Hamilton Falls in September 2014
Yoho National Park in British Columbia has a number of impressive waterfalls: Takakkaw Falls and Wapta Falls are two great examples. But there are a number of smaller, though still beautiful waterfalls in the park.
The hike to Hamilton Falls starts at a stunningly beautiful lake, Emerald Lake, which gets its name from the beautiful color of the water. Instead of heading toward the lake, which is still an easy stop, you’ll turn toward the mountains/hills and follow the trail to Hamilton Falls. The hike is rather short, and isn’t very difficult. The amount of water flowing over the falls wasn’t large, but there was something ethereal about the way the water carved a path through the rock. It’s not as impressive as some of the other waterfalls in the park, but I found it to be a worthwhile excursion.
- From Trans-Canadian Highway 1 near Field, there will be a turn onto Emerald Lake Road. If you’re headed west, it would be a right turn.
- Once on Emerald Lake Road, continue to the very end of the road, where you’ll encounter a parking lot and Emerald Lake. You’ll pass by Natural Bridge Falls on the way.
- From the parking lot, head west toward Hamilton Falls.
Accessibility: 7/10 (easy/moderate)
Length of Hike: 0.9 miles round-trip
Where in the World is Hamilton Falls?
I often don’t write about waterfalls until years after I’ve visited them. I try to hit a variety of different geographical regions along the way, but in the process I often forget about some waterfalls, at least certain details. I remember a bit about Pikes Falls, but other aspects are a bit fuzzy.
I visited in July 2015, and stayed near Stratton Mountain. It’s a beautiful area, though a bit quiet during the summer. On the way out, I had a few waterfalls on my list including Pikes Falls and Hamilton Falls. This was my first stop, as it’s not far from Stratton Mountain. The directions that others give are what tend to throw me off, as I approached it from the opposite direction. I remember the road being narrow but quiet, and I don’t remember there being much difficulty finding the parking area for the falls. I don’t recall much of the surroundings, nor the very short hike. (Sometimes short hikes are nice, but they stick in my head less than the tedious hikes!)
The falls are smaller, though there are definitely a number of different views to be had. Since the hike is easy and short, it’s worth your while to stop if you’re in the area. Otherwise, there are other larger falls in the area. Many people seem to enjoy this waterfall for the pool below, perfect for swimming.
- From VT-100 in Jamaica, turn left on Pikes Falls Road.
- Drive for approximately 2.5 miles. You’ll then veer right over a bridge, staying on Pikes Falls Road.
- After another 2.5 miles, you’ll come to the parking area. It would be on the left if heading west. (There is also apparently a white house very close by, though I don’t recall this.)
- Follow the trail to the falls.
Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 20′ (total drop)
Length of Hike: 0.15 miles round-trip
Pikes Falls in July 2015
Where in the World is Pikes Falls?
Hamilton Falls in July 2015
Most of Vermont has rather hilly terrain, and yet there don’t seem to be as many documented/listed waterfalls in southern Vermont as there are in northern and central Vermont. One of the taller waterfalls in southern Vermont is Hamilton Falls. (Two others, Jelly Mill Falls and Pikes Falls, are also easy to visit.)
While it may be a quicker hike from certain parking areas near the falls, the preferred method is starting from Jamaica State Park, and following trails which lead to Hamilton Falls. Please follow posted signs and be extremely careful.
What you’re rewarded with is an approximately 125′ waterfall, though you may not be able to see the top portion very well. I don’t know if this waterfall ever sees a significant amount of water flowing through, the evidence being the very specific way the water has carved through the rock, leaving specific trails for the water to follow. If you like the idea of swimming at the base of a waterfall, this one would be particularly ideal. There were a number of people swimming in the water pool at the base.
- In the Village of Jamaica along VT-100/VT-30, if you’re headed west, turn right onto Depot Street toward Jamaica State Park.
- Park in Jamaica State Park, and then follow the West River Trail (northeast), which follows the West River.
- Follow the West River Trail to the Switch Road Trail, which will lead to the Hamilton Falls Natural Area.
Length of Hike: 3.4 miles round trip
Where in the World is Hamilton Falls?