This is one of the Best waterfalls in the Northeast



 Abs Mag:


 Beisel Rating:

5.38 (Class 6)


126 feet

 Tallest Drop:

65 feet

 # of Drops:





Poultney River






USGS Benson 7 1/2"


Aerial Photography


28 C4



The middle tier in low water, click to enlarge

A close up shot of the middle tier, click to enlarge

The lower tier in high water, click to enlarge

Looking toward the brink of the lower tier in high water, click to enlarge

An old postcard image from the archive, click to enlarge

An old postcard image from the archive, click to enlarge



West Haven , Rutland County, VT , USA


No Known Alternate Names





Carvers Falls is on the Poultney River on the Vermont / New York border. It is a large waterfall totaling 126' in 3 main drops. The first time I went searching for this waterfall, I did not know there was no access from the Vermont side. I spent 3 muddy hours walking along Hubbardton Creek about one mile upstream from its confluence with the much larger Poultney River. The dam is located at the top of the first falls. The water flows over a wide ledge and cascades beneath the penstock then over the 30' middle falls. The river gathers in the plunge pool, then leaps over the final drop into the pool below. This is a 65' drop. In periods of very low water, the plunge pool seeps into the heavily fractured bedrock and rises at the base of the bottom drop. It wells up like a large spring at the foot of the totally dry cliff of the lower falls. The gorge below the falls is almost as impressive as the falls themselves. The walls are very steep so you can clearly see the river 100' below you.


Geology and Bedrock Structure:

The bedrock at the falls is the ordovician Middlebury Limestone, and the Chipman Formation (dolomite and marble).



The falls aren't in their original location. It seems the falls were on a meander to the north of the present day location. A crooked land surveyor from New York deliberately surveyed the land incorrectly so as to have the waterfall on his property. After all, a 100+' waterfall, and the size of mill it could run, would prove very profitable. The victim of the scam didn't simply accept defeat. He found a weak point of the river bank in the middle of his property and went to work with pick and shovel. Soon, a rivulet was flowing through a trench he dug. The water began to erode the gap in the bank, and eventually, a rivulet became a torrent which eventually captured the entire flow of the Poultney River, dropping over The Great Ledge in the modern day location of Carver Falls. Talk about karma.


Photography Notes:

For my money, Carvers Falls is best in early spring. The formation is large enough so that you need not have the dam in a composition. There are also wildflowers galore, particularly White Trilliums. The falls in high water are tremendous. A polarizer and a warming filter should do the trick. You don't need a tripod, unless you want to wash out the falls a bit. I froze them with a fairly fast shutter speed to connote the springtime power. In times of low water, the tripod becomes more important. 28-80mm of zoom should be sufficient here.



To reach Carvers Falls, leave Fair Haven (Route 22A) west on West Road. The Poultney River is the border between Vermont and New York. Just after crossing the bridge, turn right onto Manchester Road. In a couple of miles, turn right on Carver Falls Road. Park at the dead end. The falls start just below the dam.