Great Falls of the Housatonic

Salisbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut


8/06/2005.  This was the last stop of the second day of a three day vacation in the town of Salisbury.  In the morning and early afternoon we had made stops at Mt. Riga State Park, the Falls Village Canoe Access, and the area just north of Iron Bridge in Falls Village.

Again we drove over to Millerton, New York to get a quick lunch at McDonalds.  And then it was back to the Housatonic River.  We looked at the detail map of the area and saw the Great Falls marked on the Housatonic River near the Appalachian Trail.  So we decided to drive up the Housatonic River Road.  In a short ride we found the area because of the large number of cars marked along the road on the right side. 

We parked and walked back to the opening in the woods.  Walked past the white-blazed Appalachian Trail and over to a railed viewing area.  And what a visual treat we saw from this rocky platform.  The dam has left most of the high rocky ledges high and dry (pretty in itself) with two huge waterfalls on the far side of the Housatonic River.  There is a lot of water falling down those falls.  The water is divided into two parts on top and the division continues at the bottom of the falls, there being a kind of island of vegetation enforcing the division of waters begun at the top of the falls. 

There were quite a few sunbathers on the dry ledges and a few in the water off to the side of the falls themselves.  It looks like a great place to wade or swim.  From the platform you can head off left and walk down on to the ledges themselves.  And then you can work you way slowly down the ledges to the water side to enter the water. 

We wanted to get close to the riverside so we took a side path that heads over to a small ravine.  We turned left and slowly worked our way down the ravine to its opening by the river.  More great views of the falls.  And there were lots of interesting plants to look at.  It took a while to take in all the different plants and by that time it was getting late and so we decided to call it a day.  Dr. Patrick L. Cooney.

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney

* =  plant(s) blooming on date of field trip, 8/06/2005

Acer negundo (box elder maple)
Acer saccharum (sugar maple)
Ailanthus altissima (tree of heaven)
Betula papyrifera (white birch)
Celtis occidentalis (hackberry)
Fraxinus pensylvanica (green ash)
Ostrya virginiana (American hop hornbeam)
Populus deltoides (cottonwood)
Populus grandidentata (big tooth aspen)
Robinia pseudoacacia (black locust)
Salix sp. (willow)
Tilia americana (American basswood)
Tsuga canadensis (eastern hemlock) 
Ulmus sp. (elm)

Shrubs and Subshrubs:
Alnus serrulata (smooth alder) 
Berberis thunbergii (Japanese barberry)
Cornus alternifolia (alternate-leaved dogwood)
Cornus amomum (swamp dogwood)
Euonymus alatus (winged euonymus)
Lonicera morrowii (Morrow honeysuckle)
Rubus occidentalis (black raspberry)
Rubus sp. (blackberry)  

Celastrus orbiculatus (Asiatic bittersweet)
Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)
Toxicodendron radicans (poison ivy)
Vitis riparia (riverbank grape)

Actaea rubra (red baneberry)
Amphicarpaea bracteata (hog peanut)
Angelica atropurpurea (purple-stem angelica)
Arctium lappa (great burdock)     *
Arisaema triphyllum (Jack in the pulpit)
Asparagus officinalis (asparagus)
Bidens sp. (beggar tick)
Campanula rotundifolia (harebell)    *
Centaurea maculosa (spotted knapweed)     *
Chrysanthemum leucanthemum (ox-eye daisy)     *
Cicuta maculata (water hemlock)     *
Convallaria majalis (lily of the valley)
Daucus carota (Queen Anne's lace)     *
Desmodium sp. (tick trefoil)   
Epipactis helleborine (helleborine orchid)
Erigeron annuus (daisy fleabane)       *
Eupatorium fistulosum (trumpetweed)     *
Eupatorium maculatum (spotted Joe-Pye-weed)      *
Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset)     *
Eupatorium rugosum (white snakeroot)
Geum canadense (white avens)    
Helenium autumnale (sneezeweed)     *
Impatiens capensis (orange jewelweed)     *
Iris sp. (blue or yellow flag)
Linaria canadensis (blue toadflax)     *
Lycopus sp. (water horehound)
Lysimachia ciliata (fringed loosestrife)     *
Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife)      *
Medicago lupulina (black medick)   *
Mentha arvensis (wild mint)     *
Mentha x piperita (peppermint)
Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)     *
Myosotis scorpioides (forget-me-not)     *
Osmorhiza claytonii (sweet cicely)
Parnassia glauca (grass-of-Parnassus)    *
Pastinaca sativa (wild parsnip)
Plantago major (common plantain)
Polygonatum pubescens (hairy true Solomon's seal)
Polygonum lapathifolium (nodding smartweed)     *
Prenanthes altissima (tall white lettuce)
Prunella vulgaris (self-heal)      *
Ranunculus acris (tall buttercup)     *
Rudbeckia hirta var. pulcherrima (black-eyed Susan)    *
Rudbeckia triloba (thin-leaved coneflower)      *
Rumex obtusifolius (broad dock)
Satureja vulgaris (wild basil)
Smilacina racemosa (false Solomon's seal)
Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade)      *
Solidago canadensis var. scabra (tall goldenrod)     *
Solidago gigantea (late goldenrod)     *
Stellaria pubera (star chickweed)     *
Trifolium pratense (red clover)    *
Trifolium repens (white clover)    *
Tussilago farfara (coltsfoot)
Verbascum thapsus (common mullein)

Juncus tenuis (path rush)
Juncus validus (soft-stem rush) 

Carex lurida (sallow sedge)
Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)
Eleocharis sp. (spikerush)
Scirpus atrovirens (dark green bulrush)

Elymus sp. (wild rye grass)
Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass)
Phleum pratense (Timothy grass)
Poa compressa (Canada bluegrass)

Ferns and Fern Allies:
Equisetum arvense (field horsetail)
Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush)
Cystopteris fragilis (fragile fern)
Onoclea sensibilis (sensitive fern)
Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)


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