One of two Grafton Notch waterfalls described in this guide, Screw Auger Falls, not to be confused with the Screw Auger Falls of Gulf Hagas Brook, also located in Maine, is a 30-foot plunge over the lip of a broad granite ledge into a gorge. A transparent curtain of whitewater is created by the plunge. Below the main plunge, the Bear River travels through a curvaceous gorge, dropping an additional thirty feet in a series of cascades past giant potholes, shallow pools and grottos.
This waterfall is arguably Maine’s most heavily visited. On a hot day in early July, we shared the falls and gorge with approximately a hundred others. Although the waterfall is far from remote, the breadth of sunny ledges and sunbathing spots, together with the ability to explore above and below the gorge, will allow you to enjoy this site immensely. Wooden fencing marks the gorge walls with stone steps to an upper wading area.
As you walk along the gorge to the best view point of the waterfall, historical information boards add to the fun experience. Here you will learn about settlers in the 1800’s who built a saw mill directly over the falls in the 1850’s. The mill was run by the power of the current and produced lumber until it burned in the 1860’s. You also have the opportunity to learn about how the falls were initially formed. As glaciers began to melt thousands of years ago, excessive amounts of water flowed into the Bear River carrying rocks and sand along with the current. The consistent abrasion of these sediments smoothed away the gorge walls to create ?potholes? that are still visible today from the gorge above.
There are several picnic tables, bathrooms, and a large parking area at the site that is known to fill up on hot sunny days in mid-summer. As of 2009, the area is open daily from 9am to sunset, allowing plenty of time to visit.
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