Modified Access to Hamilton Falls Natural Area

14 May 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 14, 2021

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation

 

Contact:

Tim Morton, Stewardship Forester

Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation | Agency of Natural Resources

802-777-6899, tim.morton@vermont.gov

Modified Access to Hamilton Falls Natural Area

Jamaica, VT - 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.

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The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont's forest resources, the operation and maintenance of the State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors.