Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thundering Falls via the AT

July 11, 2011

Isaac, Kathi, Joe at Thundering Falls
I had planned this hike the day before after getting a hold of Kathi and looking at my maps deciding on a local hike that I've never done. Something out of the ordinary. Knowing the temps would be in the mid eighties I thought a waterfall would be nice. I've been meaning to hit up Thundering Falls for quite awhile but I avoided it because it's merely a stroll on a boardwalk and I prefer hiking over walking. Go figure. With that said, this boardwalk is also part of the AT. I thought if we started at Sherburne Pass and hiked east to the falls that it would make a great day hike. That was the plan. I texted Kathi and she thought so too. Then a knock on the door. It was Isaac, a friend of the family's. Of course I asked him if he wanted to go with us....and he did.

We started our day by taking the Sherburne Pass trail from The Inn at Long Trail north to the intersection of the Appalachian trail. I have been on this trail numerous times this year. This is the route to Deer Leap and is highly traveled. Quite tore up and wide. It's not my favorite footpath but it was only a half mile to our junction. We took the AT north as it travels east through a muddy area passing Ben's Balcony and descending towards Kent Pond. This section is fairly steep and we discussed how the trek back in the afternoon would be vigorous to say the least. About half way down we ran into a backpacker who was taking a break. Olde Tyme Ed. What a hoot. He was bound for Canada. We chatted with him for a good 15 minutes. I love trail folk. After we parted ways and descending still we reached Gifford Woods state park within a half hour. We continued on until we crossed route 100 reaching Kent Pond.

The trail then follows the southern shoreline of this popular kayaking pond obviously on level terrain crossing a few streams along the way.

One stream had a neat little water fall that was so refreshingly cool as the mist was carried to our skin riding on a breeze. 

Continuing on easterly, the trail itself was in great condition, descending slightly as it approached a road on top of a ridge. We could hear the thundering of the falls below. We followed the trail down as it steeply descends to the base of the falls and the western end of the boardwalk. 

We stayed at the falls for about a half hour. Isaac and I just hung out and ate granola bars while Kathi explored around. I really enjoy being in the woods and I wish we could have stayed there longer but I needed to stop at my bank before it closed for the day so we had to head back. We knew the trek back was going to be all uphill but before we left we strolled down the boardwalk some.

Kathi walking down the boardwalk

A "Devil's Darning Needle" enjoying the boardwalk.

Canada Lily-lilium canadense
As the clock ticked away I decided to set the pace back. The first half of journey went fast. We hiked 1.9 miles slightly ascending in 40 minutes. Not too bad. This was at the state park. Now the temps for the day were reaching their warmest and we we running out of water. How convenient that we rested a few feet away from a water spigot. After a quick break, a water refill  and a few snacks the tough hill welcomed us. Still setting the pace and with getting to the bank before it closed in my head, we practically ran up this mountain stopping once to chat to a northbound AT thru-hiker by the name of "Talks too much" and that she did. A really nice lady who is a little disappointed because she won't reach Katahdin until 2 weeks after her 61st birthday. Her goal was to complete the trail by 60. Bless her heart. Continuing onward and upward we were at Ben's Balcony a lot sooner than anticipated. A great place to break.

Ramshead at Killington from Ben's Lookout

Kathi enjoying the view
We didn't stay too long here. We were all tired and hot. We continued towards the Inn when we ran into our friend Deb. She was headed to Deer Leap for a quick afternoon hike so we chatted with her for a few before heading back to the parking lot.

This was a great hike. It really made these falls more enjoyable... We managed to hike 7.6 miles gaining 1130 feet of elevation.



  1. Hey Jobiwan, choice day-hike! Was curious, do you have a group of hikers that you regulary meet up with for hikes or do only go out with close friends/family. Was thinking about getting a meet-up group going here in WA and wondered if you had any advice.

    BTW, the falls looked great...was it warm enough to go in for a dip?

  2. Hi Trail Guy, Most of my day hikes are scheduled through a hiking group that I created last August. The link is at the top right. "Day Hiking in Rutland County Vermont" Basically, since it is a Facebook group, anyone can post if they want to go on a hike. Usually someone will respond. To date there is 122 members but some are not local. There are a handful of regular hikers that will attend these scheduled hikes. Personally, I have met a few great folk through this group who are avid hikers. I had thought of opening a Meet Up group but Facebook is free and for the 20% of members that do hike I don't think its really worth paying for...well at least not now. There is also thought of turning this group into a non-profit organization. I will see what the stats are at the end of it's first year and see if it's got enough umph to create it.

    Yes it was warm enough to swim but there really wasn't anyplace to go swimming other than the pond. The river that the falls are on is ice cold.