Tag Archives: woods

Purgatory Falls in Lyndeborough, New Hampshire

It’s only recently that I’ve begun my waterfall-hunting excursions around the beautiful state of New Hampshire. The very first falls that I visited (since it’s also the one closest to my home in Goffstown) was the Lower Purgatory Falls – one part of a multi-fall system along the Purgatory River in Lyndeborough and Milford.

The Lower Falls are the largest in the system and are most impressive following the Spring thaw or heavy summer rains. I took the man-cub to visit them in late April when the thaw was in full swing and, I must say, it was well worth the short and easy hike in! The trailhead for the Lower Falls is right off Purgatory Road (see map, below) and the trail is a short and mostly-level path through the woods to the river. Note that, once you reach the falls, you will have to navigate some steep rocky and stumpy terrain if you want to climb down to the actual water.

Image of Lower Purgatory Falls by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
The Lower Purgatory Falls during the Spring thaw.
Image of Lower Purgatory Falls by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
Side view of the Lower Falls.

The falls are fed from the upper portion of the Purgatory River and, once you are finished admiring the Lower Falls, you can hike up above them and follow the river north. During the latter part of Spring, the greens of the new leaves and moss close in tight around the river and make for a very serene, almost fantasy-like landscape….

Image of Purgatory River by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
The Purgatory River at the height of Spring.
Image of Purgatory River by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
The Purgatory River at the height of Spring.

The Upper Purgatory Falls are a series of smaller, but no less beautiful, cascades. You can hike to them from the Lower Falls but it is a long hike through the woods so keep that in mind if you are short on time. Alternatively, there is a trailhead for the Upper Falls that you can find using the map embedded above.

Image of Upper Purgatory Falls by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
The Upper Purgatory Falls during the earlier part of Spring before the drought.

I highly recommend this hike during the Autumn when the leaves are changing and the landscape is aflame with color. It is peaceful and typically uncrowded and gives you a greater appreciation for the simple beauties of our world.

Image of Upper Purgatory Falls by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media group.
The Upper Falls ran very dry following the summer 2016 drought.
Image of Purgatory River by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
Leaves falling on the smaller cascades of the Purgatory River during Autumn 2016.
Image of woods by Jeremy Jones for 603 Media Group.
The sun shines through the trees around the Purgatory River during Autumn 2016.

If you haven’t yet checked out this hidden gem in the woods of Lyndeborough and Milford, New Hampshire, I highly suggest you do so. It is a beautiful landscape during any time of the year!


About the Author: is the Senior Marketing Strategist for 603 Media Group. Primarily tasked with the challenges of keeping our small business running, Jeremy also occasionally branches out into public speaking, blogging, website design and raising his son to not be another one of “those damn kids”.