Waterfalls in the Litchfield Hills Last Updated: March 2021

What is it about waterfalls? Thunderous and powerful yet calming and serene, not to mention beautiful! No doubt about it, waterfalls are awe-inspiring any time of year (perhaps most magical when silenced mid-plunge during the winter freeze); and you can find them sprinkled throughout the Litchfield Hills. So pack up some picnic gear, a kayak, your hiking boots, and grab some friends, the kids – or just head out on your own – and explore these wonders of nature right here in Connecticut.

Please be sure to check Connecticut DEEP's Twitter channel and website before venturing out for the most up-to-date safety guidelines for outdoor recreation and information about park closures.

 

Previous Next

One of the most powerful waterfalls in the region (dubbed the “Niagara of Connecticut”) Great Falls in Canaan attracted Connecticut’s first settlers, who aptly gave Falls Village its name. In full force from March until June, these are the second highest falls in the state, fed by the speedy Housatonic River which cuts right through town. There is a boat launch just down Water Street that is perfect for canoes, kayaks, rafts, and tubing. The “Housy” is also a fly fisherman’s “dream stream.”

Previous Next

Located in an evergreen-lined gorge, another impressive waterfalls in Canaan is Dean’s Ravine Falls. Although a marvel to witness in any season, it is best enjoyed during the spring snow melt-off or after a heavy rain. From the bottom looking up, water gushes from a gap in the cliff above. This steeply dropping waterfall, easily reached after a 15-minute hike, begins at Reed Brook and rushes towards the Housatonic River, rolling over everything in its path. Its longest drop is almost 50 feet, with many smaller falls along the way.

Previous Next

At least six or seven falls make up Spruce Brook Falls in the Naugatuck State Forest, including a towering 40-foot plunge on a nearby tributary. At the base of the main falls, rushing water drops 15 feet to the rocks below, causing white foam to swirl around like a bubble bath. There are rust-colored pools, cascades above and below, and further downstream a petite waterslide and swirling eddy. Further up the trail lie more falls, tumbling over an egg-shaped boulder in the center of the brook, with a large variety of plant life adding color and texture to the area. Without a doubt, Spruce Brook Falls are some of the most beautiful in Connecticut, carving their way through one of the prettiest ravines in all of New England. (NOTE: portions of the journey are challenging. If you do reach the ledge viewpoint directly in front of the upper falls, look for a geocache container in the gorge walls to your left to register your name and maybe leave a message for future visitors.)

Previous Next

One of Connecticut’s most-visited natural attractions are the towering and majestic Kent Falls, located within Kent Falls State Park. These mesmerizing falls cascade in stages over a quarter-mile stretch. While visiting, stroll through the covered bridge, make the 1/4-mile hike along the stair pathway and feel the mist on your face as water rushes 250 feet down into a reflecting pool that meets the Housatonic River. As you hike the steep but easy trail, stop along the way to enjoy the many scenic views from three observation decks. A designated Trout Park, Kent Falls offers opportunities for fishing as well as hiking and picnicking.

Previous Next

Located within Burr Pond State Park, Burr Falls in Torrington feature a stunning 43-foot cascade, providing a magnificent backdrop for an outing, hike, swim or picnic. These stairway falls are mesmerizing to witness as they gently tumble down each bedrock step. Watching the water slowly drop provides a sense of peace and serenity you can actually feel – truly, some of the best waterfalls in Connecticut. While here, take some time to learn about the history of Gail Borden's Condensed Milk factory that once stood on the property.

Previous Next

Truly a hidden gem, Buttermilk Falls in Plymouth are a lovely extended waterfall located in the Nature Conservancy, with the blue-blazed Mattatuck Trail running alongside. This is a magnificent and picturesque waterfall, with many cascades above and below; but the most impressive view can be enjoyed from the peak, which is found at the top of a 55-foot cascade along the trail that plunges down a steep ledge and into a lush hemlock-encircled glade dotted with wildflowers. Summiting here allows those who make the hike to truly feel the magnitude of this natural wonder. Once you've experienced the thrill of being up top, carefully climb down to take in the falls from below, in the rock-strewn river which pools around visitors’ feet.

Previous Next

Spectacular, thundering Campbell Falls in Norfolk resides within the Campbell Falls State Park Reserve, a wooded wonderland offering hiking trails, a swimming hole and stream fishing. The Whitney River drops nearly 100 feet in a magnificent cascade through the tight, rocky landscape, with the waterflow changing directions twice – first to the left, then to the right – a rugged form not often found in New England. In early spring, its power is quite surprising, considering the gentle terrain of the trail and surrounding forest. Pack a picnic and make a memorable experience last longer– you’ll be glad you came!

Previous Next

The only thing that could make the already quaint town of Washington even more charming would be a waterfall. This adorable hamlet is home to Aspetuck Falls, one of the most delightful in the state. Partly man-made and partly natural, the falls plunge 20 feet through the center of New Preston, winding their way towards the Aspetuck River, pushing through a dramatic, darkened gorge below. Along the river's rocky banks lie stone ruins, making this small village even more irresistible.

Previous Next

Litchfield’s Knife Shop Falls in Humaston Brook State Park are beautiful and fascinating; but how did they get that name? Unofficially, the falls were named after the Northfield Knife Company, which was one of the main businesses in the area from the mid-19th to early-20th century. Now surrounded by the factory’s extraordinary ruins, the falls are comprised of three separate plunges that drop over 35 feet in their entirety. Each one is unique, and the brooks that deliver the water from one fall to the next take dramatic twists and turns. You’ll definitely want to see every section – an easy hike along the trail will only take a few minutes before you reach the falls.

Previous Next

Upon viewing the Southford Falls in Oxford for the first time, you might think they are artificial. But on closer inspection, you realize that the cascades and small plunges below the uppermost falls are completely natural. Despite the presence of a dam on a major part of the falls, Southford Falls as a whole have proven to be a welcome haven for all visitors. Southford Falls State Park itself offers plenty of picnic tables with scenic views, a riverside boardwalk, a covered bridge, a lookout tower and miles of hiking and walking trails, easily accessible from the I-95 corridor.

Previous Next

Nonnewaug Falls in Woodbury are surrounded by rich moss and other vegetation, which lends a bold green color to the hemlock-shrouded ravine. An 18-foot horsetail drop gracefully spills away from the underlying rock face for a final 7-foot plunge, landing in a waist-deep pool. Exploration of the falls is limited to one side of the river, as the other side is private property. Although the falls are quite active year-round, the high waters of early spring showcase them the best. An easy and pleasant walk through woods past open fields leads you to a relaxing escape at the falls.