A short distance northeast of Jamaica State Park is the final mile of Cobb Brook, a water source renowned for one of Vermont’s tallest waterfalls, 125-foot Hamilton Falls. The waters of the brook literally slice their way sideways through deeply cut gorge walls before landing in popular wading pools below the entire formation. At the top of the falls is a deep pool and rock ledges that people often illegally jump off. For your own safety, swimming is prohibited here, and for good reason. A sign at the falls states that ten people have died here. The currents in this pool are deadly and should be avoided.
Hamilton Falls is an amazing place to bring children and have a picnic. There are sunny areas for tanning, but still enough shade along the side to keep cool. You will find that this waterfall is very popular and there will be other people there relaxing as well. Most of these visitors tend to be from out-of-staters, which is rather surprising, because most refreshing waterfalls in Vermont are only locally known.
Nearby Jamaica State Park also offers hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, whitewater kayaking (one weekend in spring and fall, the Ball Mountain Dam releases high levels of water and kayakers and canoeists have made events out of these dates). The area inside Jamaica State Park also has some history of particular interest. In 1748, the last year of King George’s War, the debate over the borders of “New France” and the “British Colonies” was still in full disagreement. On the night of May 31, 1748, two Frenchmen and nine Indians crept up the West River in what is now the town of Londonderry and attacked British Troops, killing five and wounding another. This massacre occurred at Salmon Hole, a popular fishing spot, during that time period on the West River (it is now known more as a popular swimming hole).
Two separate trails lead to observation points at the base and top of the falls. To reach the base of the falls, where the best views are to be had in our opinion, follow Switch Road for 0.1 mile as it gradually walks down through the woods to a sign for the falls. Take a right at the sign and continue climbing down to the base of the falls. A shorter trail, accessed by walking a few feet further down Windham Rd from the parking area, leads left to the top of Hamilton Falls.
You may notice some other visitors using the steep and very rough trail to the right of the falls to travel between the lower and upper viewpoints of the falls. This looked moderately risky and is therefore not recommended.
Directions for this particular waterfall are not posted online. Please see directions in our published guidebook, New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades And Waterfalls, or you can email us and we will happily provide them to you. When requesting directions via email, please remember to specify which particular waterfall(s) you are looking for directions to.
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