Jamaica & Londonderry; Windham County
For more information about this unit please visit the web page:
The lands associated with Jamaica State Park are heavily forested, steep and rocky. They are typical of the West River Valley with white pine, red oak, and hemlock being the common tree species. Hiking trails are numerous as are peaceful spots to explore along the West River and Cobb Brook. It is one of the region’s most popular parks due to the excellent river access, the scenic trails and vistas, and the rail trail suitable for family biking and walking.
Two miles of the West River Trail begins at the state park campground and provides for easy walking and biking. This rail trail provides access to the West River, and views of popular spring and fall white water paddling events. A loop hiking trail provides views from a vista looking south. A popular 6-mile round trip hike to Hamilton Falls Natural Area starts and ends at the state park’s day use area.
Camping, hiking, biking, swimming, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and fishing are common and popular activities here.
- Jamaica State Park Recreational Trails Guide
- West River Trail (Trail Finder)
- Information on hunting, fishing and trapping in Vermont
- Using State Lands for Recreation
- FPR Recreation Activities
Hamilton Falls Natural Area Modified Access (from 5/14/2021 press release):
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) has announced modified access to Hamilton Falls Natural Area. Hamilton Falls, a scenic waterfall owned and managed by FPR and located in Jamaica, Windham County, should be accessed via Jamaica State Park. This change is intended to help address parking challenges, manage crowds, and mitigate impacts to the natural area in response to increased visitation to Hamilton Falls.
Visitors to Hamilton Falls should park at Jamaica State Park and hike to the falls via the West River Trail and Switch Road Trails, a 3-mile one-way hike (please visit https://www.trailfinder.info/trails/trail/jamaica-state-park for route description). For visitors who are unable to make the hike from Jamaica State Park, FPR will maintain very limited parking immediately adjacent to the falls on West Windham Road. The access to the falls from both Jamaica State Park and West Windham Road includes steep, rocky sections of trail.
Jamaica State Park, which is now open for the 2021 season, offers camping, swimming and picnicking as well as hiking. The hike to the falls along the West River Trail offers scenic views of the river at a mild grade; the last section of the hike to the falls along the Switch Road Trail is steeper but offers a lovely view as a reward. There is a day use fee to access Jamaica State Park (see vtstateparks.com/fees).
An FPR Recreation Ranger will be at Hamilton Falls during peak visitation in summer 2021 to encourage visitors to practice Leave No Trace principles, reinforce parking restrictions, and educate visitors about the unique features of this State Natural Area as well as the dangers that Hamilton Falls poses.
Swimming at Hamilton Falls is very dangerous and not recommended. There are strong currents and slippery rocks. More than twelve people have died at this site as a result of injury from attempting access or exiting the upper and middle pools.
Hamilton Falls is a spectacular destination for a mid-summer hike. With appropriate caution around the falls, cooperation with parking changes, and a visitor commitment to help keep the site clean, Hamilton Falls will remain a place we can all continue to enjoy for its dramatic natural beauty.
For more information about Jamaica State Park and the Hamilton Falls Natural Area, please visit https://vtstateparks.com/jamaica.html or call 802-874-4600.
Forest Inventory and ecological analysis are taking place in 2014 to begin the process of formulating a new Long Range Management Plan (LRMP) for this property.