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Reading, Vermont

RATING: 2.0 / 5.0 stars (Good) Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Vermont
COUNTY: Windsor
TOWN: Reading
PARK: None
PRIVATE PROPERTY: No (this is a Vermont River Conservancy property)
TYPE: Small plunges, cascades, and pools
HEIGHT: Tallest drop is 5 feet
WATER SOURCE: North Branch of the Black River
TRAIL LENGTH: Less than 0.1 mile one-way to upper falls; 0.2 mile one-way to lowermost falls
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Easy to initial viewpoints; easy side of moderate to base of upper falls; moderate side of difficult to base of middle and lower falls
HIKING TIME: 5 minutes one-way to upper falls; 10 minutes one-way to lowermost falls
ALTITUDE GAIN: Down 30 feet to upper falls; down 60 feet to lowermost falls
WHEN TO VISIT: May to October
SWIMMING: Outstanding
DELORME ATLAS: 2007: Page 31, I-8 (the falls are not marked on the VT atlas)
2015: Page 64, B-2 (the falls are not marked on the NH/VT atlas)
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2016)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm) and/or standard (35-70mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: Twenty Foot Hole Cascades
GPS-TRAILHEAD: 43.463333, -72.554667
GPS-WATERFALL: Upper falls: 43.462500, -72.554667
Middle falls: 43.462167, -72.554000
Lower falls: 43.462000, -72.552500
COMPASS: Upper falls: 30° excluding declination (the falls face southeast)
Middle falls: 60° excluding declination (the falls face east)
Lower falls: 70° excluding declination (the falls face east)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included within the appendix of the guidebook
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Twenty Foot Hole offers some of the finest waterfall swimming holes in all of Vermont. Over a stretch of 0.2 mile of river, you'll find three swimming holes and many small cascades. The first swimming hole-the one furthest upstream-is where you will find the most substantial waterfall. The river dumps over the 4-foot falls into a cool and curvy gorge. Although the channel that passes through the gorge was reportedly once 20 feet deep, it is now far more shallow these days. Cliff jumping at these pools is now considered dangerous as major storms have dumped lots of sediment into the river.

The lowest pool only has a 1-foot cascade but the pool below it is simply gorgeous.


There are three pools here, each featuring a small set of cascades or waterfall. From the upper parking area (on the right side of the road 1.1 miles up Tyson Rd), cross the road and head south into the woods on an obvious trail. After about 200 feet, you should reach a billboard with some information and precautions about the swimming holes. The upper pool and falls are just ahead, identified by a long narrow channel of water below a 4-foot cascade.

The middle and lower pools and falls are 0.1 and 0.2 mile downstream, respectively. The lowest falls has the finest pool of them all, and is often less crowded than those found upstream.


From I-91 in Weathersfield, take exit 8. Take VT 131 west to VT 106 north. Follow VT 106 north for 4.1 miles and take a left onto Tyson Rd when you reach the section of Reading known as Felchville. Follow Tyson Rd. for 1.0 mile and you will begin to find various places to park on both sides of the road. These parking opportunities continue over the next 0.1 mile. The first parking pull-off on the left you come to is closest to the middle falls. The first parking pull-off on the right has room for 12-15 vehicles and is very close to the upper falls. I suggest parking here, as the easiest route down to the brook is via the upper falls.

To get to Weathersfield, take I-91 north from Brattleboro or I-91 south from White River Junction.


A reader emailed me in February 2016 to inform us that while still swimmable, Twenty Foot Hole was compromised by Hurricane Irene. Sediment and stone from above was washed into the basin reducing water depth from about 10 or 12 feet deep' to about 5 or 6 feet deep. In other words, be extremely cautious before cliff-jumping here.

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 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


None noted.

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Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
the upper pool and falls of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
the upper pool and falls of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
the upper pool and falls of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
the upper pool and falls of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
the upper pool and falls of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
one of the lower pools of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont
one of the lower pools of Twenty Foot Hole, Vermont

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The 3rd edition of the New England Waterfalls guidebook contains 552-pages of detailed information on hundreds of waterfalls throughout all corners of New England. This 3rd edition has been completely updated and it is the first to be printed in FULL COLOR! Click on the image below to explore some sample pages of the guidebook on

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New England Waterfalls guidebook

Over 30,000 copies sold!

also available on...

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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


In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes in this region:
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (2nd Edition: 2022) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls Maine: A Guide to the State's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2020) = link
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (3rd Edition: 2019) = link


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
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And if you'd like to follow the New England Waterfalls page on Facebook, click here.


Feel free to ask a question, leave a comment, and/or provide an update relevant to this waterfall below.
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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be wary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!

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