Shelburne Falls Glacial Potholes
- Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
At the end of Deerfield Avenue below the hydroelectric dam lie the potholes, an incredible geological wonder. Over 50 glacial potholes are clustered in one of the largest known concentrations of these natural sculptures. Ranging in size from as small as 6 inches in diameter to the largest pothole on record - 39 feet across - the variety of shades revealed in the metamorphic rock layers make it one of the most beautiful spots in Western Massachusetts.
Viewing the Potholes
Salmon Falls and the famous Glacial Potholes in the village of Shelburne Falls may be viewed from the observation deck at the end of Deerfield Ave. Access to the river is restricted due to hazardous conditions and numerous injuries. Special river access arrangements may be requested of the Shelburne Board of Selectmen for geology classes, environmental programs, and other group instruction.
How were the potholes formed?
When the last glaciers melted, the Connecticut River Valley was flooded, creating a huge lake - Lake Hitchcock. As the lake drained, it swelled the flow of the Deerfield River. The river, carrying in its rushing waters a large load of stones, sand and mud, began to erode the hard metamorphic rock over which it flowed.
Potholes formed when stones trapped in cracks in the riverbed were twirled and vibrated in the fast-moving current, drilling their way into the river bottom. If you look carefully, you can see some of the rounded stones that carved out these potholes.
- Over 50 glacial potholes to see
- Areas to climb and explore
- Swimming holes