Vermont Hiking, Nature, Waterfalls June 17, 2022
18 Best Waterfalls In Vermont – Local Favorites & Hidden Gems
Vermont might well be one of the smallest states in the country, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in scenic splendor. Lauded for its vibrant fall foliage and green mountains, Vermont is also a treasure trove of waterfalls.
For instance, did you know that there is one county in Vermont that boasts 16 wondrous waterfalls ? Or that Moss Glen Falls has been hailed as one of the best waterfalls in the Northeast? Or that, despite often being written off as a state for winter recreation, there are abundant waterfall swimming holes in Vermont ?
The Green Mountain State is full of surprises – beautiful, wonderful surprises – and today we’re going on a waterfall chasing tour de force to uncover the best waterfalls in Vermont.
Best Waterfalls in Vermont
From waterfall hikes and superlative cascades to clear-blue waterfall swimming holes and frozen falls, waterfall chasing is a 24/7/365 pastime in Vermont, with these falls offering the perfect enticement to brave the elements of the Northeast.
Here at OnlyInYourState, our insatiable appetite for wanderlust keeps us going, and waterfall chasing is our most favorite way to satisfy our adventure-seeking souls. And in Vermont, unlimited adventures – and waterfalls – await. Here are the best waterfalls in Vermont that belong on every adventurer’s bucket list.
1. Moss Glen Falls Location: Putnam State Forest, Stowe, VT, 05672 Popularity: Very Things to know: One of the best and most accessible waterfalls in Vermont, view Moss Glen Falls from a viewpoint located along a quick trail, or check out the falls from vantage points along Vermont’s Route 100.
Located in pristine Putnam State Forest, you’ll find what is easily the most acclaimed and astonishing waterfall in Vermont.
Moss Glen Falls
is a stunning 125-foot waterfall that features plunge, horsetail, and fan shapes. Easily accessible for most hikers, a short-and-sweet 10-minute hike will give you an easy trek to view from the middle viewpoint for peak waterfall viewing. Prefer to view the waterfall sans a hike? Moss Glen Falls is located right off of Vermont's scenic Route 100, and is easily accessible from the roadside.
1 Hour Away: Drive to nearby Burlington, rated one of the best small towns in America! 2. Bristol Falls (AKA Bartlett Falls) Location: 23-655 Lincoln Rd, Bristol, VT, 05443 Popularity: Very Things to know:Bristol Falls is also called Bartlett Falls, and you’ll see the two names used interchangeably in online reviews.
At 14 feet in height, Bristol (or Bartlett) Falls feeds into the New Haven River. The waterfalls views and swimming hole make this a great spot for a family outing.
in Vermont is a great spot to simply relax and enjoy the sounds of the tumbling water. It's so close to Vermont Route 116, so it's no wonder Bristol Falls is considered one of the best waterfalls in Vermont – especially if you're looking for an epic swimming spot in the summer!
15 minutes away: Head to nearby Bobcat Cafe, one of the best breweries in Vermont that’s known for its behemoth burgers and upscale pub grub! 3. Lye Brook Falls Location: Lye Brook Falls Trailhead, Manchester Center, VT, 05255 Popularity: This is a popular waterfall that’s especially beautiful after a healthy spring rain. However, given the hike to the falls, it’s not as popular as some more readily accessible waterfalls in Vermont. Things to know:You’ll need to hike 1.8 miles to access this waterfall, and the trail is generally considered Moderate by most hikers.
The tallest and most commanding waterfall in Vermont,
Lye Brook Falls
is 125 feet of pure natural beauty. This 125+ foot waterfall consists of several tiers of cascades and horsetails, making for a jaw-dropping scene unlike any other. The moderate, 1.8-mile hike is a bit rugged at times and rated moderate, but if you’re willing to lace up your shoes and hit the trails, you’re in for quite the treat. Add this one to the list of best waterfall hikes in Vermont!
1 HOUR AWAY: Head to Half Moon Pond State Park, a little-known Vermont State Park with some of the best camping in the Northeast! Top Waterfall Hikes in Vermont
Nothing compares to a hike with a waterfall — especially in the Green Mountain State, where the lush landscape and dreamy scenery makes for a wholly enchanting waterfall chasing experience.
For avid waterfall enthusiasts, the following are considered to the the top waterfall hikes in Vermont; lace up your hiking boots and see if you agree!
4. Buttermilk Falls Location: Ludlow, VT, 05149 Popularity: A popular waterfall hike and waterfall swimming hole, Buttermilk Falls can get quite crowded during the summer months. Things to know: This half-mile waterfall trail is considered an easy hike for most.
From Bingham Falls to Lye Brook Falls, and all the small ones in between (more on those in a bit), Vermont sure has some wonderful hidden gems in its backyard. One of the most underrated waterfalls in the Green Mountain State is Buttermilk Falls, a classic and stunning cascade that’s also, as it so happens, one of the best waterfall hikes in Vermont. Immensely beautiful,
is actually composed of a few different cascades. At the upper falls, you'll find a fairly deep olive-green natural pool and a 20-foot falls; the middle falls is a great place to hang out and swim due to its large and calming pool; further downstream, the lower pools and falls offer a more relaxing and secluded experience.
1 .5 Hours Away: New York’s lovely Lake George is a scenic 90-minute drive from Buttermilk Falls, and makes for an amazing weekend getaway for Vermonters! 5. Falls of Lana Location: Salisbury, VT, 05769 Popularity: This is a very popular area for hiking and trail running, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through November; however, these times tend to be more crowded, so visit in the winter months for a more secluded experience. Things to know: This 4.0-mile loop trail to Falls of Lana is generally considered moderate. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.
Another immensely scenic waterfall hike in Vermont, you'll find beautiful horsetails and cascades at the
Falls of Lana
in Salisbury. Towering over 100 feet in height, this mesmerizing waterfall hike offers different vantage points which range from easily accessible vistas to harder-to-access overlooks suitable for more experienced hikers.
5 Minutes Away: Lake Dunmore
is a mere five-minute drive from the Falls of Lana, and is a wonderful lake with clear-blue waters and a soft, sandy beach that’s a perfect summertime retreat in Vermont!
6. Smuggler's Notch Location: Cambridge, VT, 05464 Popularity:Smuggler's Notch is a popular place for waterfall chasers; the Bingham Falls Trail is one of the best and most traversed waterfall hikes in Vermont. Things to know:The falls are located within Smuggler’s Notch State Park, which has a nominal Day Use Fee. This Virginia State Park offers all sorts of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including bouldering, hiking, biking, cave exploring, and camping.
Smuggler’s Notch is a veritable treasure trove of Vermont Falls, with several cascades worth seeking out at this oasis. Within within Smuggler’s Notch State Park is the half-mile hike leading to
known as, predictably, the Bingham Falls Trail; it’s pretty easy and appropriate for most hikers of all skill levels, and it’s so beautiful you might feel like you “cheated” by accessing it so easily! This is absolutely one of the best waterfall hikes in Vermont and a must for your bucket list.
15 Minutes Away: Smuggler’s Notch is located near one of the best mountain resorts in the country *and* the state’s highest peak. Stowe Mountain Resort is an absolute paradise in Vermont, with Mount Mansfield and its surrounding peaks boasting world-class recreation, including skiing and snowboarding. Easy Waterfall Hikes in Vermont
There’s nothing like the thrill of the chase, and this most certainly applies to waterfall chasing.
However, novice or beginner hikers can still participate in the fun, as some of the best waterfall hikes in the Green Mountain State are also the most accessible.
Take a look at the following easy waterfall hikes in Vermont; they offer immensely scenic payoffs for minimal effort!
7. Thundering Brook Falls Location: 2295 River Rd., Killington, VT, 05751 Popularity: Very. In addition to the waterfall trail, this area is popular among birders and wildlife enthusiasts. Things to know: This half-mile trail is rated easy, and dogs are welcome as long as they remain on-leash.
What makes Thundering Brook Falls stand out from other easy waterfall hikes in Vermont is the falls themselves.
Thundering Brook Falls
features a unique and striking rock pattern; the flow of the falls trickles down myriad natural stairs in perfect synchrony. The entire area is simply breathtaking, and there is a short-and-sweet, half-mile boardwalk trail to reach the waterfall.
15 Minutes Away: For those looking to hike a portion of the acclaimed Appalachian Trail, there’s an entry point just five miles from Thundering Brook Falls! 8. Old City Falls Location: Old City Falls Branch, Strafford, VT, 05072 Popularity: Not very – this waterfall is a total hidden gem! Things to know: This short-and-sweet hike is easy; however, the walk down to the falls is rocky and can be a bit slippery, so wear appropriate footwear.
While you can practically drive right up to the beautiful
Moss Glen Falls in Vermont
, there are some waterfalls that require a bit of hiking and searching. The path to Old City Falls isn’t as clearly marked as other waterfall hikes, but if you’re able to follow it to the secret waterfall, it will be well-worth the search. The upper falls has a 45-foot drop into a cerulean blue pool, which makes for a refreshing swimming spot on hot summer days!
15 Minutes Away: Strafford, Vermont, is also home to an abandoned copper mine that’s rife with opportunities for exploration and adventure! 9. Bittersweet Falls Location: Weybridge, VT, 05753 Popularity: Not very! This 0.2-mile hike is one of the best easy waterfall hikes in Vermont, and it’s a total hidden gem. Things to know: Since the water flow tends to be higher after a rainstorm in the spring and after a snowfall in the winter, these are the best times to visit Bittersweet Falls. Bittersweet Falls
is a quick-and-easy 0.2-mile in-and-out hike in Middlebury, Vermont. The flat path and short distance make the trail conducive for hikers of all different levels. In addition to the views along the trail, the highlight of this short and scenic hike are the falls at the end of the path; there are multiple vantage points to take in the cascades, which are at their fullest in the springtime. Along with enjoying the gorgeous waterfall views, this area is teeming with wildlife, so keep an eye out for frogs, fish, and myriad forest creatures!
15-30 Minutes Away: Addison, Vermont, is home to no less than 16 waterfalls, so stay and make a day of epic waterfall chasing in this incredible county! No-Hike Waterfalls in Vermont
While we’re all for lacing up our boots and embarking on an epic waterfall adventure, sometimes, even the most avid waterfall chasers need a break from, well, the chase.
And of course, we happen to think these natural wonders deserve to be admired by everyone, not just pro hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Luckily, there are some truly magnificent
no-hike waterfalls in Vermont, just waiting to be admired! Here are some of our favorites… 10. Moss Glen Falls Location: Putnam State Forest, Stowe, VT, 05672 Popularity: Very Things to know: One of the best and most accessible waterfalls in Vermont, those wishing to see the falls sans hike can head to the vantage points along Vermont’s Route 100.
Easily the most wondrous “roadside attraction” in Vermont, Moss Glen Falls has all the beauty of the state’s more elusive falls, but with no hiking necessary.
Moss Glen Falls
is a stunning 125-foot waterfall that features plunge, horsetail, and fan shapes. While those looking for a hike can definitely find some beautiful trails nearby, there are also numerous vantage points along Route 100 that offer million-dollar views of Moss Glen Falls, no hiking necessary!
30 Minutes Away: The Green Mountain State is lauded for its abundant fall foliage, and Vermont Route 100 (where you’ll find Moss Glen Falls) is one of the best scenic stretches to take in the colors! 11. Middlebury Falls Location: Middlebury, VT, 05753 Popularity: Very Things to know: Middlebury Falls is an 18-foot block-style falls located smack in the center of town.
Middlebury is lauded as Vermont’s very own
, and its centerpiece is the eponymous Middlebury Falls. This cascade is unique in that it’s a bona fide urban waterfall, and it’s the definition feature of Middlebury, Vermont. Framed by old brick buildings, a quaint collage, and covered bridge, this is a delightful destination for those looking for the ultimate charming small town/waterfall chasing twofer!
15 minutes away: Stay and explore Middlebury, Vermont, which features its very own vineyard that’s perfect for a relaxing afternoon in the Green Mountain State! 12. Vergennes Falls Park Location: 103 Mechanic St, Vergennes, VT, 05491 Popularity: Not very - this waterfall is a bit of a town secret! Things to know: Located in the eponymous park, Vergennes Falls has picnic tables and grills for a relaxing picnic with a view.
Another beautiful urban waterfall in Vermont,
is a vision of breathtaking beauty! The perfect backdrop for a picnic, take in the beautiful view of Otter Creek rushing between the buildings perched on rocky islands creating three segmented waterfalls that drop 37 feet in a huge splash. The park is equipped with picnic tables and grills just waterside so you can enjoy dinner with a view.
2.5 hours away: Head east to Franconia Notch State Park, a beautiful oasis in New Hampshire!
Vermont Waterfalls You Can Swim In
After a day spent chasing waterfalls all around the Green Mountain State, it’s time for some R&R.
And you don’t have to look elsewhere to find a tranquil slice of paradise; there are myriad Vermont waterfalls with cool, cerulean blue pools in which you can actually swim!
Yes, you read that right: even in the Green Mountain State, which is best-known for its crisp autumns and snowy winters, when the summer heat kicks in (and it always does), there’s nothing better than a dip in one of these Vermont waterfalls you can swim in:
13. Pikes Falls Location: Jamaica, VT, 05343 Popularity: Very – especially in the summer! Things to know: This waterfall swimming hole also features a natural waterslide, so wear appropriate footwear for slippery and wet conditions.
A perennial summertime favorite in the Green Mountain State, people of all ages love visiting
on a hot day. In addition to spending time in nature, visitors can slide down a natural rock “waterslide” and then splash into the cool pool beside the falls, which consist of three distinct drops which fall for a total of 32 feet. You’ll take the eponymous Pikes Falls Road to reach this easy-to-access gem located in, appropriately enough, Jamaica, Vermont.
2 Hours Away: 2 Hours Away: Looking for some warmth post-swim? Visit Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, New York! 14. Warren Falls Location: 3919 Vermont Rte 100, Warren, VT, 05674 Popularity: Very Things to know: While fairly easy to locate, set your GPS to 3919 VT-100 in Warren, Vermont, for the most straightforward directions.
Conveniently located along VT-100,
is a great stop to check out a series of small waterfalls along the Mad River that are picture-perfect Vermont waterfalls you can swim in. A short path leads to a series of steep waterfalls with deep, shockingly blue natural swimming holes noted for cliff jumping. Since Warren Falls is a popular destination in Vermont when it's hot, plan to head here in the morning, preferably mid-week.
1-4 Hours Away: Warren Falls is one of the falls in our Weekend Waterfall Road Trip through Vermont, and we recommend visiting them all! 15. Bingham Falls Swimming Hole Location: Cambridge, VT, 05464 Popularity:Very, especially in the summer. Things to know:The falls are located within Smuggler’s Notch State Park, which has a nominal Day Use Fee.
located in the wondrous wilds of Smuggler's Notch State Park, and it truly is the park’s crown jewel. Not only is the trek to the falls one of the best waterfall hikes in Vermont, but Bingham Falls is perhaps the most glorious Vermont waterfall you can swim in! On a hot summer day, the cool waters of Bingham Falls will feel sublime. Since Bingham Falls is located in Smuggler's Notch State Park, you can easily spend a day exploring this area in Vermont.
1.5 Hours Away: The town of Woodstock, Vermont is irresistibly charming and makes for a perfect weekend getaway post-waterfall chasing! Best Road Trips to Vermont Waterfalls
For those who live for the
thrill of the chase, there’s nothing more exciting than an action-packed road trip adventure to some of the region’s finest falls.
Here at Only In Vermont, we love nothing more than creating epic road itineraries, and think you’ll find the following adventures to be among the best road trips to Vermont waterfalls:
16. Ultimate Waterfall Road Trip Trip Stats: Our Ultimate Vermont Waterfall Road Trip covers just over 220 miles and takes roughly six hours to complete. Highlights: This trip visits some of the state’s most popular waterfalls, like Bingham Falls, as well as hidden gems such as Little Ellis Falls. Points of InterestPoints of Interest: Jeudevine Falls, the last destination on this list, and it’s located in Hardwick, Vermont, near Kimball House B&B, Cabot Creamery, Hill Farmstead Brewery, and more!
If you’re looking for the “best of the best” in terms of road trips to Vermont waterfalls, look no further. In this epic adventure, you will find some of the most beautiful waterfalls in this do-able
Ultimate Waterfall Road Trip
which takes just over six hours of drive time, start to finish. Of course, with highlights such as Moss Glen Falls, Bingham Falls, and Bolton Potholes, you will definitely want to budget extra time for exploring each wondrous waterfall along the way!
15 Minutes Away: A quick drive from Jeudevine Falls, you’ll find the acclaimed Kimball House B&B, which makes for the perfect overnight accommodations post-trip! 17. Northeast Kingdom Waterfall Day Trip Trip Stats:Exploring the waterfalls within Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom can easily be done in a day! Highlights: You’ll see sites such as the tallest waterfall in Vermont (Moss Glen Falls) and a beloved waterfall swimming hole (Bingham Falls) on this day trip. Points of Interest: Big Falls is located at the northernmost extremity of Vermont, right along the Canadian border. This 40-foot cascade is considered one of the largest undeveloped waterfalls on a major river in Vermont.
As one of the most picturesque spots in the country, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is known for its spectacular scenery throughout the entire year. This includes lush greenery, colorful foliage, gorgeous winter views after a snowfall, and some of the most breathtaking waterfalls in Vermont, including one located right on the international border! When you visit this scenic part of Vermont, you’ll find that you can easily spend the day checking out waterfalls, which we outline in this
Vermont waterfall day trip itinerary
30 Minutes Away: Stay at the charming Cliff Haven Farm Bed and Breakfast and revel in the sublime landscape of Northwest Vermont! 18. Vermont Weekend Waterfalls Road Trip Trip Stats: This trip is 166 miles and takes around four hours of driving. Highlights: Bittersweet Falls and Thundering Brook Falls are sure to take your breath away! Points of Interest: In addition to the attractions mapped out in the itinerary, we recommend planning some hiking adventures in Green Mountain National Forest after visiting Hamilton Falls.
If you’re looking for the Goldilocks of Vermont waterfall road trips, this
fits the bill. Longer than a day trip and shorter than a week-long journey, this short-and-sweet road trip visits seven stunning waterfalls, along with fun, only-in-Vermont points of interest along the way. Highlights include Thundering Brook Falls and Hamilton Falls, the latter of which often freezes over in the winter! As for attractions, you’ll visit Vermont icons such as the Trapp Family Lodge and Green Mountain Sugar House. What a fun adventure!
1-2 Hours Away: This road trip begins and ends within an hour of two beautiful national forests in the Northeast: Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont and White Mountain National Forest in Maine and New Hampshire. Hidden Gem Waterfalls in Vermont
There’s hidden beauty everywhere in the Green Mountain State, a place with verdant forests and cerulean pools that seems straight out of Middle Earth.
This is especially true of the myriad hidden gem waterfalls in Vermont, which you’ll discover along the state’s waters and woodland.
Come along with us as we chase down some hidden gem waterfalls in Vermont!
19. Buttermilk Falls Location: Ludlow, VT, 05149 Popularity: Depends. With various water features, Buttermilk Falls can get quite crowded during the summer months, but during the winter months, it’s an uncrowded hidden gem. Things to know: This half-mile waterfall trail is rated easy.
For an adventure-filled day of waterfall chasing in Vermont,
in Ludlow is *the* spot to go. With several swimming holes and tons of outdoor activities for any season, you'll definitely leave the Okemo Valley with a smile. However, during the colder months of the year, there’s a serenity that descends upon this area that offers a quiet place for contemplation and reflection.
15 Minutes Away: Stay and explore Ludlow, a charming little town in Vermont that will quickly feel just like home! 20. Big Falls Location: Troy, VT, 05859 Popularity: Not very; this waterfall is the very definition of a true hidden gem! Things to know: The hike to the falls is a quick and easy trek from the parking lot, but wear shoes with good traction, as the vantage points can be quite slick.
You’ll have to venture clear to the northernmost extremity of Vermont, but this cascade along the Canadian border is well-worth the chase. right along the Canadian border. This 40-foot waterfall is considered one of the largest undeveloped waterfalls on a major river in Vermont, and it’s truly the definition of a
hidden gem waterfall
10 Minutes Away: Stay in Troy and visit the beguiling River Road Covered Bridge, the northernmost bridge in the state! 21. Emerson Falls Location: Emerson Falls Rd, St Johnsbury, VT, 05819 Popularity: Not very. Things to know: The town of St. Johnsbury, wherein Emerson Falls is located, is a small town in Caledonia County, Vermont, that was originally granted in 1760 as part of the New Hampshire Grants. Today, it’s a beautiful slice of the Northeast that’s known for its vibrant fall foliage.
most elusive hidden waterfall in the Green Mountain State
, Emerson Falls is so hidden, almost no one – even the most avid waterfall enthusiasts – has seen it in person. Intrigued? Just outside St. Johnsbury, Emerson Falls is a part of Sleepers River and is surrounded by the scenic landscapes for which Vermont is celebrated. Especially ravishing in the spring following a snow melt, Emerson Falls drops 25 feet in a series of cascades along a basalt slope, and is a must for your waterfall bucket list.
5 minutes away: Since you’ll be in Saint Johnsbury, feel free to hop on over to the legendary dog chapel, a wholly unique roadside attraction in Vermont! Seasonal Vermont Waterfalls
While pretty much all of Vermont’s waterfalls are beautiful year-round, there are some seasonal standouts.
The frozen falls of winter are something to behold; and when the snow begins to melt, the spring cascades come back stronger than ever.
Summer means falls framed by verdant greenery, which, come autumn, transform into the vibrant fall foliage for which Vermont is well known.
Here are a few
seasonal Vermont waterfallsthat are true standouts: 22. Waits River Falls Location: Bradford, VT, 05033 Popularity: Not very. This waterfall is known to town residents, but a hidden gem for the rest of the state! Things to know: This is an accessible waterfall in Vermont located in the heart of the irresistibly charming small town of Bradford, Vermont.
Vermont is a state known for its fearsome winters. Temperatures can positively plummet here. But all that cold weather comes with a major benefit – the natural beauty that snow and ice create! Yes, all the snow Vermont gets turns much of the state into an actual winter wonderland. Consider the waterfalls that dot the state. They’re lovely during the summer, but in the chillier months, they transform into something more otherworldly. A waterfall on the Waits River is a must-see in particula, transforming into something otherworldly during the deep freezes common in the Northeast.
are a collection of cascades in Bradford, Vermont, that seem to freeze mid-air in the winter. It’s a spectacular scene worth seeking out – and braving the cold for!
1 Hour Away: Looking for more winter fun in Vermont? Okemo Mountain Resort is a little over an hour from Bradford, and it’s the ultimate cold-weather playground for outdoor enthusiasts! 23. Bingham Falls Location: Cambridge, VT, 05464 Popularity: Very Things to know: The falls is located within Smuggler’s Notch State Park, which, as part of the Vermont State Park system, has a nominal Day Use Fee.
In terms of all-around seasonal all-stars, Bingham Falls wins. Not only is this waterfall swimming hole a summertime favorite, but for ardent waterfall chasers, these falls rush in a thunderous roar of power come springtime. An easy one-third-mile trail will take you to
, which is especially lovely once the winter snow begins to melt. You will be awestruck at the stunning plunges and cascades of this Mt. Mansfield State Forest wonder.
10 minutes away: Stay in Stowe to take in the town’s charm and natural surroundings; book a night at the most famous and historic hotel in Vermont, the Trapp Family Lodge! Summary
There is an embarrassment of riches in terms of natural wonders in Vermont – especially considering it’s one of the smallest states in the country.
But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in splendor, as evidenced each and every one of the best waterfalls in Vermont outlined above.
So whether you’re looking to explore the eponymous Green Mountains of Vermont or the state’s pristine alpine lakes and lush forests, an epic waterfall chasing adventure awaits… right around the corner!
Use our Interactive Map to customize your visit to each of the Best Waterfalls in Vermont covered above. Happy waterfall chasing!