North Branch Cascades--Worcester

North Branch Cascades--Worcester

Worcester, Vermont 05682

Official Website

About this Location

The North Branch Cascades is a remarkable 1-mile stretch along the North Branch of the Winooski River beside VT-12. It is just south of Lake Elmore and is 14 miles north on VT-12 from Montpelier. It is characterized by seven stunning cascading waterfalls and numerous deep holes for swimming, boasting an unprecedented wheelchair-accessible trail.

There are three access points along VT-12. One is at the south end, one in the middle, and one at the far northern end.

Among the unique attributes of this site is the riverine experience it offers for multiple uses. This site has a 1-mile nature trail along the North Branch, half of which is now wheelchair accessible. The walking trail offers a unique nature experience in a verdant, moist, and mature hardwood-hemlock-spruce forest along the cold, mountain waters of the North Branch. Ample opportunities abound for birdwatching, botanizing, hiking, fishing, swimming, and picnicking alike.

The newly constructed trail was opportunistic as it sits on the former Route 12 roadbed. In addition to improvements to make a wheelchair-accessible trail, six stone stairways have been constructed to provide easy access to the river at numerous swimming holes. A privy has also been constructed at the south end parking lot.

This site is truly special for natural history enthusiasts. Abundant Canada Yew and large-diameter Hemlock and Red Spruce along portions of the trail suggest much of the riparian forest is mature and has had little human disturbance for a while, and it certainly feels that way!

From the North (Lake Elmore): Drive 8-miles south on VT-12. The pull-off for the north parking area is on the left. There are two other parking areas to the south as well, if this one is full.

From the South (Worcester): Drive VT-12 north for 6 miles to the northernmost parking area, on your right.

Note that there are three parking areas. We encourage people to start from the northern trailhead because it is the largest. All parking areas are plowed for winter access.


  • Restrooms on site

  • Wheelchair accessible trail

  • Entrance fee

Content from Official Website

Last updated October 12, 2023