What to do in Jamaica State Park

Jamaica State Park located in the Londonderry area of Vermont is a well known spring and fall destination for whitewater boaters when water is released from Ball Mountain Dam. It is divided into two beautiful mixed forest areas, the West River and Shatterack Mountain. The park offers seasonal camping, picnicking, swimming, viewing a waterfall and a nature center.

Jamaica State Park, now comprising 758 acres, was completed and opened to the public in 1969. It is broken into two segments, West River and Shatterack Mountain. Both areas offer beautiful woodlands comprised mostly of hemlock with a mix of hardwood throughout their lower elevations. At higher elevations sugar maple, beech and white birch predominate.

Previously, the area had supported a few small farms and a sawmill. The Brattleboro Railroad ran through the park. The old railroad bed is now used as the trail that leads along the West River to Ball Mountain Dam. The railroad operated from about 1879 until 1927, when a flood wiped most of it out.

The area at Salmon Hole, now used as the swimming area, was the site where three French men and several Indians ambushed British soldiers in 1748.

Jamaica State Park is located on a bend of the West River about one-half mile from the center of the town of Jamaica. Nearby to the north is Ball Mountain. The breathtaking Hamilton Falls is located about one mile up Cobb Brook, which enters the West River upstream from the park. The West River has a very large drainage area extending from Weston and the south side of Terrible Mountain to Windham on the east and Bromley on the west.

Every spring and fall, on one weekend in late April and late September, there is a water release on the West River from Ball Mountain Dam. This is a semiannual event for many kayakers and canoeists from all over New England.

The West River is also a favorite spot for many fishermen. The combination of deep slow running water and shallow fast ripples makes for some fine fishing.

Recreation
Jamaica State Park offers camping, fishing, whitewater boating, hiking an historical railroad bed, hunting, picnicking a playground and a natural swimming hole. A historical brochure on the railroad is available at the park office. Sight-seeing and viewing wildlife are also popular attractions. The hemlock and mixed hardwood forest along with a plentiful water supply offers a wonderful habitat for the abundant white-tailed deer, beaver, grouse and many more small creatures that make Jamaica State Park home. Viewing Hamilton Falls is very popular but caution should be heed along the slippery damp rocks. Cross-country skiing permitted in winter by walking around entrance gate; all facilities closed including restrooms.

Nearby attractions include the Hamilton Falls Natural Area in Hildene and the Robert Todd Lincoln's home in Manchester.

Location
From Jamaica travel a half mile east on Depot Street.

Climate
Winter daytime temperatures average above 18 degrees Fahrenheit (above -8 Celsius). Summer daytime temperatures average above 70 degrees Fahrenheit (above 21 Celsius). Much of the state's precipitation is the result of snow, particularly throughout the mountains. The Places in History Travel Region has an average precipitation of more than 44 inches (more than 112 centimeters). However, along the eastern boundary of this region, precipitation drops between 36 and 40 inches (91 to 102 centimeters).

Address
285 Salmon Hole Lane
Jamaica, VT 05343

Phone: 802-874-4600

  • Jamaica State Park Travel Q&A

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