The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

 

The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

Photo of Moss Glen, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsIt’s no secret that Vermont boasts a gorgeous, biodiverse landscape. Thus, throughout summer and autumn, hundreds of thousands of nature enthusiasts flock into the Upper Valley to explore the region’s dense forestry in search of heart-stopping mountain overlooks, rolling countrysides, hidden covered bridges, and, of course, quintessential Vermont waterfalls. While it won’t be easy to pry yourself from Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse, Dartmouth College’s breathtaking campus, and nearby King Arthur Flour, we highly recommend embarking on a short journey to a couple of often overlooked Vermont waterfalls.

5 Vermont Waterfalls: A Self-Guided Journey to Serenity

Many of these picturesque, freefalling creeks, brooks, and rivers lie in Windsor County, as well as neighboring Orange and Rutland. In fact, the five prettiest Vermont waterfalls, according to our team of self-proclaimed experts, are within an hour of The Norwich Inn—established in 1797. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, bring a waterproof camera, and jot down detailed directions to each site.

Old City Falls, Strafford

The 16-mile drive through the heart of Vermont en route to Strafford’s Old City Falls is as peaceful and scenic as it gets. After enjoying a light picnic in the spacious pavilion area, hike down the short, steep path to the creek’s edge. While it’s not well marked, the creekside trail does lead to this dual waterfall. The top fall disappears behind a stack of rocks and eventually spills back into the creek.

Moss Glen Falls, Granville

The state boasts not one but two “Moss Glen Falls.” Today, we’ll only touch on the Granville fall, which, incidentally, remains one of the most oft-photographed natural sites in the state. Moss Glen is approximately an hour’s drive from The Norwich Inn, but this 35-foot marvel is well worth the trip. Adventurous types can get close enough to touch the rushing water as it spills below.

Photo of Thundering Brook, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsThundering Brook Falls, Killington

Thundering Brook Falls rests along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile network that spans from Maine down to North Georgia. Pictures don’t do Thundering Brook justice, as it’s hard to decipher the sheer magnitude of this slippery, 125-foot-tall waterfall via photograph. The easy, wheelchair-friendly boardwalk to the main plunge is a nice perk that you won’t find at many neighboring Vermont waterfalls.

Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow

During the summer months, thrillseekers flock to Buttermilk Falls to bathe in the shallow pools near the upper and middle falls. These classic swimming holes are what summertime dreams are made of, especially for those with a penchant for adventure. While the three midsized falls aren’t jaw-droppingly beautiful, the playful ambiance is unbeatable. 

Glen Falls, Fairlee

Fairlee’s Glen Falls is a short, 20-minute drive from the heart of Norwich. This 25-foot plunge remains an Upper Valley hidden gem. Even many locals don’t know if its existence. The short journey to the main plunge is only about half a mile upstream from the trailhead, and it features several picturesque cascades along the way.

Historic Hotels in Norwich, VT

After a full day of hiking near the very best waterfalls in Vermont, return to The Norwich Inn for a balanced, refreshing pint of Whistling Pig Red Ale and pan-seared Faroe Island salmon. As one of the oldest boutique hotels in Vermont, we offer an elegant, historic, and undeniably romantic alternative to a classic lodging experience. Our on-site brewery pairs perfectly with our sumptuous dining experience. And each of our guest rooms is a visual delight, especially for those with a special place in their heart for 19th-century decor. Please give us a call today at 802-649-1143 to book a long-overdue escape into the breathtaking Upper Valley, New England’s last remaining hidden gem.

The Upper Valley’s Prettiest Scenic Overlooks

 

The Upper Valley’s Prettiest Scenic Overlooks

Photo of a Scenic Overlook at SunsetA common mid-day activity for visiting nature enthusiasts here in the Upper Valley is the unending search for the prettiest scenic overlook. Depending on where you live, you might call it a “vista point,” “scenic lookout,” or “scenic point.” Regardless, the Upper Valley is home to dozens of majestic mountaintop overlooks, most of which require a mile or two of hiking (or snowshoeing in the wintertime). The majority of folks who plan a stay at historic Norwich Inn explore the region’s craft beer trail with stops at several picturesque covered bridges and spectacular Artisans Park. But the adventurer inside us all calls us into the wild where curious animals roam through dense forestry and alongside rushing rivers.

The Top 5 Scenic Overlooks Near Norwich, VT

Locating a hiking trail in this peaceful land is as easy as throwing a dart a map while blindfolded. However, only five such trails feature a genuinely jaw-dropping scenic overlook. Even in today’s modern world, one cannot simply search for a “scenic lookout near me” and find an overabundance of useful results. Therefore, we’ve pieced together this handy list of scenic overlooks that are within 45 minutes of Dartmouth College.

Photo of a Scenic Overlook in AutumnGile Mountain

Gile Mountain, like all five of these scenic overlooks, is particularly stunning during autumn’s peak as the forestry transforms from dark green to vibrant hues of marigold, kelly green, crimson, and amber. This 1.4-mile, out-and-back trail is perfect for all ages as there’s less than 400 feet of elevation gain. Climb the fire tower at the summit to obtain a bird’s-eye view of the sprawling Upper Valley.

Holt’s Ledge

We have mixed feelings about divulging insider information about Holt’s Ledge, one of the Upper Valley’s last-remaining hidden gems. The trail features dramatic cliffs, long-forgotten log shelters, and occasionally curious woodland critters to go along with a heart-stopping overlook of the dense mountain range.

Photo of a Scenic Overlook at Sunset in AutumnQuechee Gorge

It’s unlikely that Quechee Gorge would show up in a search for a “scenic lookout near me” as it’s more of a roadside attraction than a dramatic overlook. That being said, the gorge itself is known as “Vermont’s Grand Canyon” because of the 165-foot drop from the Quechee George Bridge down to the rushing Ottauquechee River.

Wright’s Mountain

It’s not often that you discover a scenic overlook that features a covered barn-like structure at the peak. The faraway mountains at this sequestered yet incredibly gorgeous destination aren’t as jagged as other nearby lookouts. In fact, the mountains resemble the rolling hills that you might find in New York or Pennsylvania.

Mount Cardigan

Cardigan Mountain State Park remains one of the best adult playgrounds in New Hampshire, thanks to 5,655 acres of preserved glory. The Mount Cardigan loop, in particular, is our favorite place (in the Upper Valley) to unplug and reflect. Pack a picnic for this journey as the peak features ample rock space to lay down a blanket.

Historic Boutique Hotels in Vermont

Instead of searching aimlessly for a “scenic lookout near me” this spring, simply favorite this article for further usage. You can also ask a member of our team, upon arrival, about our personal favorites. The Norwich Inn itself, which was established in 1797, is equal parts boutique hotel, craft brewery, fine restaurant, and historical landmark. We’re a short drive or bicycle ride from King Arthur Flour, Dartmouth College, and the beautiful Connecticut River. To learn more about our particularly elegant slice of the Upper Valley, please give us a call today at 802-649-1143 (or check availability online).