8 www.vISITNORTHCENTRAL.COM Royalston Gorge Few things in nature are as impres- sive or photogenic as a roaring waterfall or stream in a lush, green forest. In the hills and valleys of North Central Massachusetts, many waterfalls and cascades await dis- covery. The following destinations offer a variety of options for visitors, ranging from short, easy walks to longer day hikes. Royalston Royalston is home to three scenic waterfalls, all owned by The Trust- ees of Reservations. At Doane’s Falls, Lawrence Brook drops 200 feet to Tully Lake in a quarter-mile cascade. The stone re- mains of mills that once harnessed the considerable waterpower are visible on the banks of the steep ravine. The main entrance on Doane Hill Road is next to a stone arch bridge over the upper falls, and a 0.3-mile, universally accessible path connects the lower parking area to the base of the cascades. The reserva- tion is also part of a scenic 4.5-mile loop trail around Tully Lake, an Army Corps of Engineers flood- control project. Other trailheads are located at Tully Lake Recreation Area, Tully Lake Campground, and Tully Dam. At Spirit Falls in Jacob’s Hill Res- ervation, the outflow from Little Pond plunges 150 feet down a steep ridge to Long Pond. These highly seasonal cascades are best viewed in early-mid spring or after heavy rain. From the Route 68 entrance (0.6 miles north of the Royalston town common), a loop trail leads to the crest of the falls at the junction with Tully Trail. Other attractions include scenic views from Jacob’s Hill and The Ledges. For a longer adventure, you can link Spirit Falls, Long Pond, and Doane’s Falls via the Tully Trail (approximately 1.8 miles one-way). Picturesque Royalston Falls is distin- guished by its narrow 45-foot drop into a dramatic gorge. Other geologic features along Falls Brook include smaller cas- cades, natural bridges, and a rocky pool. From the Route 32 entrance in West Roy- alston, the New England Trail and Tully Trail offer a moderately steep, 0.8-mile hike to the falls that passes a camping shelter and footbridge. Another interest- ing option is from the north, following the New England Trail in Massachusetts south along the brook and a beaver pond for 0.6 miles to the state line. Athol In a hidden ravine in Athol’s Bearsden Conservation Area, Thousand Acre Brook flows out of an old reservoir and over a rocky cascade en route to its confluence with Millers River. The brook trail is off the north end of South Royalston Road; look for the falls near a footbridge at the property’s northeast boundary (use cau- tion where the road becomes dirt; parking Roaring Brook