Bangor, ME

5 scenic waterfalls within driving distance of Bangor, Maine to hike to this summer

Stephen L Dalton

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Pictures from Kees Falls, Maine & the hiking trail.Pictures and collage by the author, Stephen Dalton.

As we all learned from the pandemic, it is best for our physical health and mental well-being to get out with friends and family to take advantage of nature’s natural cure. Observe social distancing when you meet other hikers on the trail until this thing is over.

Plus, hiking to a fantastic waterfalls is one way to ensure you get gratification from the long hike. The best time to hike to Maine’s best waterfalls is in the spring when melting snow cascades over the falls.

Although some of these waterfalls are a short hike from the road, none are meant for flip-flops and shorts. Be prepared to get wet and possibly some blisters if you are not a hiker.

Remember, there is a vast difference between hiking and scaling cliffs. Make sure you have the right skillset before attempting to scale a cliff or dive from the waterfalls. Hundreds have died diving from the cliffs surrounding waterfalls. Just because the pool under the falls looks deep doesn’t mean you can safely dive into it. Even if you see others doing it, err on the side of sound judgment.

However, before you set out from your home in Bangor, Maine, or if you’re visiting friends or family in or near Bangor, I would suggest you do Google Map screenshots. Just Google, “How long to drive from wherever you are starting from to Rangeley, ME, or the specific waterfalls you want to visit.

Most of these waterfalls are on the western side of Maine, close to New Hampshire. If you flew into Bangor International Airport (BIA), you can rent a car there, take the three-hour drive, and stay around Rangeley. From Logan International in Boston, MA, it’s about a four-hour drive.

You can find dozens of upscale accommodations such as hotel rooms, cabins, condominiums, and rustic log cabins from $90 a night to well over $500, depending on where you want to stay.

Be sure to pack bug spray, sunscreen, bottled water or sports drinks to stay hydrated, a picnic lunch & snacks that will fit snuggly in your backpack, fully-charged cell phones to communicate if you get lost, trail maps and compass, hiking boots or walking shoes, and a couple of changes of socks. Choose a lightweight backpack to put everything in to save on your back.

Body Glove makes some excellent water shoes for hiking waterfalls and marshy areas for men and Merrell for women. These quick-dry shoes are ideal for hiking when you know there is a possibility of getting your feet wet. You do not want to hike any distance with wet feet.

Before you go, I would suggest watching this video produced by News Center Maine. You can get a few ideas from it about what to look forward to on your hike. What’s more, the author tells you about several that might be dried up in the summer, so it could save you a trip if you are going just for the falls.

A guide to Maine’s best waterfall hikes

When you see a sign, “Private Property” or “No Trespassing,” turn around. Many waterfalls in this area are on private property or corporate logging acreage. Some allow hikers and tourists but if it is posted, stay out for your safety.

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Waterfalls surrounded by summer foliage.By Melissa Askew from Unsplash

Kees Falls

Kees Falls is close to Batchelder's Grant, Maine. That’s just off Route #113 in Evans Notch. This area is part of the fantastic White Mountain National Forest.

Kees Falls is one of the toughest waterfalls to hike on this list. However, the reward is definitely worth the effort. Kees Falls is a 25-foot waterfall that goes straight down. It is a great place to relax and take in the beauty and power of such a waterfall. There is even a small pool that is great for a quick swim to cool down after a sweaty hike.

Angel Falls

Angel Falls in Township D, Maine, is most certainly the most grueling hike on this list. Actually, the Township D designation rather than a city name should tell you this is wilderness.

Finding the beginning of the trail is a bit tricky because it is on a logging trail, and there is only a small sign pointing to it. Unless you follow the red tree markings, you could follow a skidder trail (a trail they use to haul logs out of the forest). But, once you’re on the trail, you are forced to cross the stream several times, and you will most likely get wet.

Be cautious crossing the streams and brooks, particularly at high water times like in the spring. If you are unsure of any members’ ability to make the hike, choose another falls. It is not worth dying in an attempt to see the falls.

According to Maine Trail Finders, “Although this is a relatively easy trail, several stream crossings (rock hopping) may pose a challenge for some, and the streams may be impassable during high water.” I would not suggest the hike with young children.

But once you've finally completed your journey, you are met with one of the best waterfalls Maine has to offer. It is an almost 90-foot waterfall that brings the best out of waterfall hiking. This is not the trail you want to take your entire family on, but experienced hikers will find it fun and challenging.

Discover Maine Angel Falls

This is an epic, must-see video by Jeremy T. Grant. I mean, he takes off his boots, grabs a balance stick, and crosses the stream. There’s snow on the ground! Check it out, “like,” and subscribe if you find it as awesome as I did.

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The middle picture is of the falls under the footbridge in spring. See how strong the current is?Picture and collage by the author, Stephen Dalton.

The waterfalls are roaring under the footbridge in spring, but by August the falls are almost dry as you can see in the side pictures.

Snow Falls

Snow Falls in West Paris, Maine, is the exact opposite type of trail from Angel Falls. It is easy to access and more of a walk than a hike. This trail is great for packing the family up for an outdoor picnic and taking in the scenery. There is plenty of shade and picnic tables to relax and spend some quality Zen time.

Even though the kids will get lots of pictures with their phones, you might want to take a high-quality SLDR camera for lasting memories.

Dunn Falls

Dunn Falls outside Andover, Maine, is an interesting trail for a couple of reasons. First, it is part of the highly touted "Appalachian Trail." Second, it is about 2 miles long and provides incredible views. Because of the length, you can expect to spend a good part of the day traversing it. You can also expect to see a stunning 80-foot drop in the lower part of Dunn Falls and a crystal-clear, calm body of water in upper Dunn Falls.

This is a highly traveled hiking trail on the weekend and holidays. If you some alone time and the ability to get excellent photos without other people getting into your shot, you should go on non-peak days.

Screw Auger Falls

Screw Auger Falls is one of the most common nature sites in Maine. Screw Auger Falls, Grafton Notch, Maine. It is excellent for a full-day trip because it has picnic tables and bathrooms in addition to its awesome natural beauty. You can view Screw Auger Falls from a viewing area or venture closer on the Bear River for a much more existing adventure.

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Stephen Dalton is a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Top Writer in Virtual Reality, Sports, Short Story, Design, and Creativity. I especially like writing about design and home improvements.

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