trailhead is located at a rest area, this hike is a perfect stop for the family.

Just down the road from the rest area is Rangley Lake State Park, a popular park with camping, water activities, and plenty of trails nearby, and is a great place to use as your base camp.

Related Read: 12 Glamping Escapes in Maine for Your Next Adventure

3. Moxie Falls

moxie falls maine
Photo: Jon Bilous

Why you should go: A short walk via a beautifully maintained trail to a tall plunge waterfall.

  • Nearest town: West Forks
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation gain: 225 feet
  • Waterfall height: 90 feet

Particularly gorgeous during autumn when the falls are hemmed in by leaves ablaze in color, Moxie Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in Maine. The trail is pretty short and, given its popularity, is well-maintained, making this a perfect spot to bring the kids. There are even some swimming opportunities; just be careful as this is NOT recommended for cliff jumping.

Just south of the falls is the popular Bigelow Preserve set on the picturesque Flagstaff Lake. The preserve has an extensive trail system, great lakeshore access, campgrounds, and excellent boating and canoe camping opportunities.

Related Read: 14 Best Hikes in Maine for Exploring the Great Outdoors

4. Dunn Falls

dunn falls hike maine
Photo: Chris Sanfino

Why you should go: Explore several falls and cascades along the West Branch Ellis River

  • Nearest town: Newry
  • Difficulty: Easy / Moderate
  • Distance: 1.9 miles
  • Elevation gain: 400 feet
  • Waterfall height: 70-80 feet

The Dunn Falls hike is a two-mile loop trail full of surprises and adventure. As you traverse along the trail, in the beginning, you may not expect to find much along the way. And if you don’t look carefully, you might not. The lower falls, about halfway along the trail, are tucked back off a light side trail. Keep an eye out, so you don’t miss the turn.

You’ll need to wander up creek and rock hop a little to get the best view and to appreciate the 80-foot tall Lower Dunn Falls fully. If that wasn’t enough, continue up the creek to appreciate several cascades, pools, and the 70-foot horsetail Upper Dunn Falls, the perfect way to end the hike.

After exploring the falls, take a swing down towards Grafton Notch State Park. Get out and explore the Mahoosuc Range via miles of trails. The area is also immensely popular in the winter for skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing. Also, check out the popular Screw Auger Falls!

Related Read: 10 Super & Secluded Maine Cabin Rentals

5. Step Falls

step falls maine
Photo: Flickr

Why you should go: A very short out and back to a swimming hole and falls

  • Nearest town: Newry
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 225 feet
  • Waterfall height: 250 feet

Right on the edge of Grafton Notch State Park, Step Falls Preserve is an often overlooked spot, as most people just cruise on by — but you don’t want to miss it! Step Falls is a chain of cascades and horsetails that drop along the length of Wight Brook. In the spring, the falls and cascades can be quite impressive with meltwater, but in the summer, when the falls are smaller, this spot makes for a wonderful swimming hole on a hot day.

Other than Grafton Notch, it’s worth visiting or staying at Sunday River. An epic ski resort in the winter, Sunday River is also an amazing place to explore in the summer. With mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and scenic lift rides.

Related Read: The 9 Best Hikes Near Portland, Maine

6. Grand Falls

grand falls maine
Photo: Lois Smith

Why you should go: A challenge to access region with gorgeous river and waterfall.

  • Nearest town: Township 3
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • Waterfall height: 40 feet

Set on the Dead River, Grand Falls is a 100-foot-wide block-style waterfall that drops 40 feet. The falls take a short walk (or a long hike) to get to but are incredibly scenic. The upstream dam heavily impacts the water flow over the falls. The trail system in the area is quite extensive and littered with overlooks, landmarks, and beautiful views along the Dead River.

If you’re looking to extend your trip, plan to stay in the Grand Falls Hut, the northernmost (and the most remote and secluded) hut in the system. As such, it is a great sport for backcountry adventures during both winter and summer.

Related Read: 12 Charming Yurt Rentals in Maine

7. Gulf Hagas

Gulf Hagas Waterfall
Photo: Wade H. Massie

Why you should go: A great opportunity to experience the “Grand Canyon of Maine.”

  • Nearest town: Brownville
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Distance: 8.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
  • Waterfall height: Varies

Known as the Grand Canyon of Maine, Gulf Hagas is a huge canyon through which the West Branch Pleasant River runs and cascades. The canyon rises over 500-feet above the roiling water and makes for spectacular views. The trail is practically littered with waterfalls and cascades of various heights, including Screw Auger Falls (not confused with the Screw Auger Falls in Grafton Notch State Park) and the incredibly remote and hidden gem of Hay Brook Falls.  Given the picturesque nature of this area, the area can be quite crowded on weekends.

If you’re in the area for a bit, Katahdin Iron Works provides an educational opportunity for the family. Once the heart of the Main ironworks operations for 25 years, the furnaces and kilns now stand cold, perfect for the educational benefit of the community.

Related Read: 12 Magical & Unique Places to Stay in Maine

8. Houston Brook Falls

houston brook falls maine
Photo: Andrew King

Why you should go: A waterfall, swimming hole, and easy access for all ages.

  • Nearest town: Pleasant Ridge
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: .5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 100 feet
  • 32 feet

Only a 10-minutes walk through the woods, Houston Brook Falls, is one of the easiest access to waterfalls on the list. The trail is generally easy, but there are a few slippery roots and rocks to keep an eye out for. From the falls, you will have great views of Wyman Lake below. When the water is low, the pools along the creek can be a nice place to cool off in the summer, but if the falls are raging, the mist can make the rocks around the pools very slippery, and it may be best to keep to dry land.

Hopefully, you’re staying in Pleasant Ridge or Bingham somewhere, such as the Pine Grove Lodge and Cabins. This will give you a bit of time to explore the nearby attractions like the Wyman Dam Overlook, the local swim beach, or take a pontoon boat ride on the lake.

Related Read: 11 Best Places to Snowshoe in New Hampshire

9. Snow Falls

snow falls maine
Photo: Mark Boutilier

Why you should go: A bit of solitude in a gorgeous setting perfect for the family

  • Nearest town:  West Paris
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: .2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 25 feet
  • Waterfall height: 25 feet

Perhaps a bit unassuming, Snow Falls makes the list for its quiet and remote nature. Though technically a rest area, there isn’t much traffic out this way, and it can be a nice and quiet getaway. Snow Falls flows through a very narrow slot in the rocks along the Little Androscoggin River.

There are actually four cascades along the segment here, with dark and sometimes foamy but remarkably clear water pouring into large pools below each cascade. There is a footbridge over the last falls so that you can enjoy the full experience of the falls. There is a lovely picnic area complete with trails on both sides of the gorge, picnic tables, and even fencing above the cliffs, making this a family-friendly rest spot.

After visiting the falls, there are a few side trips that are worth a visit. The first is to the roadside attraction of Dig Maine Gems. Maine is quite well-known among geologists for its abundance of unique minerals (or gems) including, apatite, garnet, lepidolite, and tourmaline.

Another personal favorite stop, a visit to Hungry Hollow Country Store, is a must. With fresh pies, sticky buns, jams, cheeses, and all kinds of other treats, this is a great stop either before heading out to picnic at Snow Falls or to find something to refuel with after your hike!

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