CASCADES ON THE POULTNEY RIVER
||1.0 / 5.0 stars (Poor)
(see below for larger image and additional photographs)
||Lower falls drop a total of 4 feet; upper falls drop a total of 3 feet
||Less than 0.1 mile to either the lower or upper falls
||Moderate side of difficult to either the lower or upper falls
||Down 50 feet to lower falls; down 30 feet to upper falls
|WHEN TO VISIT:
||April to November
||Lower falls: Good
Upper falls: Good
||2007: Page 28, G-7 (the falls are not marked on the VT atlas)
2015: Page 62, B-3 (the falls are not marked on the NH/VT atlas)
||Yes (upper falls only; the upper falls are visible from roadside, although there isn't much room alongside the road)
||Yes (although I would say that neither falls are safe for them)
|COST TO VISIT:
||Free (as of 2017)
|LENS TO BRING:
|| Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
||Cascades & Gorges Along The Poultney River
||Lower falls: 43.527333, -73.198167
Upper falls: 43.524000, -73.185833
||Lower falls: 43.527167, -73.197963
Upper falls: 43.523692, -73.185686
||Lower falls: 280° excluding declination (the falls face southwest)
Upper falls: 230° excluding declination (the falls face northwest)
|INCLUDED IN BOOK?:
||No, the falls are not currently included within the guidebook
It was a huge stretch for me to put these tiny cascades on this website. We're talking about cascades that total only about 3 and 4 feet. That's really small, and there are probably 10,000 plus such cascades in New England. Referring to the falls in the lower gorge as rapids is probably more appropriate. The real reason I'm including these falls on this site is simply because they are mentioned in Russell Dunn's Vermont Waterfalls guidebook. That guidebook is an excellent resource, except for one factor: it doesn't often convey well enough just how worthwhile falls are to visit. Personally, I'd rank these falls near the bottom of the barrel. Access also isn't easy, which cements my rating for these falls as being "poor".
When I visited in 2017 during an exceptionally rainy spring, the giant pools that reside below both sets of falls were extremely murky. I've heard reports that swimming can be good in both pools, so perhaps a low-precipitation summer is needed for the pools to transition to a more attractive and inviting state?
Reaching views of the pool, gorge and falls of the lower falls requires scrambling down a steep and angled slope. This really isn't safe for the average person or for children. The risk of a fall here is high and honestly the payoff for this risk is rather low.
You can actually see the upper falls from the state highway, although there isn't much room to stand on the road. The view of the upper cascades is about 150 feet east of the parking pull-off. If you'd like to see the giant pool that is downstream of the falls, follow along a path that travels behind the guardrail for 50 feet from the parking area. Turn and descend moderately down until you've earned good views of the pool.
From the junction of US-7 and US-4 in Rutland, take US-4 west to exit 4. Follow VT 30 south to Poultney. In Poultney, turn left onto VT 140 east. There are two sets of cascades along VT 140 east. Drive 1.9 miles on VT 140 east and park in a small pull-off on the right side of the road between a set of guardrails to visit the first set of falls (the lower falls). The second falls (the upper falls) are found 0.7 mile further east, and are accessible from another pull-off on the right just before a set of guardrails. This parking area for the upper falls is 2.6 miles east of the junction of VT 30 and VT 140.
UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION
If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at email@example.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates
the upper cascades
one of the pools
one of the pools
the upper cascades
one of the pools
the upper cascades, as seen from the road
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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