A unique natural landmark, Purgatory Chasm is located near Sutton, Massachussetts. The Chasm runs for a quarter of a mile between granite walls rising as high as 70 feet. The Chasm is believed to have its origin in the sudden release of dammed-up glacial meltwater near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 14,000 years ago. The area is very popular with urbanite and suburbanite picnickers, so it is not an isolated spot.
The trail down the main chasm is very very close to the road/parking and leads to a wide variety of rock formations, with such romantic names as The Corn Crib, The Coffin, The Pulpit, Lovers' Leap (5.7) and Fat Man's Misery. A variety of routes (at least a dozen common routes, and possibly more) are available for toproping.
I will soon get to listing the main routes (the East Wall has additional routes) and posting more pictures.
Purgatory Chasm State Reservation is located in the south-eastern part of central Massachusetts, approximately 50 minutes from Boston.
From the east & west: Take Mass Pike (I-90) to Exit 10A, take Route 146 south into Town of Sutton, take Purgatory Road Exit, take a RIGHT at end of ramp onto Purgatory Road. Parking is available 1,000 feet up the road.
From the north and south: Take Route 495 to the Mass Pike (I-90), head West on Mass Pike to Exit 10A, take Route 146 South into Sutton, take Purgatory Road Exit, take a RIGHT at end of the ramp onto Purgatory Road. Parking is available 1,000 feet up the road.
- or -
From the north:
Take Route 290 South into Worcester; Take Exit 12 at Brosnihan Square onto Route 146 (Millbury Street); Head south on Route 146 into the Town of Sutton; Take Purgatory Road Exit, take RIGHT at end of ramp onto Purgatory Road. Parking is available 1,000 feet up the road.
A permit is required to climb at Purgatory Chasm. You can obtain one from the visitor center office for free, and it is good for a year. The permit allows you to climb on any day but Sunday.
from North to South
Archeron (5.5), Charon (5.5)
Lover's Leap (5.7), Paradise Lost (5.8)
Paradise Lost, Paradise Gained, Limbo
It is unclear whether a reservation is necessary, but camping is availabe for a fee by making a reservation with the call center. The call center is open Monday through Sunday 8 am to 8 pm between April and Labor Day. Between September and March, the call center is open Mon through Friday 9 am to 7 pm and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is a reservation charge of $9.50 per reservation for this service. ID is required upon registration at the campground. Reservations may be made as early as six months prior to the date of your arrival and as late as two days before your arrival. There is a 2 day minimum on most reservations.
- call toll-free 1-877-I-CAMP-MA or 1-877-422-6762
- from outside the U.S. and Canada, call 518-884-4959
- TTY customers call 1-877-620-0833
- place your reservation online through ReserveAmerica.com
For more information about its geology: