Big Falls State Park, which lies about two miles south of the Canadian border, is an aptly-named park where the Missisquoi River cascades through a deep, narrow, cliff-lined gorge in Troy, Vermont. In terms of vertical drop, the numbers truly don’t do this waterfall any justice, for the river descends only about 40 feet over the course of the cascades (with the tallest single drop measuring roughly 25 feet). The real allure of this waterfall is its awe-inspiring power. The Missisquoi River is squeezed through such a narrow space here that it tears violently through the chasm, boiling with whitewater and sending a roaring echo up the gorge walls. In fact, the photograph above was taken from a cliff some 80 feet above the riverbed and, even at that distance, I was still being blasted by mist erupting from the waterfalls below.
The recent history of Big Falls State Park is not particularly well-documented, at least not in any articles or overviews widely-accessible to the public. For some reason, you won’t even find this parcel listed in the Vermont State Parks Division official park listing. Some time ago, a utility company owned the land and was purportedly considering the construction of a hydroelectric plant to harness energy from the Missisquoi River. As fate would have it, the company decided not to pursue the plans and ultimately transferred the land to the State of Vermont. The exact timeline is fuzzy, but at some point after Big Falls fell under the jurisdiction of the State, it was dubbed “Big Falls State Park” and opened up to the public for hiking, swimming, and fishing.
Trails here wind through wild forests beneath a canopy of sizable conifers and, unlike many Northeastern state parks which lay in the midst of bustling communities, Big Falls State Park really is quite remote and isolated from densely populated towns. This photograph of Big Falls was taken late in the Spring of 2011, when very high water levels made fishing and swimming difficult. However, during an earlier visit two years ago, I recall pulling at least a half-dozen trout from the rocky waters below the waterfalls. One member of our fishing party even cooled off by taking a dip in one of the sallower, shaded pools. Big Falls State Park may be out-of-the-way and require a lengthy drive, but it offers exceptional scenery and recreation and is sure to be worth a visit if you ever make it out to Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
“Big Falls State Park – Troy, Vermont”.
“Big Falls – VT”.