Whatchoo Talkin’ ‘Bout Wyllys?
Wyllys Falls, Manchester
[Note: For my Waterfalls pages, I’m using the town designation used by the Connecticut Waterfalls 2013 guidebook. Because sometimes it’s fun. But not now… because Manchester is Manchester.]
Wyllys Falls is also known as Bridal Veil Falls, even though I’ve never seen anyone call it that except in sentences like this one.
Wyllys Falls is located in a Manchester Land Conservation Trust property called “Spring Street-Hayden L. Griswold” which does not inspire excitement.
But it should, because look at these falls! – during a major drought, by the way.
Calvin and I tackled this property during a tour of Manchester’s three waterfalls. This is the only one that requires any sort of effort, but we were game.
And in our opinion, it’s totally worth it.
We parked on Spring Street near its intersection with Tam Road and followed the unmarked trail into the woods. It immediately descends through a bunch of multiflora and other junk – junk that has been cleared pretty well for a tiny little property with an unenticing name.
After a few minutes, the trail drops very steeply down into the gorge created by Birch Mountain Brook. (Upstream, this same waterway courses through the retention ponds at Case Mountain and down the spillway waterfall there.)
Phew. We crossed the stream and turned right (upstream) through the open woods. It really is quite beautiful and feels remote, despite being able to see the back of houses over the top of the gorge on both sides.
There’s no real trail down here, but it’s not too difficult navigating along Birch Mountain Brook. After a few minutes, I was able to see Wyllys Falls up ahead and Calvin began racing towards them.
Over and under some blowdowns and before we knew it, we were standing at the base of one of the more impressive waterfalls in the state.
Wyllys Falls (also called Bridal Veil Falls) is a 60-foot high natural waterfall hidden away in the Manchester woods. I assume it’s “hidden away” because the access point is very tight due to property boundaries and such. The “trail” down to the bottom of the gully is treacherous (at least in inclement weather), so there’s just no way to make these falls a “thing.”
Which is fine by me. I rather like the “hidden” aspect of this place and even disregarding that, it’s still the best waterfall in Manchester.
There is a weird fascination with a copper mine that closed in 1905 in the exposed rock walls along the brook. I have no such fascination. There was an old copper mine here, but it’s been covered over and no one really remembers anything about it.
The waterfall is named for Ephraim Wyllys who owned some property around here back in the day.
Accessibility: Short walk, but involves a steep in-and-out of the gorge stretch.