Monday, August 15, 2022

12 Best Waterfalls in Connecticut – Types to Your Best Options

When thoughts turn to Connecticut, what comes to mind? Perhaps, Yale, ESPN, lighthouses, and fall foliage! Let’s put another CT attraction on your radar – waterfalls – if it wasn’t there already. The Constitution State is blessed with a bevy of spectacular falls that attract a deluge of those seeking refuge in nature for some tranquillity, relaxation, and recreation.

The tallest waterfalls in CT have the power to stimulate your senses like no other. The water cascading down a steep incline and ending up in a plunge pool is a sight to behold. It isn’t just about the water but the fall as well. With no two waterfalls being the same, the mind fails to find patterns. This uniqueness blows your mind and keeps you hooked.

And, the deafening burble of the gushing water over and around the rocks gives you an adrenaline rush before calming you down completely. Think of it as the best thing you can hear other than silence. Even the smell of a waterfall is as invigorating as fresh rainfall.

Guess what? Waterfalls have therapeutic value as well. Science tells us that gushing, clean water exudes negative ions. And, when you get close to it, these ions enter your bloodstream, triggering the release of serotonin. That helps you achieve contentment, happiness, and optimism. So, if you feel good about waterfalls, don’t be surprised.

Waterfalls have been a staple in arts and literature across ages and cultures. Poets and writers have waxed lyrical about them and painters have depicted them in stunning detail on canvas. Even any depiction of a paradise is incomplete without a waterfall.

Location:

Types of waterfalls

Waterfalls come in all shapes and sizes. Geometrically, you can classify them as follows:

1. Punchbowl Waterfalls

Punchbowl WaterfallsThe water falling from over the rocks has to culminate into a catch pool. If the catch pool is wider than usual, you call it a punchbowl waterfall. Being calm and peaceful, they are ideal for a swim. However, it’s wise to consider the surrounding water before taking a plunge. The Punch Bowl Falls in Eagle Creek, Oregon is the prime example of a punchbowl.

2. Plunge Waterfalls

Plunge WaterfallsAt times, the water falling from the cliff stays at a distance from the underlying cliff face. They call them Plunge waterfalls. As the water plunges directly into the catch pool from a certain height, the fall is powerful enough to create alcoves in the underside of the cliff and generate plenty of water spray. The Bridal Veil Falls is a fine example of a plunge waterfall.

3. Horsetail Waterfalls

Horsetail WaterfallsIn these waterfalls, the falling water touches the bedrock behind it before entering the catch pool. Its shape mimics a horsetail, hence the name. The typical shape and velocity of water distinguish it from cascades and fan waterfalls. Also, these waterfalls are relatively younger. Visit the Burlington waterfalls in CT to know how beautiful a horsetail fall can be.

4. Chute Waterfalls

Chute WaterfallsThese are perhaps the most turbulent, frothy, and noisy of them all. Herein, the water passes through a narrow channel, creating immense waterfall pressure. A waterfall may start as a chute waterfall before transforming into a punchbowl. The Punchbowl Falls in Oregon does exactly that. The Barnafoss Falls, Iceland is a typical chute waterfall.

5. Cascade Waterfalls

Cascade WaterfallsIn some instances, the water doesn’t fall directly into the catch pool. Instead, it makes its way down through a series of rocks. The flow is mild and leisurely compared to any other waterfall. Often, the cascade waterfalls are mistaken for tiered ones, thanks to their similar shape. However, the two are different in that the underlying rocks are smaller and more subtle in cascade falls. The Dip Falls in Tasmania exemplify cascade waterfalls.

6. Cataract Waterfalls

Cataract WaterfallsThey are the commonest and most powerful of all, with the water gushing down a towering cliff in staggering volumes. The sound these falls make is deafening, easily heard from a distance. The Victoria Falls on Zambezi River is the most famous cataract waterfall.

7. Ribbon Waterfalls

Ribbon WaterfallsThe name says it all. Its characterized by a lean stream falling from a precipice. The stream covers a fair distance before making the splash. Typically, they are seasonal, springing up in the wet season and drying up in the fall. As such, finding a consistent ribbon waterfall could be challenging, especially in the off-season. The eponymous, Ribbon Falls in the Yosemite National Park, California is a fine example. Others include Manoa Falls and Fairy Falls.

8. Block Waterfalls

Block WaterfallsThey go by an alternative name, rectangular waterfall for a reason. That is the rectangular shape these waterfalls acquire during their descent. Herein, the cliff face is usually vertically upright. The width and tallness are subject to what the stream is falling into. Regardless of this, the waterfall keeps its block appearance intact. Rhine Falls are a prime example.

9. Segmented Waterfalls

Segmented WaterfallsThe water may fail to maintain a single stream before the descent due to an interrupting boulder present in the watercourse. Subject to the water flow, the stream splinters into a couple or more segments, creating a segmented waterfall. Your go-to segmented waterfall options include Dinner Falls, Australia, and Conwy Falls, United Kingdom.

10. Fan Waterfalls

Fan WaterfallsThey resemble a fan in appearance just before making a subtle splash into the catch pool, hence the name. The stream never distances itself from the underlying cliff much like the horsetail falls. The water flow is perhaps the lowest among all types of falls. Where could you find a fan fall? Well, it’s right there in Newington, CT. They call it Mill Pond Falls.

11. Slide Waterfalls

Slide WaterfallsA slide waterfall is exactly what it means – a stream sliding down a slope at a low angle. Usually, the descent speed is low but Slide Falls with a rapid speed isn’t a rarity either. Classifying a Slide Fall is challenging with differences of opinion on the height of the fall.

A Typical Slide Fall includes Waterwheel Falls in Sierra Nevada, California.

Other Approaches

Let’s face it. Classifying the fall geometrically is a subjective approach. Often, waterfalls can simultaneously fall into multiple categories based on appearance. That’s where a way more scientific approach, the Water Volume Classification, steps in. It factors in the volume of the water a stream carries when on the verge of the vertical drop. But it’s easier said than done with many moving parts to it. So, let’s leave the calculation part to the professionals.

Best Waterfalls in Connecticut

Let’s focus on the top 12 waterfalls in CT because knowing your options is vital for better planning and execution. So, without any further ado, let’s begin.

1. Kent Falls

Kent Falls

  • Location: Kent Falls State Park
  • Address: 462 Kent Cornwall Rd, Kent, CT 06757
  • Email: deep.stateparks@ct.gov
  • Coordinates: 41.7763° N, 73.4179° W
  • Contact Number: 860-927-3238
  • Open: 8 am to 8 pm (all days)
  • Water Source: Falls Brook
  • Wildlife: Red-Headed Woodpecker, Blue-Winged Warbler
  • Height: About 250 feet total drop
  • Type: Plunges, Horsetails, Cascades
  • Nearby Falls: Macedonia Gorge Falls – 4.25 miles, Hatch Brook Falls – 4.47 miles
  • Entry/Parking Fee: Zero

Nestled in an eponymous state park, Kent Falls is any waterfall chaser’s delight. The Falls Brook cascades down a total of 250 feet, making it the tallest fall in CT. It is a series of falls that makes its way to the Housatonic River from the small township of Warren. The first fall is a Plunge Fall that cascades down a slope of 70 feet. From that point onwards, the brook splits up into several smaller streams that descend over a 200 feet cliff. The stream flows over limestone bedrock, rendering it some typical shapes, including potholes.

History

Kent Falls had been a favorite camping and fishing ground for the natives. They called it Scatacook. Mills sprang up in the area during the colonial era. By 1919, the land acquisition was initiated while the developmental work was completed in the early 1930s. It was only in the 1970s that the famed hiking trails came up and so did the iconic covered bridge.

When to visit?

While the park is open all year round, summers are the best time to hike to Kent Falls. The brook flow is strongest during the spring but it can surge drastically following rainstorms. Even the fall foliage season is a good time to witness the kaleidoscope of hues.

What to do?

Kent Falls is ideal for a whole family day out, having something for everyone.

  • The verdant and open spaces alongside a tranquil ambience are ideal for picnicking with family and friends. The picnic tables just make it all the more convenient.
  • Feel free to take on a quarter of a mile hike along the falls for a firsthand experience of breathtaking vistas. It’s steep but not that challenging.
  • If you have the patience and skills, fishing trout could be a great idea.
  • For a student of history and art, the reproduction of 19th-century artworks at the Viewpoint Exhibit could be a godsend. The park is one of the host sites.
  • Swimming is something you’ll love to indulge in the extensive plunge pool of Kent Falls. However, it is allowed only in the top and bottom sections.

Facilities:

Kent Falls has all the standard facilities for a convenient and safe experience. Think bathrooms, picnic tables, and pedestal grills. Dogs are allowed if kept on a leash.

Tips:

  • Visit early in the day to avoid unpleasant surprises. Mind you, the entry is closed once the parking spaces are exhausted. The entry reopens only when 10 vehicles vacate the parking lot. So, you might end up waiting for hours for entry.
  • Don’t forget to pose beside the iconic covered bridge for some Insta-worthy photos.
  • Avoid swimming in the wet season when the flow dramatically increases.
  • The area is infested with snakes. Be mindful enough to avoid them.

2. Great Falls, Canaan

Great Falls, Canaan

  • Location: Upper Falls Village Recreation Area
  • Address: 108, CT-63, Falls Village, CT 06031, United States
  • Coordinates: 41.9629° N, 73.3710° W
  • Height: 50 feet (15 meters)
  • Width: 112 feet (34 meter)
  • Type: Block and cascades
  • Water Source: Housatonic River
  • Entry/Parking Fee: Zero
  • Nearby Attractions: Falls Village
  • Wildlife: White Tail Deer, Eastern Gray Squirrel

Litchfield is associated with some stunning waterfalls but none as frequented as the Great Falls. The Housatonic River creates a sight to behold when it cascades down a precipice of 50 feet while assuming a rectangular shape. It is the most voluminous of all waterfalls in CT, which justifies the name, “Great Falls” and the moniker, “Niagra Falls of New England” it has earned. Just stand next to it to experience the intimidating ferocity of falling water.

Great Falls goes by several names, Canaan Falls, Housatonic Falls, and more. Nestled in the Upper Falls Village Recreation Area in Falls Village, the fall is a pale shadow of itself for the most part. That’s due to an uphill dam, which diverts a significant percentage of water for power generation. Your best bet for witnessing the fall in all its splendor is the spring season. The sound of water crashing into the plunge pool can be heard from a distance.

What to do?

Whether you are an adrenaline junkie or a tourist, Great Falls keeps you covered.

  • Just paddle your way into the frothy water and beat the intense current in a kayak, especially in the peak season, March through May.
  • The access trails from the parking lot to the Falls offer an opportunity for an easy hike. The Appalachian Trail is the most frequented of them all.
  • Visiting the dam makes sense if you wish to spend some time by a calm lake.
  • A quarter of a mile-long educational loop trail can be explored for the firsthand experience of the iron industry that flourished in the area in the 19th century.
  • The nearby Falls Village deserves a visit if you are keen to witness the glory of the bygone era, indulge in certain recreational activities, or just satiate your taste buds.

Tips:

  • If kayaking is a priority, visit during mid-March and May when the flow is maximum
  • Swimming is dangerous and hence, prohibited. Avoid it like a plague.
  • Head straight to the Falls Village nearby for some refreshments
  • The hiking trail is short and easy. So, don’t be overprepared.

3. Enders Falls

Enders Falls

  • Location: Granby, Connecticut
  • Address: 117-173 Connecticut 219, Granby, CT 06090, United States
  • Coordinates: 41°57′43″N 72°54′18″W
  • Email: deep.stateparks@ct.gov
  • Contact Number: (860) 424-3200
  • Open/Close: 8 am to Sunset
  • Type: Plunge, Horsetail, Cascade & Slide
  • Height: 30 feet (Highest Drop)
  • Water Source: Enders Brook
  • Nearby Attractions: Enders State Forest
  • Wildlife: Wild Turkey, Tree Swallow
  • Entry/Parking Fee: Zero

Wonder how gorgeous a series of five waterfalls with varying dimensions and dispositions can be? Visit Enders Falls and find it for yourself. Nestled in an eponymous 2000-acre state forest, these falls offer diverse geometric characteristics, from Plunge and Horsetail to Slide and Cascade. No other fall can afford such diversity within a stretch of a quarter of a mile. What better? Many of them rank among the most scenic single-drop waterfalls in CT.

A Cascade with a modest 6 feet drop, the first fall sets you up nicely for the other wonders downstream. A short hike takes you to the second fall, which blends Horsetail and Plunge characteristics to create a magical ambiance. With the 30 feet drop, it’s the tallest among all falls. Again a Horsetail and Plunge blend, the third fall is 18 feet tall and tailor-made for photography, thanks to some stunning vistas accentuated by hemlock trees and moss.

At a stone’s throw is the fourth fall where the stream crashes into the catch pool from a 12 feet height. It’s not that attractive but still deserves a visit. However, the fifth and sixth falls are a treat to the eye. Both reveal Plunge characteristics with an accumulative drop of 15 feet. The rocks outline the catch pool, making it apt for swimming. With all this available within a few hundred meters, Enders Falls is a coveted destination for waterfall chasers.

What to Do?

Enders Falls opens up ample avenues for multiple recreational activities and excursions.

  • Take one among the many trails to get to the waterfalls from the parking lot
  • Feel free to fish in the sizeable catch pool of the second waterfall.
  • Swimming is a popular activity but can be dangerous in certain areas.
  • Let the hunter in you come to the fore in the wilderness of the Enders State Park
  • Picnicking and birding are also a possibility in the verdant state park
  • The park is a part of the Letterboxing initiative, opening up avenues for recreation

Tips:

  • The trails are well-maintained though, they can be slippery during the wet season. Also, the trails might feature ice during winters. So, come prepared accordingly.
  • As a hunter, visit https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Hunting/CT-Hunting-and-Trapping to stay on top of the seasons, dates and regulations regarding hunting and trapping.
  • Bring your pets along but keep them on a leash at all times.
  • Swim carefully to avoid all too common medical emergencies.

4. Wadsworth Big and Little Falls, Middletown

Wadsworth Big and Little Falls, Middletown

  • Park: Wadsworth Falls State Park
  • Address: 721 Wadsworth St., Middletown, CT 06457
  • Hours: Daily, 8 a.m. to Sunset
  • Contact Number: (860) 344-2950, (860) 345-8521
  • Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/wadsworthfalls
  • Water Source: Coginchaug River
  • Best Time to Visit: April & May
  • Engagement time: About 3 – 5 hours
  • Entry/Parking Fee: $15 (weekends); $10 (weekdays)
  • Height: 25 feet
  • Type: Block

Feast your eyes on this natural splendor perched in Middletown, CT’s namesake 285-acre state park. Two magnificent falls – Big Falls and Little Falls – constitute Wadsworth Falls. Both feature a nice rectangular shape but the Big Falls is about twice the size of the Little Falls. The names have been designated accordingly. The Little Falls feature several small plunges in a step-shape, each over 3 feet tall. However, it’s seasonal and depends largely on rain to achieve its full potential. Relatively insignificant though, it’s beautiful.

Likewise, Big Falls takes a giant 25-foot plunge down the cliff in a rectangular shape with the width exceeding the height. When it comes to the flow volume, it’s perhaps the highest among all undammed waterfalls in CT. Given the influx of visitors all year round, privacy is hard to come by at Big Falls. Also, the area is cramped for space and the parking lot gets full pretty quickly. So, if seclusion is a priority, Little Falls makes sense. Both are just half a mile apart, connected by a well-maintained trail. Both falls share the same parking lot.

History:

The state park, Wadsworth Falls State Park, which houses these falls is a vision of Clarence C. Wadsworth, an army veteran, eminent scholar, and linguist. He spent four decades of his life preserving the biodiversity of the area and developing the desired infrastructure. The land housing the forest was donated by Wadsworth to the state in 1942. In the same year, the area was designated as a state park. The area nearby was home to a gun factory, which came up in 1794 and went out of operations roughly a century later in 1892.

What to Do?

  • The state park boasts some of the most stunning hiking and biking trails in CT. If you are hiking or pedaling towards the Littel Falls, opt for the Orange to Blue trails. The Yellow trail, another popular option, offers a vantage point for mesmerizing views of the old pumphouse. Head on the Purple trail to get to the iconic Wadsworth Estate.
  • Swimming and picnicking are allowed but only in the designated areas.
  • Stream fishing is also a popular activity. However, be mindful of the water current.
  • Feel free to take your leashed pets along with you on trails. Ensure keeping them away from the swimming area.

Facilities:

The state park has restrooms and changing rooms for your convenience. A paid parking is also there. The parking fees are subject to the day – $15 on holidays and weekends and $10 on weekdays. Also, if you happen to be in the right area, expect a picnic area with tables.

Tips:

  • The river current can be deceptively rapid. So, enjoy these falls from a safe distance.
  • The management has mandated against alcohol. So, stay away from it.
  • Consider purchasing a pair of water shoes for enhanced comfort and safety.
  • Carry a DSLR and tripod to capture the scenic views
  • Prefer wearing traction during the wet and cold seasons.

5. CHAPMAN FALLS, East Haddam

CHAPMAN FALLS, East Haddam

  • Address: 366 Hopyard Rd, East Haddam, CT 06423
  • County: Middlesex
  • Park: Devil’s Hopyard State Park
  • Coordinates: 41°28′34″N 72°20′28″W
  • Phone: +1 860-424-3200
  • Hours: 8 am to 8 pm
  • Type: Blocks
  • Height: 60-foot total drop
  • Water Source: Eightmile River
  • When To Visit: April to November
  • Engagement Duration: About 3 Hours
  • Parking Fee: Zero

Accentuating the charm of Devil’s Hopyard State Park is Chapman Falls. Just take a short stroll from the parking lot on a well-defined trail to get to the base of the majestic 60 feet fall on the Eightmile River. The fall shifts shape from Block in spring to horsetail in fall and winter. The shape-shifting can be attributed to the seasonal disparity in the volume of water. It increases in spring due to the melting glaciers and decreases thereafter. Irrespective of the shape the fall assumes, it stays picturesque and inviting all year.

If the fall fails to impress you, the impeccable-chiseled circular potholes on the rocks will. A puritan belief links them to infuriated Satan who hopped on the rocks over which the stream plummets and stuck his hooves, leaving them scarred. But geology suggests otherwise. The strong current forced the rocks to rub against each other, leading to scars. Even the etymology is interesting. Some believe that the name stems from a local hop farmer while some attribute it to Satan’s hopping act. No wonder, they also call it the Devil’s Hopyard.

When to visit?

As one of the coveted waterfalls in CT, Chapman Falls receives hordes of visitors all year round but spring is hands down the best time to visit. The weather is just fine and the fall achieves its full potential. Plus, spring is the best bet for hiking, swimming, picnicking and camping.

What to do?

  • Set up a hammock for some me-time.
  • Picnicking with friends and family in the open spaces is a good idea
  • Want to cool off your heels? Well, swimming in the rushing water is a possibility.
  • Trout fishing just beneath the falls is also a popular activity here.
  • A wonderful overnight camping experience is on the cards with 21 spacious wooded sites up for grabs. Mind you, camping is usually available from April to October.
  • Typical of state parks in CT, the Devil’s Hopyard State Park also affords opportunities for hiking and walks. The 600-meter loop close to East Haddom is the most popular.

Tips:

  • Don’t take pets along for camping. They aren’t allowed.
  • Bring along plenty of water even if you plan a short stay
  • Don’t try your luck against a strong tide, especially in the spring

Camping Fees:

  • USD 14 per night per campsite for CT residents
  • USD 24 per night per campsite for outsiders

Note that, a processing fee is additional.

Campsite Reservations: (860) 526-2336

6. Burr Falls

Burr Falls

  • County: Litchfield
  • Town: Torrington
  • Park: Burr Pond State Park
  • Address: 385 Burr Mountain Rd. Torrington, CT 06790
  • Contact Number: (860) 482-1817
  • Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/burrpond
  • Email: deep.stateparks@ct.gov
  • Type: Cascades
  • Height: 45-foot total drop
  • Water Source: Burr Pond Brook
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to sunset
  • When to Visit: April to November
  • Nearby Attractions: Burr Pond State Park
  • Wildlife: Trout, Bass

It’s hard to resist the charm of Burr Falls, a series of Cascades on the Burr Pond Brook. The stream descends leisurely on a 45 feet incline creating a picturesque setting to soothe your senses. Despite being one of the best waterfalls in CT, it fails to attract substantial footfall. That’s due to the lack of any designated parking lot. You might struggle to find a safe space for your vehicle. Plus, the slippery moss-ridden rocks and dense cluster of thorn bushes make exploring the area an ordeal. The required infrastructure is also lacking.

However, the sheer visual appeal of the waterfall makes up for all the deficiencies. Feel free to explore the base of the waterfall by hiking over the brook via a dam just a stone’s throw downstream. Multiple other falls dot the Burr Pond State Park upstream and downstream of the Burr Falls. They are worth a visit if you can navigate the tough terrain. Add another dimension to your mini-adventure with a visit to an obsolete, fire-ravaged condensed milk factory nearby. Guess what? It was the first-of-its-kind factory in the world.

Facilities:

While the Burr Falls area is underdeveloped, Burr Pond State Park boasts plenty of facilities. These include restrooms, food concessions, picnic shelters, and picnic tables.

What to do?

While the Burr Falls area is underdeveloped, the Burr Pond State Park offers avenues for outdoor recreation. With spacious and flat areas featuring shelter and tables, picnicking is a big draw in the state park. Fishing, swimming, and kayaking are other popular excursions available for adrenaline junkies. Some good hiking trails are also waiting to be explored.

Tips:

  • Mind your step, as the moss-ridden rocks are slippery. Better still, wear shoes with traction.
  • There’s no designated parking area in the state park. You are better off occupying the unofficial parking lot just a few hundred meters above the waterfall.
  • If navigating the terrain is too hard for you, enjoy the waterfall from Burr Mountain Road. That’s an excellent vantage point for some breathtaking views.
  • No need to carry your canoes and kayaks. You can rent them locally.

7. Dean’s Ravine Falls, Canaan

Dean’s Ravine Falls, Canaan

  • County: Litchfield
  • Town: Canaan
  • Park: Connecticut Forest & Park Association-managed land
  • Address: Music Mountain No 2 Rd, Canaan, CT 06031
  • Coordinates: 41°55′10″N 73°20′39″W
  • Type: Horsetails, cascades, and slides
  • Height: 50 feet
  • Water Source: Reed Brook
  • When to Visit: April to November

This 50-foot marvel on the Reed Brook is another soothing presence in Canaan. The brook taking a steep plunge down the ravine and merging into the Housatonic River is a sight to behold. Several smaller falls complement the major 50 feet tall waterfall, creating a series of enchanting falls that deserves to be explored. From Horsetail to Cascades and Slides, they come in all shapes and sizes. Perched amidst verdant evergreen grooves, these waterfalls in CT are easily accessible upon a short hike from the parking lot.

Dean’s Ravine Falls has some uncanny resemblance with the famed Ripley Falls in New Hampshire. The similarities go beyond the shape, width and accessibility. Even the vertical angle (65 degrees), partial sun exposure and trail features are almost identical. The only profound difference is the dropping height. In the case of Ripley Falls, it’s twice that of its Cannan counterpart. Regardless of that, both are iconic and awe-inspiring enough to be on the bucket list of every passionate waterfall chaser. As a side note, Dean’s Falls was an integral part of the 2,180-mile-long Appalachian Trail until as late as the 1980s.

When to visit?

The waterfall stays inviting all year round, regardless of the season. However, it comes into its elements in spring, transforming from a modest fall into a thundering cascade. Even winter could be considered when the entire area is draped in a pristine white sheet.

What to do?

Upon leaving the parking lot, head east of the stream on the Mohawk Trail. It’s a gorgeous half-mile moderately challenging trail featuring blue-blazed trees. While other hiking loops are available, the falls don’t support swimming due to the threatening current.

Tips:

  • Wear layers of clothing and spiked shoes when venturing in winter.
  • If you cannot visit in spring, prefer to go a day or two after a rain storm.
  • Avoid scrambling up the falls for safety reasons.

8. Buttermilk Falls, Plymouth

Buttermilk Falls, Plymouth

  • County: Litchfield
  • Town: Plymouth
  • Address: Lane Hill Road, Plymouth, CT, 06786
  • Coordinates: N41.644773, W073.007365
  • Park: Buttermilk Falls Nature Preserve
  • Type: Horsetails, cascades, and slides
  • Height: 55-foot total drop
  • Water Source: Hancock Brook
  • When to Visit: April to November
  • Engagement Duration: About 3 hours
  • Nearby Attractions: Lock Museum of America
  • Wildlife: Chipmunk, Fox

New England is home to over six “Buttermilk Falls” but none as scenic and frequented as the one in Plymouth. And, the one in Norfolk is a close second. Buttermilk Falls of Plymouth stands out for a majestic, multi-shaped 55-foot drop amidst verdant settings. The Hancock brook assumes a Horsetail shape here, fanning out just before hitting the catch pool below. The surrounding hemlock trees, wildflowers, and moss-covered rocks further the appeal.

The full glory of the 55-foot, voluminous fall can’t be viewed from the top. Instead, scramble down the ravine close to the plunge pool for a full view of its majestic personality. However, mind your step as the hike down the ravine is slippery, especially in the wet season. The vast expanses of leveled land surrounding the falls are perfect for basking around and other activities. After all, it’s not for nothing we rank it among the best waterfalls in CT.

When to visit?

Plan your visit anytime between April to November. However, you are better off visiting soon after a rainstorm. With the volume at its peak, the waterfall is gorgeous to look at. However, the footfall is high during this time of the year. So, you’ll be dealing with crowds.

What to do?

A significant percentage of visitors flock the Buttermilk Falls for relaxation. Bring along your hammock or picnic mats to sit and admire the stunning views of the falls. Make no mistake, it’s a revitalizing experience. The flat lots of land also afford avenues for family and group picnics. What more? The place flaunts some of the sought-after swimming holes in CT. Also, consider visiting the nearby Lock Museum of America to get a first-hand account of the locking and unlocking systems used across ages, from antiquity to the British era.

Tips:

  • Carry food and snacks if you wish to spend more than a couple of hours exploring the falls. A bug spray should be considered as well, especially during the wet season.
  • Avoid jumping into unchartered water even if someone is already in it. It’s better to scout the swimming hole before jumping in. Don’t forget to factor in the current.

9. Roaring Brook Falls, Cheshire

Roaring Brook Falls, Cheshire

  • County: New Haven
  • Town: Cheshire
  • Park: Roaring Brook Falls Park
  • Address: 827 Roaring Brook Rd, Cheshire, CT 06410, USA
  • Coordinates: 41.483200°N, 72.942929°W
  • Type: Horsetail and cascades
  • Height: 80-foot total drop
  • Water Source: Roaring Brook
  • Handicap Access: No
  • Dogs Allowed: Yes
  • When to Visit: April to June

Tucked within the southwestern hills of Cheshire, Roaring Brook Falls is an obscured gem. Reaching it is an ordeal but totally worth it. Once here, expect to be dazzled by a vibrant fall on the namesake river flowing through a namesake park. The stream cascades down the cliff while assuming the Horsetail shape before culminating in the catch pool. At 80 feet, it is among the tallest waterfalls in CT. When in full swing, the fall is at its photogenic best.

History:

The archaeological digs unraveled arrowheads, evidencing that the Algonquian Native Americans once inhabited the area surrounding Roaring Brook Falls. Later, settlers from the Connecticut Colony occupied the area and by the 17th century, cleared it for cultivation. Powered by the falls, a couple of steam-powered mills also came up. Come 1800, the area emerged as a tourist hub keeping a steady stream of visitors from all over New England.

The property housing the waterfall was under private ownership until 1974. The risk of it being disposed of for development ran high, forcing locals to launch a campaign to save it. Eventually, the Cheshire Land Trust (CLT) took the onus of managing it in 1978. Garnering local and state support, CLT helped preserve and promote the area. The Town of Cheshire has ownership rights over Roaring Brooks. Hence, the town rules for use are applicable.

What to do?

With some of the best trails in Cheshire, Roaring Brook Falls is a godsend for hikers of all experience levels. Your best bet has to be the Red-blaze trail, starting from the parking lot and leading up to the Quinnipiac Blue Trail. On the way up Prospect Ridge, you’ll feast your eyes on some stunning views of the Roaring Brook Falls. The hike is steep, not well marked at places, and overgrown in parts. If you are looking for something easier, go for the Orange trail, a short “lollipop loop”, which merges with the Blue blazed Quinnipiac Trail. Besides, Roaring Brook Falls supports family & group picnicking, birding, and other endeavors.

Tips:

  • Since the trail is not marked at places, the risk of running adrift runs high. So, use GPS to navigate your way through the main Red-blazed hiking trail.
  • Don’t forget to take a camera along as the falls tend to photograph well. Telephoto lenses (105-200mm) are ideal but any standard ones (35-70mm) will do.

10. Campbell Falls, Norfolk

Campbell Falls, Norfolk

  • Location: Norfolk
  • Park: Campbell Falls State Park Reserve
  • Address: (off Rte. 272), Norfolk, CT 06058
  • Coordinates: 42°02′33″N 73°13′28″W
  • Contact Number: (860) 482-1817
  • Website: http://www.ct.gov/deep/campbellfalls
  • Email: deep.stateparks@ct.gov
  • Elevation: 1,145 feet (349 m)
  • Type: Blocks, Cascade
  • Height: 50 feet total drop
  • Water Source: Whiting River
  • Wildlife: Cottontail Rabbits, Red Foxes
  • Hours: 8 am to Sunset
  • Dogs: Allowed but on a leash

Like all good things, Campbell Falls doesn’t come that easily. Be prepared to venture deep into the heart of an underdeveloped namesake state park in Norfolk on the Connecticut & Massachusetts state line. Upon beating the odds, you get up close and personal with a 50 feet natural splendor on the Whiting River. The scenery and tranquility encompassing the falls is soul-satisfying, adding to the appeal of an already magnificent sight. The lush green trees and shrub overgrowth lends it a woodsy environment, perfect for relaxation.

The Whiting River makes its way into CT and stumbles upon a 100 feet cliff when passing through the state park. Even though the main fall is just 50 feet tall, it is robust, loud and generates a lot of mist and water spray even during the dry season. Typical of all falls, the best flow is in spring and wet season. However, it is worth visiting all year round. The sight of the stream plunging through a narrow cliff and then cascading into a catch pool is just magical.

History:

For Campbell Falls State Park, it all began in 1923 with the White Memorial Foundation of Litchfield passing on the ownership to the State of Connecticut and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Soon after, it received the ‘Reserve’ status with special laws applicable for preservation and maintenance. However, the 102-acre reserve is yet to develop into a tourist-friendly destination with standard amenities/facilities missing outright.

What to do?

Despite the lack of facilities, Campbell Falls comes across as one of the top waterfalls in CT. The prime reason is the abundant relaxation and recreational opportunities available.

  • Jump into the refreshing plunge pool to beat the heat and fatigue. It’s one of the most coveted swimming holes in Connecticut.
  • A picnic in the extensive, flat areas of the Campbell Falls State Park could be on the cards. The tidy and private setting is just a bonus.
  • An array of hiking/walking trails are waiting to be explored. The Haystack Mountain trail is perhaps the best bet provided you are an experienced hiker.
  • Bring your fishing gear and bait to indulge in stream fishing.

Tips:

  • The waterfall trailhead might not be lengthy but too steep and slippery at the top. So, be equipped with proper hiking gear, including spiked shoes.
  • Pack lunch and water if you plan to stay for a while.

11. Yantic Falls, Norwich

  • County: New London
  • Town: Norwich
  • Park: Yantic Falls Park
  • Address: 196-200 Yantic Stree, Norwich, CT 06360
  • Contact Number: (860) 823-3700
  • Website: http://www.walknorwich.org/uncas-leap-trail/
  • Coordinates: 41.5337° N, 72.0901° W
  • Type: Plunge and cascades below a dam
  • Height: 40-foot total drop
  • Water Source: Yantic River
  • Watershed Size: Large
  • Nearby Attractions: Slater Memorial Museum
  • Wildlife: Cardinal, Finches

With a large watershed size and a majestic 40-foot drop, Yantic Falls makes it to our list of the worth-visiting waterfalls in CT. The turbulent Yantic River plunges down a steep gorge to create a spell-binding view that etches into the memory forever. The part-dam and part natural disposition not only sets it apart but also renders it two distinct geometric shapes – a Plunge to start with and a Cascade just below the dam. Though subject to the season, the volume is immense for the most part. Add to it the 40-foot height, the waterfall generates a deafening sound and clouds of mist as the water crashes into the vast plunge pool below.

Uncas Leap Falls, Norwich Falls, Indian Leap Falls, Upper Falls, and Yantic Falls all mean the same. As a side note, the “Leap” in the name is linked to a local legend involving two Indian tribes and a bloody battle. Another redeeming feature of the fall is its easy accessibility. The trail leading to the fall from the parking is short and easy. Plus, the overhanging pedestrian bridge and a railroad bridge make for excellent vantage points for some breathtaking views of the fall. The now-obsolete railroad and ruins of a 19th-century mill lend it historic vibes. Also, the area is being developed to showcase the heritage of the Mohegan Indian tribe.

The Legend:

If legend is to be believed, the Yantic Falls is a silent witness to many bloody battles. The most famous one unfolded in the 1640s with archrivals Mohegan and Narragansetts facing each other. The Mohegans dominated the battle, forcing some of the Narragansetts to leap into the Yanti canyon than surrender. Though the Yantic Falls was once a watery grave, it isn’t scary. Rather, it is the best place to find yourself while listening to its music.

What to do?

While the waterfall is the prime attraction, the Yantic Falls can be a hiking staple. Explore the two-and-a-half-mile Heritage Trail running parallel to the Yantic River. Merging into the Uncas Leap Trail, the trail is moderately challenging with some steep climbs and wheelchair inaccessible. As the name suggests, the trail offers you a sneak peek into the life and times of the Mohegan tribe, along with some holy sites. Picnicking is also a big draw here.

Tips:

  • Refrain from getting too close to the waterfall. The immense volume and steady current can be life-threatening. Enjoy it from a safe distance, preferably from the overhead bridge over the falls.
  • Yantic Falls is an all-year attraction but comes into its elements during spring.
  • Take the Heritage trail only if you can endure steep inclines. With no wheelchair access available, it’s not ADA-friendly. Avoid it if you have disability issues.

12. Aspetuck Falls

Aspetuck Falls

  • County: Litchfield
  • Town: Washington
  • Park: None
  • Type: Plunge
  • Height: 20 feet
  • Water Source: Aspetuck River
  • Watershed Size: Medium
  • Alternate Name: New Preston Falls
  • Coordinates: 41°40′58″N 73°21′13″W
  • Elevation: 692 feet (211 m)

Nothing accentuates the appeal of a sleepy town more than a waterfall. That’s exactly what Aspetuck Falls does to New Preston, a quaint, little hamlet in the heart of Washington. The stream plunges from a 20 feet ravine into the Aspetuck River flowing below, sending out bursts of water spray and mist. The river is dammed here but the natural element stays intact for the most part, making it a part man-made and part natural waterfall. Following the drop, the river navigates a congested canyon lined with some historical stone ruins.

History:

The history of the place prior to the 18th century is largely undocumented. However, in the 18th and 19 centuries, the area buzzed with over 20 mills that produced agricultural tools. The buildings of that era are well preserved, oozing the vibes of the era gone by. Presently, the Washington Conservation Commission is at the helm of the affairs of Aspetuck Falls.

What to Do?

  • Hike your way through the Aspetuck Valley Trail to experience some stellar scenic views, several bird species, and diverse flora. This point-to-point trail is about 10 kilometers, accomplishable in just over two hours. It’s accessible all year round.
  • Once done exploring the waterfall, head straight to the gorgeous New Preston for some boutique stores, antique stores, and eateries.
  • For some history vibes, stroll parallel to the river downstream.

Tips:

  • Avoid building rock cairns at the waterfalls. You might end up harming the historicity of the place.
  • Be well-equipped when hiking. Carry plenty of water, food, snacks, and hiking shoes.

Conclusion

Nothing can rival the appeal of a waterfall. There’s already something special about gushing water. Add a fall to it, the charm escalates exponentially. Think of it as the pirouettes of the river’s dance that enchants and relaxes. Connecticut is blessed with some terrific falls that deserve your visit. These waterfalls in CT are calling. And, you must go whether solo or with family or friends. A great outing is guaranteed, take our word for it.

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