Bash Bish Falls

An easy walk leads to a spectacular payoff: Massachusetts’ highest waterfall.

Hike Length: 1.5 miles (2.41 km)

Total Ascent: 200ft (61m)

Intensity: Easy Taconics Hike

Route Type: Out-and-Back

Includes: Blazed Trail

Parent Bash Bish

iced-up Bash Bish Falls and pool

Bash Bish Falls

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 Super easy hike down to the viewing platform above the falls; steep staircase down to the base of the falls is optional.

Bash Bish Falls is one of the most popular and spectacular outdoor destinations in Massachusetts. 

Right on the border of extreme western Massachusetts and New York — there’s even a sign welcoming you to Massachusetts right on the trail! — this ¾ mile hike from the parking area to the falls is very easy and very pleasant.

The trail to Bash Bish Falls is dog-friendly — but please clean up after your dog, and do not leave poop bags unattended to pick up “on the way out”.

This hike is so short and easy and delightful, it can be combined with several other hikes and routes that begin from the same parking area. For example: the steep but wonderful hike to Alander and Brace mountains, and the less strenuous mountain hike to Sunset Rock (trail guide coming soon).

Bash Bish Falls Closures

It’s difficult to overstate how popular this incredible destination is, especially in summer.

In recent times, the falls have sometimes been closed due to COVID concerns. However, the trail and platform are both currently open (winter 2022); relatively few people hike at this time of year, so social distancing is easier.

Once the weather warms up, check ahead to see if the falls have been closed. See number to call at link below.

Bash Bish Falls Resources

You can find lots of useful resources at mass.gov/locations/bash-bish-falls-state-park, including maps and phone numbers.

Bash Bish Trailhead & Parking

From Copake Falls, follow Route 344 into the hollow, passing the Iron Works Museum on the right, and then pull into the large parking area, also on the right.

For this hike, simple look for the information boards on the eastern side of the lot, and begin your hike down to the Bash Bish Falls viewing area.

A second lot can be found on the east side of the falls, further along Route 344 and above the falls area. The trail down to the viewing platform is even shorter and involves steeper elevation gain and loss.

The Bug Bite Thing

Bash Bish Falls Hiking Trail

Many people have died at Bash Bish Falls over the years, but on another trail on the very sketchy side of Bash Bish Falls. This route is not at all dangerous. It follows a wide, even trail down past Bash Bish Brook, and then up to the viewing platform which has railings. (Whether or not you head down the steep staircase to visit the base of the falls is up to you.)

On this day, with some ice on the ground, I was glad I had my spikes for traction. In winter, it’s always wise to have some extra traction. It just takes all the worry about slipping and falling away.

Head down past the information kiosks and signs, and enjoy a long walk alongside Bash Bish Brook. There are even some benches to sit on.

streamside bench
Bench beside Bash Bish Brook

And plenty of interesting trailside attractions on the way…

large boulder beside brook
Boulder beside Bash Bish Brook

When you get to the border of NY/MA, you’re almost at the falls…

trail sign: welcome to Massachusetts
Welcome to Massachusetts

Notice how steep the clove has become on both sides.

Bash Bish Falls

The viewing area opens out onto an amazing scene. From the top of the staircase, you can look down on the falls in complete safety. The waterfall sits at the mouth of a gorge formed during the last ice age.

Bash Bish Falls Video

When the falls are frozen up in winter, they’re quite amazing…

Bash Bish Falls Photos

On this day in mid-January, the falls were nicely iced-up…

staircase and iced-up waterfall
Staircase down to Bash Bish Falls

You can head down some or all of the staircase, as this man did…

iced-up Bash Bish Falls
Bash Bish Falls

With not much snow on the ground, my spikes kept my footing secure even on the icy steps. When deeper snow hits, I might reassess my commitment.

iced-up waterfalls
Bash Bish Falls

The view from the bottom of the staircase is excellent too.

snow-covered waterfall
Bash Bish Falls

From the above position, I found a way around to the left where, in summer, one might step right into the water…

iced-up Bash Bish Falls and pool
Bash Bish Falls

Ascending the staircase back to the upper viewing area is the most work you’ll do on this hike.

From there, the ¾ mile walk back to your car takes just 20 minutes or so.

Similar Hikes

This hike is so short and easy it qualifies as a nature trail — an easier-than-a-hike walk through exceptional natural terrain. See this list of nature trails for similar adventures elsewhere.

Being so short and easy, this is a kid-friendly hike — though small children will need to be watched near the water’s edge, and on the steep staircase.

You can also scan this list of the most scenic hikes for a variety of skill levels.

This is definitely one of the most popular hikes in this part of the world.

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The parent mountain for this hike is Bash Bish.

If you do this hike, let me know how it went in the comments below. Your feedback makes this site better.

Trailhead Info for this Hike

Large but very popular lot in warm months

Google Maps Location: 42.117570, -73.508346

The map below shows the exact topographic location of the trailhead

Cell Service

Good service throughout. My network is Verizon. YMMV.

2 responses to “Bash Bish Falls

  1. What a great short and sweet hike! It’s been a long time since we’ve been there, reading your write-up made us want to go back.

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Hello, I’m Sean

I write independent hiking content to help hikers like you find amazing hikes in the Catskills, Adirondacks, Gunks, Hudson Highlands, Taconics and beyond.

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