The amount of things to do in Green Mountain National Forest is incredible and what this article is going to show you is 8 specific spots to see there.
I’ve explored Green Mountain National Forest several times and each time, even if I revisit one or more of the places on this list, I’m still shocked at how beautiful this region of Vermont is and how much there is to see.
Update: Originally this article showcased 5 things to do in Green Mountain National Forest, but today it’s up to 8 and the truth is that it’s unlikely to see them all in one day (the original 5 were) but you can see most of them on this list in that time still.
Here are 8 things to do in Green Mountain National Forest Vermont:
- Thundering Brook Falls.
- Warren Falls (swimming holes).
- Moss Glen Falls.
- Texas Falls (great hiking and views).
- Buttermilk Falls (Great hiking and swimming holes).
- Explore Smugglers Notch.
- See Brewster River Gorge.
- See Camel’s Hump State Park.
Like I said, the original list was 5 things and having revisited Green Mountain Forest a few times since, I’ve added 3 more to the list and being that I absolutely plan to keep visiting this area, that will grow so if you have any recommendations, feel free to list them below!
1) Thundering Brook Falls:
Thundering Brook Falls is a beautiful waterfall with a short hike to it off River Road right near Road 100, that goes through the Green Mountain National Forest.
There is a short trail and viewing area to get you to it and if you’re just driving through this region, you only need to spend a few minutes to find this spot and it’s highly recommended. Again, as of now, I haven’t explored it, but it was on my list and will be checked off in the near future.
If you enjoy waterfalls and simple walks where you can see them, then Thundering Brooks is a great place to check out in Green Mountain National Forest. Just as well, it’s a nice appetizer for the other hikes and fun activities you can do here. Now let’s continue the list, with something that’s a bit more immersive on this list and it is:
2) Warren Falls (amazing swimming holes):
When I first saw photos of Warren Falls, I didn’t take it seriously. To me, it looked like a typical swimming hole you’d find in the mountains and for that, I figured I could just go to the Catskills and do that there (Rat’s Hole Park and Peekamoose Blue Hole are 2 examples).
But when I got to Warren Falls, that changed and I seriously don’t get why people don’t post better pictures of this place (or others). Are they just bad photographers or are they just trying to keep the beauty of this place a secret? Either way, the photo you see above is a small sample of the beauty of Warren Falls.
There are multiple swimming holes and hikes and to get to this area involves parking off the 100 road in Vermont, from which the swimming area and hikes are about 500 feet away. Beware though, if you visit this place on a weekend or holiday, it will be packed. This is one of the reasons why the picture you see above doesn’t show everything.
The water is gorgeous, clear and of an emerald color. It was very inviting, but we had to move on and the mass crowds and lines to jump in the water didn’t help. There were too many people ruining the scenery of this place for me, but not enough for me to not want to come back here. I definitely will! As for pictures, I have plenty, but sadly, there’s just TOO many people in it. The next chance I get to post a good picture with little or no people of Warren Falls, I will.
3) Moss Glenn Falls:
Moss Glenn Falls is right off the 100 road and the walk to the viewing area of it is about 50 feet from the parking area. You can also just drive by it too if you want and if you enjoy waterfalls, this is a beautiful one to view. It’s about 50 feet high with a shallow pool at the bottom of it.
When we saw this area (right), there wasn’t much water on the waterfall, probably due to the summer season playing a role, but it still was a nice waterfall to glance at and take 5-10 minutes out of our drive to enjoy. There was nobody in this viewing area, so if you have no choice but to travel to these areas on a weekend and hate crowds, I’d consider visiting this particular spot.
It’s probably not that popular but it’s still scenic and nice to look at. However, the next spot is a different story:
4) Texas Falls (one of the best Green Mountain National Forest waterfalls):
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen any place in the eastern United States that just totally floored me, and out of all the spots on this list, this particular area did it. It’s called Texas falls and while it’s not the biggest waterfall, because of its location, I consider it to be one of the best waterfalls in Green Mountain National forest.
Out of all the places I’ve been through in Green Mountain National Forest, this is still a spot I happily return to because of the scenery. Texas Falls has a number of spots that look like swimming holes, but swimming isn’t allowed there and I was surprised to see how few people were there, but we didn’t complain and took our time enjoying the views of this place. There’s actually another waterfall above Texas Falls here that has a beautiful glowing green color to it (right) and if you get to it around the afternoon, you may be able to catch that amazing green color too.
5) Buttermilk Falls:
The last place we visited before finally deciding we were too tired was Buttermilk Falls. It also has many swimming holes, at least 3 different waterfalls, one each getting progressively bigger as you work your way upriver and plenty of diving areas.
The biggest waterfall is the actual Buttermilk falls you can see to your right:
This place, like Warren Falls was also filled with a lot of people. Fortunately, the parking area near this place is unregulated and there was plenty of space to find parking, despite there being at least 100 cars there.
The water in this area isn’t as beautiful as the places we visited prior, but the scenery there is very beautiful none the less and it is worth exploring too (just on a weekday hike in my personal opinion). This area is also the spaciest you’ll find on the list. From the parking availability, to the amount of different spots you can hike through and swim at, there’s a lot of options available.
6) Smugglers Notch (where you’ll see some of the best hikes in Green Mountain National Forest):
I’ve been to Smugglers Notch many times since I first visited Vermont and it wasn’t until my last trip there that I realized it’s actually part of the Green Mountains too! That makes this whole region even better in my opinion because Smugglers Notch is absolutely amazing for many reasons including having some of the best hikes in Green Mountain National Forest in my opinion and the picture you see here is one of them (there’s many others in this area too, all close by).
There’s also a great scenic drive and ski resort in the area, and tons of to see and explore in general. Smugglers Notch has been one of my main return visits when I go to this area and I highly recommend you explore this area too. Seeing all of this in one day is unlikely but I would absolutely recommend you spend most of your time here if you’re visiting the Green Mountains.
7) Brewster River Gorge:
This is a very mellow part of the Green Mountains area but it has a covered bridge, nice river views and a cool hiking trail nearby to explore. I even saw some mountain bike trails here when I was visiting. The covered bridge is one you can drive or walk through.
The overall area here is very scenic and it’s literally “next door” to Smugglers Notch (it’s about 10 minutes from it) that’s easy to miss, but is also recommended to make a quick stop as it’s a great way to get more done in this area in a short time. There is also an area right by Brewster River Gorge that has a water mill that’s quite photogenic. Overall, adding this place to your itinerary is a good way to mix up the type of stuff you’ll see in the Green Mountains.
8) Camel’s Hump State Park (has some of the best views in Green Mountain National Forest):
Camel’s Hump State Park is directly south of Smugglers Notch and is also part of the Green Mountain area. It has plenty of hiking trails too and many of them lead to places that some would consider the best views in Green Mountain National Forest.
It’s less crowded than Smugglers Notch and if you have time, I would recommend spending a portion of your time in this region to check out one or more of the trails there. I typically utilize certain strategies to find easy hikes near me and one of those methods involves using Alltrails. You can find a lot of awesome hikes here and in the greater Green Mountain area for that matter.
More explorations in Green Mountains National Forest to come!
Besides showing you more pictures of the places I couldn’t really get a good shot at, because I was so floored by this area, I will be coming back to it and exploring even more spots to add to this list, so if you have any suggestions as someone who knows about what to see at Green Mountain National Forest, let me know!
For now, one more recommendation I have is to see parts of the Long Trail which is a major thru hike that goes through the entire Green Mountain National Forest (hence why seeing parts of it is recommended).
Questions people usually have about Green Mountain National Forest:
Can you drive through the Green Mountain National Forest?
Yes there are several roads that go deep into the Green Mountain National Forest area including roads 341, 71 and Stratton Arlington Rd.
Is Green Mountain National Forest free?
Most of the Green Mountain National Forest area is free to access, including hiking trails, swimming holes and more. Certain campgrounds for example may have a fee to stay at.
Are there bears in Green Mountain National Forest?
Yes there are bears all across Vermont, including Green Mountain National Forest.
7 things to do near Green Mountain National Forest:
These areas are several hours in each direction from Green Mountain National Forest:
1) If you’re in the southern most part of the Green Mountains, directly West of this area is Lake George (1 hour drive).
2) The Adirondack Mountains are also highly recommended to check out and are pretty much west of the Green Mountains too (but it’s above Lake George). See Adirondack waterfall hikes if you’re looking to check that out.
3) Catskill Mountains (3 hours south west of Green Mountains), all of which are in New York State. It’s also a beautiful mountain range that has similar hikes and even more amazing waterfalls.
5) Ausable Chasm. Technically this area is near the Adirondack Mountains but it’s really further north and right by Lake Champlain. This is a beautiful gorge that’s great for kayaking, hiking and sight seeing.
6) Red Rocks Park. This is very close to Burlington VT and is the closest spot on this list to the Green Mountains.
7) Fall foliage in New England. This is a specific type of thing I recommend you do. I’ve added a link to the post that shares this but you can see amazing fall foliage in the Green Mountains, Vermont in general and the greater New England area. In fact, I would recommend doing an entire road trip through at least one of the states on that list when the fall colors come around.