We took a trip to Chapel Brook in Ashfield, MA on a Sunday afternoon. The day was hot and the kids were restless! My daughter was celebrating her birthday and wanted to get out and do something. This became the perfect opportunity to go “fall seeking.”
At Chapel Brook expect a small area for only about 8 cars to park, also you could fit a few more along the dirt road that leads down to the falls. I don’t recommend parking on the main road unless you can get your car all the way off the road (this will require you to park into the shrubbery along the side). Although the traffic wasn’t heavy on that road, we did notice the cars that did come past drove quite fast! Also, there is a slight hill that hinders the sight of the road, so hang onto little ones hands!
We found the trail map confusing; there are 2 separate trails, one on either side of the road. We were interested in walking to the summit of Pony Mountain, and then would swim in the falls. So, after asking a gentleman walking his dog which trail leads to the summit he advised us it was the one near the parking spaces across the road from the falls.
Detailed information about the Trail Rating Scale can be found here.
Chapel Brook/ Pony Mountain Summit Trail
Length: Approximately 1 mile including backtrack
Parking: Yes, limited
Picnic Area: No
Public Restrooms: No
Pet Friendly: No –not on the summit trail, and I don’t recommend bringing a pet where the Falls are. We did not walk the trail that parallel the falls, but was told it was a backtrack trail.
Pony Mountain Summit Notes:
Our goal on this day was to hike to the summit so we could be swept away by the views. This summit trail was confusing to locate, and we were thankful for the help of fellow hikers to guide us.
When you first enter the trail you will notice a kiosk with a map. It appears the trail begins behind this kiosk… it does not. Go up the steep steps to your right. When you get to the top you will notice an area they call Chapel Ledge, because it is a rock face that rock-climbers use to get up to the summit. (Note: You can rock climb up the face of that rock, so if you are interested in this activity, bring your gear!) If rock climbing is not your thing, then walk through this area to the other side and the trail will then easily navigate you to the summit from here. When you’re at the summit there is another level you can step down onto at the east side of the mountain. The kids and I climbed down onto it, but certainly use caution and no horsing around, because from here it is a long drop to the bottom!
After hiking back down the mountain we stopped at our car and swapped out our sneakers for flip-flops. We grabbed our cooler and towels and headed to the other side of the road to experience the falls.
Chapel Brook Falls Notes:
Here you can expect 4 levels of falls cascading one into the next, with a pool of water at the bottom of each. The 2nd fall area is where the steps from the dirt road lead you into this space. At this fall my nephew experienced sliding it down into the pool below (see video). The girls slid down the lower most falls into the last pool area, this one was quite small and easily done for most kids.
We laid out our mat and towels (on rock) and began to snack on cheese & crackers. There are no trashcans, so you must take all your trash with you when you leave. We seemed to be the only ones, who decided to bring food/drinks down into the fall area, but that didn’t seem to bother anyone; well maybe that one adult drink raised one or two eyebrows.
VIDEO: SLIDING DOWN THE ONE OF THE FALLS....