Wadsworth Falls

Totally WadsWorthy to See
Wadsworth Falls, Middletown

January 2, 2009

Dedicated Wadsworth Falls State Park page

wfb.jpgMy first CTMQ visit of 2009… and she’s a beaut. I had a day off with Damian while Hoang had to work and his daycare was closed. What to do, what to do… Go check out a half frozen waterfall of course!

Amazingly, I’d never been to Wadsworth Falls State Park – it’s one of those places that people can’t believe I’ve never been to. Well, now I have; if only a tiny swath of it and for only ten minutes. But it’s surely the coolest swath – and that counts on my blog. (Though, admittedly, I only saw the “Big Falls” and not the “Little Falls” a few minutes up the path. The path which, on this day, was icy and I was carrying a toddler. You see my reasoning.)

The main entrance to Wadsworth Falls State Park is along Route 157 in Middletown. There is also a parking area for Wadsworth Falls located along Cherry Hill Rd which I think is just over the Middlefield town line. Above the falls are the remains of an old sluiceway or flume that once carried the mighty Coginchaug River through the bowels of the Fall Manufacturing Company’s Cotton Factory. Manufacturers at mills along the river produced everything from paper to grist to snuff to cutting nails to buttons to washing machines wringers, gun parts and gun powder.


From this site: The height of Wadsworth Falls is really not very impressive. At only 15 feet high, this falls is dwarfed in height by most of the other Connecticut waterfalls. However, there are few waterfalls in Connecticut that match its power. Wadsworth Falls looks like a miniature Niagara Falls in that it is much wider than it is high and it has a large volume of water passing over it. Even in drier times, the falls is pretty full. In the spring or after a good rain, the Coginchaug can pour over the falls in a furious torrent.

wf.jpgNamed after Col. Clarence Wadsworth, the previous owner of the falls, the falls are located in a corner of Wadsworth Falls State Park. Most of the park is taken up with trails, picnic areas, and a large swimming hole. In fact, the main entrance to the park is on the other side of the park from the falls. However, the secondary parking area for the falls makes it easy and free to view the falls. On one side of the falls is a large shaded grassy area where the falls can be viewed from different angles. There’s even a little walkway out to a point directly above the falls. The area makes a great place to picnic. On the other side of the falls are many tall trees on a steep incline up to railroad tracks. The wall that the trees and the slope provide make the falls seem initimate than most river falls.

Although there is absolutely no swimming above or below the falls because of strong currents, fishermen are often seen trying to pluck trout out of the deep and fast-moving waters below the falls. However, the park land ends just around the bend where a gunsmithy has been converted into a private home so there isn’t much room to fish.

I’m sure I’ll explore the park more in depth someday, but if it’s during the summer, I’ll be sure to park off of Cherry Hill Road because it’s free there. Who in their right mind would pay the 8 bucks or whatever to park a mile away at the same park?


For the Curious

Wadsworth Falls State Park
Listen (!) to the falls (It’s loud if your sound is up high)
The excellent DEP Geology Guide to the park
More on the Falls

3 responses to “Wadsworth Falls”

  1. Kerri says:

    I’ve been to the Little Falls but not the Big Falls. When I went, it was summer, and the final part of the trail, right next to the falls, was a bit difficult to do with kids. This post makes me want to visit now, while there’s snow on the ground.

  2. Tom says:

    I was at Wadsworth Falls on New Year’s Day. They have a good event where you can get a tour of the mansion’s ground floor, hear a music performance, eat snacks, and warm up from the cold.
    The trail to the Little Falls is treacherous. From one direction it’s a steep slope with poor footing. From the other direction, you have to cross the stream coming from the falls and there’s no bridge. The Little Falls are narrower, but have a greater drop. I particularly recommend the Yellow Trail that parallels the stream.

  3. Joseph Getter says:

    Indeed, the falls — both big and little — are actually in Middlefield, as is the parking lot next to the big falls. The main park entrance is in Middletown. It’s a great park, come check it out! I can walk to it from my home.

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