6 EPIC Vermont Waterfalls & Swimming Holes You NEED to Visit

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Summer, spring, fall, or winter, the waterfalls in Vermont shine no matter the season! Keep reading to discover six must-see Vermont waterfalls and a few magical swimming holes that you won’t want to miss.

Wild Swimming Safety

You should never swim before knowing all of the risks. Make sure to asses the risk of wild swimming before taking a dip.

Check the depth before you dive. Water levels in swimming holes vary by the day due to rain. Never jump straight in and especially do not dive headfirst without knowing how deep the water is.

Wear water shoes to avoid slipping. Wearing water shoes or hiking sandals (I use my Tevas) is good practice as it allows you to keep your feet safe and avoid cuts due to sharp rocks. They also make it much easier to exit the water as there are often very slippery and sharp rocks that make walking very uncomfortable.

Don’t swim too close to waterfalls. You never know just how strong the force of a waterfall is until you get pulled under. Don’t swim too close to the bottom of a waterfall, especially if it has a heavy stream of water.

Always assume the current is stronger than you. Similarly to waterfall safety, you should always assume that the current is stronger than you! If you’re in a swimming hole that feeds into another waterfall, you should be cautious of getting pulled into the stream and going over. The same applies to rivers, ponds, lakes, etc.

If you still feel cold a few minutes after jumping in, get out and dry off. If you’ve ever been wild swimming, you’ll be familiar with the feeling of nice chilly water. It’s normal to be cold when you first get in but your body should adjust pretty quickly. If you start to feel numb or you’re still cold after a couple of minutes, it’s safest to get out and dry off.

Leave No Trace
Stay on designated trails. Take your trash back home with you.
Take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints!

Vermont Swimming Hole & Hiking Essentials

There are a few essentials to keep with you for your Vermont adventures. Just click on the image below to check prices.

No, you don’t need a drone but your trip to Vermont is the perfect excuse to buy one. Just check out the drone photo below that I took at Buttermilk Falls! Always be sure to check the drone laws where you are so as not to disturb nesting birds.

What Camera Gear Do We Use?

If you want the full list of things we keep in our camera bag, check out the complete guide or browse our photography guides.

Buttermilk Falls

Don’t be deterred by the seemingly small height of the waterfalls at Buttermilk Falls. In fact, the three large swimming holes more than make up for it. When you access Buttermilk Falls from the trailhead you’ll find yourself along a lovely river. If you head right you’ll reach the smallest waterfall with a small swimming hole. Head left upstream and you’ll stumble across an absolutely magnificent waterfall and very large wild swimming spot. This waterfall in Vermont is very popular so many people will stop here for a swim. However, you should continue upstream and head for the third swimming hole and waterfall. With slightly deeper waters, it’s deep enough to jump feet first from a large rock on the right side of the pond (we can’t guarantee this though so make sure to swim out first and check the depth!).

Length: 0.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Bumpy trails with roots, stones, and some scrambling, not wheelchair accessible
Swimming: 3 large swimming holes
Waterfalls: 3 falls at 8 feet, 15 feet, and 20 feet

Location: Ludlow, Vermont
Parking: Free parking is available along the road directly next to the trailhead. The falls are located along a quiet back road.

Keep Reading: Buttermilk Falls: Everything You Need to Know

Texas Falls

If you’re looking for magic, you’ll find it at Texas Falls located in Vermont’s Green Mountains. These incredible waterfalls in Vermont cascade over 35 feet and although not the tallest waterfall in Vermont, what really brings the beauty is the way the waterfalls fall into what are almost small caverns, lit by openings at the top. Sadly, swimming is not allowed at Texas Falls due to past injuries, however further downriver from the waterfalls the water is crystal clear (you’ll be asking yourself if you’re in Croatia) and relatively deep – the perfect wild swim! The main bridge that overlooks the falls is very easy to access and if you want to continue your walk you can head to two other viewing platforms and around a 1 to 1.5-mile loop.

Length: Option for extended 1.5-mile hike however to see the waterfalls you need to only walk a few hundred meters at most
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Flat bridge that overlooks the main waterfall which could be accessed by a wheelchair. To access additional viewing areas you need to walk over terrain which is bumpy with roots and rocks
Swimming: No swimming is permitted at Texas Falls due to danger, however, you could swim in the deeper parts downriver away from the falls
Waterfalls: 2 close waterfalls that feed into each other

Location: Hancock, Vermont
Parking: Free parking for Texas Falls in Vermont is located near the trailhead. Because the waterfall access point is located well off of any main roads, it’s easy to park and walk a few meters to the viewing areas.

Good to Know: There are toilets available at Texas Falls

Keep Reading: Texas Falls, Vermont: Know Before You Go

Moss Glen Falls

If you’re driving Vermont’s Scenic Route 100 Byway, you’ll probably stumble across this gorgeous waterfall at some point. You can and should park up alongside it in the designated parking area but don’t be surprised if this stunning natural wonder is crowded. Thankfully, because the “hike” (if you can even call the short walk that) to Moss Glen Falls is so easy and there’s really once you reach the viewing platform you just turn around and go back, people are on constant rotation and it’s just the photographers that stick around for a longer period of time. You could theoretically swim here as the bottom of the waterfall does offer a small pool, however, because the waterfall is right next to the road and tourists are constantly stopping to see it, you’ll end up in a lot of holiday photo albums and might get a few honks from drivers.

Length: 0.1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: The viewing platform is accessible via wooden bridges. Some slightly bumpy areas and gaps which may be difficult but not impossible with a wheelchair
Swimming: I suppose you could, but it’s so close to the road which means a lot of foot traffic and which just one swimming hole and waterfall, you would probably be in a lot of people’s photos
Waterfalls: 1

Location: Granville, Vermont
Parking: Free parking for Moss Glen Falls is directly off of the Scenic Route 100 Byway (a must-drive route in Vermont!) next to the waterfall.

Read More: Moss Glen Falls – Don’t Go Until You Read This

Warren Falls

If you’re looking for swimming holes in Vermont, look no further than Warren Falls. Complete with several different pools including one deep enough for cliff jumping, many waterfalls, and gorgeous foliage, Warren Falls is the place to be. Stay tuned for the Youtube video where I meet a guy who does a polar plunge at Warren Falls in October (and lets me film him!). This waterfall in Vermont is located just off of the Scenic Route 100 Byway but is far enough back from the road that you get some privacy and quiet from road noise.

Length: 0.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Accessibility: Bumpy paths covered in roots and rocks
Swimming: Loads of pools for swimming and one sometimes up to 12 ft deep for cliff jumping (be sure to check the depth before you jump!)
Waterfalls: 2 or 3 larger waterfalls and lots of small waterfalls

Location: Warren, Vermont
Parking: Free parking for Warren Falls is located directly off of the Scenic Route 100 Byway. Park up and follow the signs to the waterfalls. Note that the parking lot is very bumpy and has lots of potholes. Drive safely!

Thundering Brook Falls

Looking for an impressive waterfall in Vermont with minimal effort? Thundering Brook Falls in Killington has you covered. I recommend starting by heading to River Rd Fork and following the boardwalk to the small viewing platform where you can see the most dramatic part of the waterfall. Then, you can either head back towards the boardwalk and take the path up the hill (on your left with your back facing the boardwalk) which takes about 10 minutes but is uphill and is moderately difficult. Alternatively, if you don’t want to hike up, you can follow Thundering Brook Rd around and up to the top. of the falls. This is a gorgeous and quiet area with a large stream and lots of small waterfalls. You’ll also find a medium-sized swimming hole if you want to take a dip! If you continue following Thundering Brook Rd away from the falls, you’ll hit Kent Pond which is a must-see site in Vermont in the fall!

Length: 0.4 miles
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (ready description above)
Accessibility: A long, flat boardwalk wooden boardwalk takes you most of the way, however, to access the Thundering Brook Falls viewing platform you need to walk over dirt paths that are bumpy with rocks and roots
Swimming: Moderately sized swimming hole at the top of the falls
Waterfalls: One 80ft waterfall but smaller waterfalls and the main one total over 125 ft

Location: Killington, Vermont
Parking: Free parking is available at the bottom of the trail (at the start of the boardwalk) on River Rd Fork or at the top of the falls by the swimming hole on Thundering Brook Rd

Read More: The Complete Guide to Thundering Brook Falls

Hamilton Falls

Hamilton Falls has recently received a surge in visits, so much so that a trail ranger was there doing surveys when. visited. Because of this, parking is very limited so it’s worth getting there early to grab a spot. In the parking lot, you can either go right (when facing the parking lot) to access the top pothole. This small pool features a metal ladder that is there in case someone falls in. Because this pool feeds into the 100+ foot drop, you should not swim here. Several people have died by swimming in this pothole. Alternatively, you can head left from the parking lot and follow the bumpy trail down to the bottom. of the falls to access the swimming hole. With a gorgeous fall tree, this makes for the perfect photo opportunity and has real Oregon vibes! There are two swimming holes that feed into one another, both several feet deep.

Length: About 0.5 miles downhill to the bottom viewing area OR 6 miles roundtrip hike from Jamaica State Park
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible due to dirt paths with roots and rocks
Swimming: Swimming hole at the top (metal ladder is attached at the site to climb in and out as the pool is about 10 feet down from where you get in)
Waterfalls: One main waterfall and a second higher up

Location: Jamaica, Vermont
Parking: Free parking is available directly at the falls but limited spots are to be used for those who cannot make the 6-mile roundtrip hike. Alternative parking and trail directions can be found here.

Read More: Hamilton Falls: Read This BEFORE You Go

Map of Vermont Swimming Holes and Waterfalls

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5 responses to “6 EPIC Vermont Waterfalls & Swimming Holes You NEED to Visit”

  1. Sarah M. Peck

    The way to access Hamilton Falls is through Jamaica State Park in Jamaica Village. The very limited parking off West WIndham Road is for use by people unable to make the walk from JSP. Hamilton Falls is a Vermont designated Natural Area and is a very fragile ecosystem not able to handle the crowds who are overusing it. “Showing up early” to grab a limited parking space does nothing to limit the damage done to this fragile beautiful spot by overuse. Please do not urge people to visit Hamilton Falls unless you explain to them that the access is through Jamaica State Park and a hike up to the waterfall. Thank you in advance for correcting this article and doing your part to protect and preserve Vermont’s fragile natural areas.

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for your comment. We really appreciate the additional information and your commitment to preserving these amazing natural wonders. We’ll update the post within the next 24 hours to reflect the additional parking options for those who are differently abled. I would encourage you to reach out to your local parks department who manages the area to encourage them to update signs and the Google Maps listing so that people planning their trips or arriving know that there is additional parking further away. Additionally, as there was a park ranger at the parking lot talking to people when we arrived but didn’t say anything about additional parking, you could mention keeping the rangers up to date with this info to encourage people to go to the different parking area. I hope that this helps and thanks again for your commitment to keeping Vermont wild! 🙂

      1. Sarah M. Peck

        Hi Alysa, Thanks for writing back. I am sending a link to FPR’s Hamilton Falls website information. https://fpr.vermont.gov/hamilton-falls-natural-area
        I know that they are trying to get the word out that Hamilton Falls should be accessed through Jamaica State Park in Jamaica and not from West Windham Road ( the way you came). I don’t know why the park ranger was not telling people this information. They have not had good luck with Google Maps since the dead end dirt West Windham road does go by Hamilton Falls. Having people drive in creates a public safety issue if cars block the access to rescue vehicles….as well as bringing to many people to overcrowd the Natural Area. I will forward your article and our correspondence to FPR. Thanks for your understanding and help with our efforts to protect these precious places!

        1. Hey Sarah! Thank you for the details. I’ve updated the post with a link to that site and details on parking and walking! Please do let me know if any of the other sites mentioned have different sustainability initiatives that we can be a part of promoting. 🙂

          1. Sarah M. Peck

            Thank you very much, Alysa, for updating your post with the link and information about the best way to access the Natural Area. We appreciate your help in protecting Vermont’s fragile wild places.

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