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16 Best Waterfalls in Vermont to Have a Whale of a Time

By | Last Updated : 11th October 2021

Though a tiny state, Vermont is filled with natural beauty, from mountains to forests. In addition to these, you’ll also find beautiful waterfalls in every part of the state. Almost all of them are easily accessible as they sit next to the road. What’s more appealing is that several waterfalls here feature swimming holes where you can enjoy cooling off in summer. Moreover, they are mainly located close to each other. So, if you have time left after visiting one, you can always find another one in the nearby area.

Waterfalls in Vermont

Waterfalls in Northern Vermont

1. Moss Glen Falls (Stowe)

Moss Glen Falls in Northern Vermont

Located within Stowe Village, Moss Glen Falls is a scenic 125-foot waterfall often confused with its namesake falls in Glenville. It cascades in several drops before plunging into the pool below. One can capture its beauty from different angles. The upper viewpoint, sitting on top of the gorge wall, will give you the best views of the waterfall’s upper portion. On the other hand, the lower one will provide you with views of the entire waterfall. However, you will have to wet your feet to go upstream into the gorge to reach the latter point.

You can also visit the nearby Bingham Falls and Hell Brook Cascades for a whole day’s adventure.

Nearest City: About 4.3 miles from Stowe

Hiking & Other Activities: The trailhead is a five-minute drive from Stowe Village. It’s an easy hike of about a quarter-mile from there, except for the short steep climb just before reaching the viewpoint. You can explore further by treading along the trail to enjoy the natural vistas after spending time at the waterfall.

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2. Big Falls

Big Falls in Northern Vermont

As you get down your car, you can clearly hear the sound of Big Falls gushing down along the Missisquoi River. The waterfall stays true to its name as it is indeed one of the largest underdeveloped waterfalls of the state. Located within Big Falls State Park in Troy, it offers several water activities. You can enjoy wading, swimming, and even fishing near its base while soaking in its scenery of old-growth hemlock and pine trees. Many also climb up to its upper section to get a birds-eye view of it cascading down the gorge. However, you will have to be careful of the rocky and slippery paths.

Nearest City: About 5.5 miles from Troy

Hiking & Other Activities: Though a short trail from the parking lot, the steep drop-off can be pretty dangerous. Once you make your way to the falls, you can enjoy picnicking and sightseeing here. As the pool beneath it is rock-filled, you can walk along the river and enjoy swimming or fishing there.

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3. Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls in Northern Vermont

Bingham Falls within Mt. Mansfield State Forest is a secluded yet well-known waterfall in Stowe, frequently visited by locals and tourists alike. Even before reaching it, you will be treated with the views of multiple cascades, gorges, and pools as you hike along the Little River. However, the centerpiece is the Bingham Falls, dramatically cascading into the teal-colored pool. It attracts many to enjoy a refreshing dip during the hot months. Do keep in mind to check the water currents before entering it as many tragedies have occurred here.

Nearest City: About 6.5 miles from Stowe

Hiking & Other Activities: It is pretty easy to access the waterfall via a short trail from the parking lot. But this steep path leading to its base contains rocky steps which can be slippery.

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4. Green River Falls

Green River Falls in Northern Vermont

If planning to visit the Green River Reservoir in north-central Vermont, you can take a short pause to glance at this 20-foot waterfall that sits on the way. Fed by the Green River, it flows at its best from May to October when it is raining. Though a decent little waterfall, you can enjoy some quiet time before heading to your destination.

Nearest City: About 4.5 miles from Hyde Park

Hiking & Other Activities: It is a roadside waterfall and can be seen from the parking lot off Garfield Road. The nearby Green River Reservoir State Park offers fun activities, including fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and camping.

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Waterfalls in Southern Vermont

1. Lye Brook Falls

Lye Brook Falls in Southern Vermont

This attractive seasonal waterfall comes to life, particularly during the monsoon season. Formerly known as Trestle Cascade, it tumbles down 125 feet in a series of multiple small steps over different tiers. As it is a part of Lye Brook Wilderness, you will get additional views of the surrounding hardwood forests. Though swimming is not suitable in the shallow and rocky pool into which it pours, you can enjoy sitting by it and taking in its views.

Nearest City: About 4.7 miles from Manchester

Hiking & Other Activities: The trail leading to the waterfall is about 4.5 miles (out and back). It is of moderate difficulty but well-marked and easy to follow. Since there are numerous streams to cross on the way, it is best to wear waterproof shoes. This place is also an ideal picnicking spot.

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2. East Willard Twin Covered Bridge and Waterfall

East Willard Twin Covered Bridge and Waterfall in Southern Vermont

Isn’t it a spectacular sight to see bridges and waterfalls at the same spot! Located in Hartland in southeastern Vermont, these historical twin bridges with a waterfall beneath each of them are pretty picturesque and can be viewed from different angles. They flow from a height of about 30 feet over dark-colored rocks. You can also get views of the gorgeous Ottoquechee River and the lush scenery from the bridges.

Nearest City: About 5 miles from Hartland

Hiking & Other Activities: The place is close to the parking lot and can be viewed easily by a short-distance walk. You can also see them while boating or canoeing along the river.

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3. Buttermilk Falls

Buttermilk Falls in Southern Vermont

Buttermilk Falls are a series of waterfalls flowing within Okemo State Forest in southeast Vermont. The upper and middle sections have deep tempting pools below them. Don’t forget to carry your bathing suits to enjoy a refreshing time here. The lower falls are much smaller, cascading into a shallow pool. If planning to stay on land, you can sit on one of the rock ledges and enjoy the views.

Nearest City: About 3.3 miles from Ludlow

Hiking & Other Activities: It is a short family-friendly trail from about half a mile from the parking lot. You can also bring along your dogs. Nature-gazing and picnicking are some other activities that you can enjoy on your visit to the falls.

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3. Hamilton Falls

Hamilton Falls in Southern Vermont

Hamilton Falls is a summer hotspot flowing along Cobb Brook near Jamaica State Park. Cascading from 125 feet, it lands into a clear pool, making it an excellent place for visitors to swim and splash waters. There’s also a deep pothole and rock ledges at the top of the waterfall. However, swimming there is a prohibited activity as it is dangerous and has claimed about 12 lives so far.

Nearest City: About 7.5 miles from Jamaica

Hiking & Other Activities: The trail is about 3 miles from the parking lot to the falls. It is flat and easy for the first two miles, while the last mile is an uphill hike and moderate difficulty. You can also go to the nearby Jamaica State Park that offers plenty of recreational activities like fishing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, picnicking, and hiking.

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Waterfalls in Western Vermont

1. Bartlett Falls

Bartlett Falls in Western Vermont

For those seeking a gorgeous waterfall with swimming holes, you can consider visiting the Bartlett Falls. Its clean and refreshing waters invite visitors to plunge into it, especially from the surrounding small cliffs. But do remember to check the water depths before diving in. The alcove behind the waterfall is not to be missed for a serene experience. In addition, the flat rock ledges here provide an ideal spot for spending a relaxing time while you soak in the sounds of the flowing water. It is also a popular whitewater kayaking destination during the springtime when kayakers riding on the New Haven River often cruise over the falls.

Nearest City: About 2 miles from Bristol

Hiking & Other Activities: A short trail will take you to the waterfall from the parking lot. Bring along your picnic baskets to enjoy a meal here with your loved ones.

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2. Texas Falls

Texas Falls in Western Vermont

You might be familiar with this cascading beauty as it has often been included in Vermont’s magazines and postcards. Located within Green Mountain National Forest, Texas Falls consists of two small yet distinct plunges gushing through the striking gorge walls. The deep blue-green pool into which it drains was once a swimming hotspot. Several cases of injuries have now led to a prohibition of the activity here. However, its beauty still attracts many. Head to the bridge above its source, Texas Brook, to get the best views.

Nearest City: About 3.5 miles from Hancock                                                              

Hiking & Other Activities: Texas Falls are easily accessible as they are near the parking lot. A 1.2-mile loop trail at the waterfall area traverses through the dense forest and connects to the picnic area.

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3. Moss Glen Falls (Granville)

Moss Glen Falls in Western Vermont

This stunning horsetail waterfall has a 35-foot drop. The thin streams of water pouring down over the moss-filled rock face into a shallow pool are a sight to behold. You can enjoy splashing waters and clicking photos here. If visiting in springtime, you will be rewarded with another waterfall at the trailhead near the parking lot. It is a narrower one, often referred to as Little Moss Glen Falls.

Nearest City: About 2.5 miles from Granville

Hiking & Other Activities: The waterfall is just off the road. There’s a short family-friendly wooden walkway leading to it. Do take tur time to explore the area to enjoy the surrounding natural vistas.

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4. Middlebury Falls

Middlebury Falls in Western Vermont

Middlebury Falls are undoubtedly a favorite among many due to its beauty and easy accessibility. It is a wide waterfall in the middle of the town, formed by the Otter Creek below Route 125 Bridge. You can enjoy viewing it from different perspectives, one being from the footbridge in Riverfront Park. As a bonus, don’t miss exploring the charming little town of Middletown, which features many other attraction sites, including the campus of Middletown College.

Nearest City: About 0.2 miles from Middlebury

Hiking & Other Activities: Walking for a short distance from the parking lot will make you witness this waterfall. In addition, you will find many picnic tables within the park and restaurants in the vicinity.

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5. Falls of Lana

Falls of Lana in Western Vermont

A trip to the Falls of Lana will reward you with one of the most picturesque beauties in Vermont. Within Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, it consists of many tiers. The upper one is a gorgeous horsetail waterfall entering a deep pool in a zig-zag motion. On the other hand, the lower sections are equally splendid, comprising horsetails and cascades flowing through a gorge and draining into another pool. Visitors enjoy plunging into the cool and tempting waters of both in summer.

Nearest City: About 14.5 miles from Salisbury

Hiking & Other Activities: The hike along the 4-mile loop is moderate in difficulty level. Meandering through forests, it provides stunning vistas all along the surrounding cliffs and waterfall area. Do keep in mind that this trail remains closed from mid-May till August 1 every year due to peregrine falcon nesting.

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6. McLaughlin Falls 

McLaughlin Falls in Western Vermont

McLaughlin Falls are lesser-known as they sit at an off-the-beaten-path, probably in a private property. However, it is worth a short visit to glance at the 30-foot waterfall that cascades in three drops, the highest one being 15 feet. They appear pretty impressive all year round. If coming in winter, do be careful of the slippery tracks.

You can also visit the nearby Thundering Falls to enjoy seeing two waterfalls in a day.

Nearest City: About 7 miles from Killington

Hiking & Other Activities: A short path off Wheelerville Road in Mendon will take you through the forests to the waterfall. Don’t miss exploring the town of Killington, home to the largest ski resort in the state.

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Waterfalls in Central Vermont

1. Warren Falls

Warren Falls in Central Vermont

Fed by the Mad River, Warren Falls comprises a set of multiple small plunges. What makes it popular is the deep emerald pool in which it drops. Visitors of all ages enjoy cooling off during the hot days, and many even attempt cliff-diving from the encompassing boulders and small cliffs. As most of these rock formations are flat-surfaced, you can enjoy spending time sun-bathing or simply sitting back and admiring the surrounding beauty.

Nearest City: About 1.3 miles from Warren

Hiking & Other Activities: The waterfall is easily accessible via a short path from the parking lot. You can enjoy picnicking or exploring the nearby trails for additional views.

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2. Thundering Brook Falls

Thundering Brook Falls in Central Vermont

Thundering Brook Falls, plunging from about 125 feet, is a spectacular beauty throughout the year. On reaching the viewing platform near its base, you can see the 80-foot lower falls. The upper falls are extremely photogenic but can be accessed only by climbing uphill. Watch out for your steps as the rocks can be slippery, particularly in monsoon or winter seasons.

Nearest City: About 0.2 miles from Killington

Hiking & Other Activities: A short boardwalk from the parking lot will bring you to the waterfall. This place also provides birdwatching opportunities. So, don’t forget to carry your binoculars.

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TOP PICKS

Best Waterfalls for Hiking: Lye Brook Falls, Falls of Lana, Hamilton Falls

Best Waterfalls for Swimming: Warren Falls, Bingham Falls, Hamilton Falls, Bartlett Falls

Best Waterfalls for Camping: Bingham Falls, Hamilton Falls, Lye Brook Falls

Best Hidden Waterfalls: Thundering Brook Falls, Buttermilk Falls, Warren Falls

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