Nearby Thundering Brook trail leads to Thundering Brook falls (both of them).

Appalachian Trail map showing trail spur and parking area.

One option is an easy loop walk in terms of distance, but that could result in nasty falls if you don’t pay attention.  This option goes down a rocky, winding, rutted path beside Thundering Brook to upper Thundering Brook Falls, then continues down to the observation deck at lower Thundering Brook Falls.  The return trail goes back up the still windy, and rocky, but better engineered blue blaze marked path back to the trailhead.

Upper Thundering Brook Falls

Another option is to forgo visiting the upper falls and just take the less challenging blue blaze marked trail down to the observation deck at the lower falls and back.  In either case, depending on what recent weather has been like–more spectacular falls after a good rain–this little journey has significant rewards.

The trail map at the top shows the short, blue dotted, spur trail that leads off the Appalachian Trail.  A boardwalk that was built over the Ottauquechee River flood plain, accessed via River Road, provided wheelchair access to lower Thundering Brook Falls but was partially destroyed by the flooding from Hurricane Irene in 2011.  Until this is replaced, Appalachian Trail hikers have to make a short .4 mile detour up Thundering Brook Road and bypass this section althogether.

Edie hugs a tree while she studies lower Thundering Brook Falls from the trail to the observation deck.

To get to the Thundering Brook Falls trailhead from the October Country Inn, go west on Route 4 about 10 miles.  Turn right on River Road, at the base of where Route 4 begins to climb toward the Killington Ski Resort access road.  Follow River Road for about a mile, and take the first left after the road turns to dirt.  Although the street sign might be missing, this is Thundering Brook Road.  Proceed .4 mile up the wooded road.  You will see some tree trunks on your right with white blazes indicating the Appalachian Trail detour route.  Soon, you will see two white blazes, one on top of the other and staggered a bit.  This marks the beginning of a blue blaze marked .2 mile spur trail that leads to the observation platform at lower Thundering Brook Falls.  If you want to see upper Thundering Brook Falls, that trailhead is on the downhill side of a small parking area another 50 yards up the road.

Blue blaze marked trail from the observation deck back to the trailhead.

The trail to the upper falls descends from the parking area alongside Thundering Brook.  You soon come to a shaded swimming hole.  A little further on you’ll come to the upper falls.  It gets a bit challenging from here.  Be careful.  Watch your footing and follow the trail down to the lower falls and observation deck.  From there you can take the blue blaze marked trail back up to the parking area.

The trailhead is also accessible from where Thundering Brook Road intersects with Route 4 about a mile west of the River Road intersection.  Proceed past Kent Pond for 1.3 miles.  The parking area is on the left.