Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Sutton, Massachusetts

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation

Purgatory Chasm State Reservation Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Taking the back-door entrance into the spectacular Purgatory Chasm, this hike explores the geological curiosity from within, surveys the fissure from cliffs above, and explores the surrounding woods. Those interested in lengthier hikes can access the Sutton State Forest from linking trails.

You will be hard-pressed to find cliff and rock formations as dramatic as those within the Purgatory Chasm State Reservation. This hike explores the chasm and circumnavigates the surrounding forest, but plan to spend as much time as you’d like exploring the cliffs, caves, and fissures as well."

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Purgatory Chasm State Reservation Trail Trip Reports

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Plainville, MA
Pathfinder | 100 pts
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A short hike, but a great one for kids, very unique with lots of quality kid difficulty climbing and kid sized caves to explore. Finishes off with a decent half mile wood walk on well marked trails. Definitely deserves high marks as a place to go with the kids.
Upton, MA
Pathfinder | 146 pts
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Framingham, MA
Pathfinder | 80 pts
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I took my two young boys (5 and 8) and wife for a hike. The trail is easy to get to from the pike. There are plenty of picnic tables and nice facilities. You can enter the chasm right from the parking lot. However, I suggest you take coopers trail only 1 mile hike around the chasm. Very easy to do with children. About 1/2 way into the trail you can hear water. We went off trail about 2/10 of mile and found a nice little water fall. Than on to the chasm. It is a great place for kids to climb around on the rocks. Definitely attempt to get through - fat man's misery. I am slender and it was tight - easy for kids. Total hike only 1.5 miles - the chasm is a bit difficult for anyone not use to climbing over large rocks - you will need to pull yourself up on some of the paths.

Great day.
Cumberland, RI
Pathfinder | 80 pts
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Purgatory Chasm is great place to check out. It is located off of rte.146 in Sutton MA. The chasm runs for a quarter of a mile between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. Rock climbing is allowed with a permit that you can get at the park headquarters. The picnic area can get crouded in the summer but the trails are never too crowded.

More Purgatory Chasm State Reservation Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Cynthia Copeland, Thomas J. Lewis, & Emily Kerr
"If ever a geological fault was created with kids in mind, this is it. Purgatory Chasm is a lengthy gorge some 60 feet wide with sheer walls rising 70 feet high. As you wind your way through the maze of boulders lining the chasm floor, squeezing through small caves and channels with spooky names such as “Devils Coffin” and “Devils Pulpit,” you may pause to watch a rock climber inching her way up the chasm wall. Families with small children may need a good deal of time and effort to get from one end of the gorge to the other, but you will enjoy every minute. You will no doubt meet a number of other folks following the same trail but somehow, on this adventure, it doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s fun to trade incredulous comments with other, equally awestruck people. On the return trip, you will view the gorge from perhaps a more breathtaking perspective—from above."
Best Hikes Near Boston (Falcon Guides)
Steve Mirsky
"Perfect for a day of exploration, this unique 0.25-mile chasm runs between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. Popular with picnickers and rock climbers alike, this formation was created with a sudden release of dammed-up glacial meltwater near the end of the last ice age, approximately 14,000 years ago. Trails lead to a wide variety of rock formations with names like The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers’ Leap, and Fat Man’s Misery."

Trail Information

Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Trail Type
Skill Level
1.5 hours
Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Resources, tinyurl.com/purgchasmreservation 617-626-1250
Local Contacts
Posted near the parking lot and available at visitor center
Local Maps

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