Kent Falls was perhaps one of the more family-friendly waterfalls we had experienced during our New England trip in 2013. The reason why I say this is because the falls was fronted by a very large lawn area with many picnic tables sprinkled about its perimeter. The lawn area was perfect for letting the kids run around while the adults could play catch or let their dogs chase down frisbees. Our daughter certainly enjoyed the space, and the picnic tables allowed us to have a belated lunch in the mean time. Plus, the smell of barbeque from other picnic-goers certainly added to the family-friendly ambience that was prevalent here.
Perhaps all this infrastructure made this a very popular place as evidenced by the many people who were here during our visit on a Friday afternoon in Autumn. Of course, the infrastructure came at a price as we had to pay a rather steep $15 vehicle fee ($9 for Connecticut residents) to enter.
As for the waterfall itself, it was immediately visible across the picnic area from the car park. It was only a couple minutes walk from the attractive covered bridge near the car park to the base of the waterfall. While many may consider the falls experience to this point to be sufficient, we noticed that there was a trail that kept climbing up steps as well as sloping trails and boardwalks alongside the Kent Falls Brook. This trail revealed more cascades and waterfalls along the brook that were not readily seen from the picnic area, and it culminated in an attractive two-tiered plunge at the top of the trail.
Taken altogether, it was said that the falls had about a 250ft cumulative drop. Julie and our daughter didn’t join me on the climb up to the top, but I saw plenty of older kids with their families do this hike. At the very top of the falls, I noticed there were a few daring individuals chilling out at the very brink of the falls, but I doubt I would’ve let our daughter roam free around such dropoffs. In the mean time, there were plenty of other kids playing a little further upstream from the top of the falls. Also, it appeared that the trail continued on the other side of the stream (which I didn’t do), which ultimately would’ve returned to the picnic area thereby completing a loop hike flanking both sides of the Kent Falls Brook.
All in all, we spent a very relaxing two hours at the falls, but I’d imagine only one hour would be needed to do the entire out-and-back hike from the bottom to the top of Kent Falls. The difficulty rating given on this page reflected this longer hike to experience all that this waterfall had to offer. Otherwise, just going to the base of the falls would’ve made this more of a roadside attraction than a hike.
Finally, I do have to mention that as much of a family-friendly park this place was made out to be, we still had to be cognizant of the fact that we were still in Nature. This was made very apparent to us when we noticed a snake basking on the banks of the Kent Falls Brook near the car park. We weren’t sure if the snake was poisonous or not, but the moral of the story here would be to respect what Nature can throw at you, yet it shouldn’t stop you from having fun.
Since we weren’t able to base ourselves in any town in the immediate vicinity of Kent Falls, I’m sure there are many ways to get here besides the routes we’re about to describe here (which were the most obvious approaches to us).
From Route 44/7 junction in North Canaan, drive south on Route 7 for a little over 20 miles. Nearly a half-mile past the Kent Town sign will be the picnic area and car park entrance for the falls on the left.
Heading in the other direction from the junction of Route 341 and Route 7 in Kent Town, drive north on Route 7 for about 5 miles. The picnic area and car park for Kent Falls will be on the right.
Finally, for some context, North Canaan was 34 miles (an hour drive) south of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 42 miles (about 90 minutes drive) northwest of Hartford, 113 miles (2.5 hours drive) north of New York City, and 150 miles (about 3 hours drive) west of Boston, Massachusetts.
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