Purgatory Chasm State Reservation
|Purgatory Chasm State Reservation|
Looking south into the chasm
|Location||Sutton, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States|
|Area||100 acres (40 ha)|
|Elevation||472 ft (144 m)|
|Operator||Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation|
|Website||Purgatory Chasm State Reservation|
Purgatory Chasm State Reservation is a state-owned geologic preserve and public recreation area located off Route 146 in the town of Sutton, Massachusetts. The state park is notable for its .25-mile-long (400 m), 70-foot-deep (21 m) chasm of granite bedrock with abrupt precipices and boulder caves where ice lingers into the early summer. It is managed by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
Various theories have been proposed to account for the chasm's creation. According to one, the chasm was created when glacial meltwater from a burst ice dam ripped out blocks of bedrock at the end of the last Ice Age (14,000 years ago). Purgatory Chasm was declared a state park in 1919.
Activities and amenities
The park is open year round, although the chasm is closed to hikers and climbers during the winter months because of ice hazards. There are 2 miles (3.2 km) of hiking trails around the chasm; rock climbing is allowed by permit. The reservation also includes picnic areas, a visitors center, and playground.
In popular culture
A book of poems by Susan Edmonds Richmond titled Purgatory Chasm, a song by Holly Hanson of Neptune's Car titled "Lover's Leap (The Purgatory Chasm Song)," and Purgatory Chasm, a novel by Steve Ulfelder, were inspired by hikes in the chasm.
- "Purgatory Chasm State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
- "2012 Acreage Listing" (PDF). Department of Conservation and Recreation. April 2012. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Purgatory Chasm State Reservation". MassParks. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
- Pelto, Mauri S. "Purgatory Chasm State Reservation: How did it form?". Dudley, Mass.: Nichols College. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
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