A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Salamanders, waterfalls, and driveways

April 28, 2018
Emilie Phillips

Spring time right after a bunch of rain sounded like a good time to go see the waterfalls on Purgatory Brook. Even better it’s only a 20 drive from the house.

Rock wall

We opted to take the Upland trail on the way in rather than the main trail direct to the lower falls. The Upland trail follows an old road bed until it takes a sharp left turn and drops down to the falls. We decided to go explore straight ahead which appeared to be a current snowmobile trail, and eventually led us to a driveway. To the left the driveway curved out of sight, and also to the right. Tyson pulled out his phone. Open street maps said the roads were generally to the right, and satellite view showed a mansion with tennis courts to the left. We opted for right.

The driveway took us to the deep end of a new subdivision. Nice houses. No cookie cutter mansions. A lot of them designed to look small or historical. At the next cul-de-sac we found the View Access trailhead and a kiosk. It might be a good alternate parking spot if the neighbors don’t mind.

Isaac and Emilie at lunch

We hiked a half mile up to the view. We’d been here before. Someone has mown all the blackberries since last time, so it was a pleasant place to eat lunch. At this point we could have dropped down to the middle falls, but we decided to continue exploring and leave the falls for the return leg.

We took the access trail along the ridge to Purgatory Rd. There’s space for one car at this trailhead. Here Purgatory Rd turns into a class 6 road. It was quite muddy, and someone with big tires had driven through all the puddles recently. We found one red eft crawling beside the trail. Then Isaac wanted to stop at every puddle and look for salamanders. We didn’t find any. I did spot little black specs covering some of the puddles. I later saw the same specs hopping on leaves on the ground. I think they may have been spring tails that accidentally flung themselves onto the water.

Isaac’s castle

On the other side of Purgatory Brook, there’s a better parking lot along Purgatory Rd, but we couldn’t get there today. The brook had flooded the road. We turned left onto the trail. Whatever vehicle had left tracks on the road didn’t continue on the trail, so now the puddles were clear. Isaac found salamanders and caught two. He tried to dig a hole to make his own puddle and built a castle around it.

Tyson photographing upper Purgatory Falls

The waterfalls were pretty, as expected. There were also tons of people, as expected. The mansion with tennis courts is quite visible from the trail. It wasn’t there last time we visited. It was still early spring, so no wildflowers or leaves out. Some type of tree had dropped tiny red flowers.

Read all trip reports from hikes to Purgatory Falls

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GPS Track