I do not normally post information and directions to waterfalls that are heavily posted as NO TRESPASSING, but I feel strongly that Burlington Falls deserves to be kept open to the public for viewing. The falls are stunning and are by far the finest in the area. The town of Burlington owns the land, and the problem is that they don't want people swimming in the brook because it's a public water source. If you decide to break the rules and visit the falls, I demand that you heed the town's wish and NOT swim here. Just make a quick stop to admire and photograph the waterfall from the modest gorge along the deep pool below the falls.
The falls are two-tiered, and both sections are horsetails of almost equal height. The gorge and exposed bedrock are striking, especially when encrusted in a little ice as several of my photographs show. There is a nice gap between the two falls which adds a nice touch.
I wonder if perhaps one day the town will seek an alternative water source? This would allow the falls to once again become one of Connecticut's best swimming holes.
The falls are only about 40 feet from the road. You should be able to hear the brook from the road. Follow the obvious and well-trodden trail. You will see NO TRESPASSING signs here, but it's clear that many people visit the falls regularly. The town's intention is to deter you from swimming here. Just obey that request and I don't think anyone will have a problem with making a quick (non-swimming) visit.
From the junction of CT 4 and CT 179 in Burlington, take CT 4 west for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Covey Rd. Head north on Covey Rd for 0.9 mile and turn right onto Hotchkiss Rd (staying straight thru an intersection after 0.4 mile). Follow Hotchkiss Rd for 0.4 mile and park off of the side of the road where another road comes in on the left. The short trail to the falls is 100 feet back up the road up on the left.
To get to Burlington, take I-84 west from Hartford to exit 39. Follow CT 4 west. Alternatively, you can also reach Burlington by taking CT 4 east from Torrington.
There is another waterfall, commonly referred to as Bunnell's Falls, located about 0.2 mile back up Hotchkiss Rd (in other words, only 0.2 mile from Covey Rd).
There is an established parking area here, which is used to serve the blue- and white-blazed trail heads north off into the woods on the other side of the road. These particular falls are very much obscured by plant growth and trees along the brook, and there is no real safe way to descend down to the brook for a better view. Offering only a limited amount of attractiveness, I'd rate this particular falls a 1.5 out of 5.0 stars, so I defer to you to determine whether it's worth your time to visit or not. To reach these falls, walk towards the brook from the parking area. Take a left and follow a semi-obvious path for about 75 feet. Look down into the woods to see the falls.
UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION
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Burlington Falls, Connecticut
Burlington Falls, Connecticut
0.2 mile upstream of Burlington Falls is Bunnell's Falls
INTERESTED IN VISITING MORE WATERFALLS IN NEW ENGLAND?
TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES
Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
- DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
- CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
- LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
- PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
- BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
- SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
- CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
- PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
- DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
- WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
- HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and online through this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
- DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
- WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
- SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.
Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
- Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
- Waterfalls of Maine = link
- Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
- Waterfalls of Vermont = link
- Best Waterfalls in New England = link
- Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
- Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
- Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
- Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
- Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
- Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
- Waterfall Photography Tips = link
OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS
In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
- Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
- Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
- Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
- Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
WATERFALLS ON FACEBOOK
Join the growing communities of waterfall aficionados on Facebook! You can share your photographs, follow the adventures of other waterfall hunters, and find new places to explore:
- Request to join the "New England Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "New Hampshire Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
- Request to join the "Waterfalls of the United States" community > link
And if you'd like to follow the New England Waterfalls page on Facebook, click here.
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