Date Visited: September 4, 2016
Location: 198 Purgatory Rd., Sutton, MA
Hours: Open everyday, sunrise to sunset
Parking: There are about 50 parking spots in the main lot and several additional parking areas farther down the road in the park.
Cost: $5 MA Vehicle, $6 non-MA Vehicle
Time To Allot For Visit: 1 hour to 3 hours
Trail Difficulty: Ranges from Difficult (The Chasm) to easy (The Charley Loop)
Highlights: interesting rock structures, jagged, rocky trails and wildlife
Lowlights: some of the trails can be dangerous, especially if there has been rain or snow in the area or if you do not wear proper footwear (hiking shoes are recommended)
Web Site: Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
Trail Map: Purgatory Chasm Trail Map
Purgatory Chasm might evoke images of the afterlife or the apocalypse. But, no, it’s actually in Sutton, MA.
The trail of jagged stones is only .25 miles but they are difficult to cross in some parts and particularly dangerous when you’re carrying a camera.
The Chasm is believed to have originated because of the sudden release of dammed-up glacial meltwater near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 14,000 years ago.
Almost as difficult is the incline next to the Chasm with such areas as as The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers’ Leap and Fat Man’s Misery. The inclines are very steep in some areas on this route. There are areas that have a smoother, less sharp incline (look for the rocks on the right side of the incline for these smoother declines). I had to take the more steeper inclines and declines, of course. Some of the views from the ledges are a little scary if you don’t like heights. Some of the heights are as high as 70 feet in some areas and the rocky terrain below would not make for a very safe landing.
There are several trails you can take after tackling the Chasm. We took the Charley Loop – an easy, mostly smooth trail with pretty flowers and rocky structures that is just over a mile long.
While walking along the Charley Loop, we found a rock with a strange crystal-like powder on it.
These crystals are Granite Pegmatite which is made up of clusters or clumps of minerals. They generally contain mica, feldspar, beryl and quartz.
Beyond the chasm there is a pond with frogs, birds, possibly some turtles, flowers, and, of course, rocks.
There is also a large rock with a steep decline that has a slippery surface. We found some children (and a few adults) sliding down it.
Purgatory Chasm is a great place to bring dogs for a walk (I would avoid taking them on the Chasm trail). We saw a few dogs during our visit.
Gisele (not Tom’s Gisele, at least I don’t think so) is a 8 year old Yorkie.
Sawyer is a friendly 3 and a half year old Golden Retriever.
Charlie is a rescue dog who was being fostered. Since he was a rescue, his foster family didn’t know his exact breed or his age. He was taken in from the Lighthouse Animal Shelter in New Bedford, MA. Hopefully, he has a happy new permanent home now.
Below is a video looking over one of the many edges of the rocky incline next to the Chasm.
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