8 Epic Vermont Swimming Holes

At these classic Vermont swimming holes, you can find pristine mountain streams, some cliff jumping and pools deep enough to swim in. Many are located near mountain biking, hiking and great food. Always be mindful of parking in designated spaces, obey posted signs and leave the place cleaner than you found it.

1. Bingham Falls, Stowe

Located in the Mt. Mansfield State Forest, the falls are a half-mile hike from Route 108 on a 72-acre parcel of conserved northern hardwood forest. The swimming hole features a 40-foot cascading waterfall and a series of deep gorges and pools. Expect moss, ferns and, as Noah Labow says, “a feeling that you’ve encountered something prehistoric.” Accessed via public land.

University of Vermont Freeski Team member Zach Masi of Wolcott flips off of the 40-foot cliff at Bingham Falls in Stowe. Photo by Brooks Curran
2. Bolton Potholes, Bolton

Head to the Bolton Access Road for this series of three waterfalls that each drop into a round pool or “pothole.” In the sunlight, the pools turn emerald green in the summer. The second is wider and deeper than the rest, with rounded, overhanging walls that some people jump off of. Be sure to check for depth and be very careful of slipping on the river-worn schist.

3. Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow

Two waterfalls comprise this swimming hole, which is located off of Route 103 on Branch Brook, about 1.5-miles from downtown Ludlow. Try sitting in the deep pool underneath the cascade on a hot summer day, or swimming in either of the deep pools. There is some seasonal cliff jumping depending on the water depth.

4. Dorset Quarry, Dorset

Also known as the Norcross-West Marble Quarry, the Dorset quarry offers cliff jumping from various heights, with clear water that is very deep. Located right off of Route 30, it’s drawn swimmers since the 1920s. If you’d like to contribute to the maintenance and safer infrastructure that will allow the current owners to keep the quarry open to swimmers, visit gofundme.com/preserve-and-enhance-dorset-quarry.

Zeke Neubauer climbs out of Dorset Quarry, a great place to swim and watch some of the top skiers in the state do flips. Recently, Dorset Quarry owner David McDonough launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for improvements like better trail access, a grassy zone at the perimeter and more. Photo by Ali Kaukas
5. Four Corners Falls, Jay Branch Gorge, Troy

A big, deep pool sits below this plunging waterfall in the Jay Branch with smooth rock walls along the rim. A rope swing is attached to a tree that sits above a popular jumping ledge,  a 15-foot drop into the deep pool below.

6. Quechee Gorge, Quechee

Known as“Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon,” the gorge drops 168 feet deep in places. Under the covered bridge in town, the river gets to be about eight feet deep with cliff jumps ranging from 10 to about 35 feet.

Locals, among them freeskier Derek McNamara (center) of Proctorsville, hang out at the local swimming hole beneath the Quechee Covered Bridge. The covered bridge is a popular jump. Photo by Ali Kaukas
7. Timber Crib Dam, Guilford

Built in 1811, this dam on the Green River is about 10 feet high, with a sheet of water that flows over the edge into calm water below, with deep pools and submerged boulders to stand on or dive off of. If you reach through the sheet of water, you can step into a hidden chamber in the dam. The dam is located near the Green River Covered Bridge, a national historic site about 20 minutes from Brattleboro off Green River Road.

Above, the Green River spills over the Timber Crib Dam in Guilford. Photo by David Hajdasz.
8. Warren Falls, Warren

A great place to cliff jump, Warren Falls offers anywhere from 10- to 40-foot ledges into clear, deep pools. The river-worn boulders that line and populate this stretch of the Mad River create a series of excellent pools for swimming with slabs for sunbathing. 

For more about cliff jumping in Vermont and where to catch the best of the best, see “Diving In.”

Featured Photo Caption: The rushing whitewater at Warren Falls (above) makes for soft landings in deep pools carved by the Mad River. Photo by Ben Moffat

Abagael Giles

Abagael Giles is the Assistant Editor at Vermont Ski + Ride Magazine. She loves free-heel skiing and exploring her home state of Vermont–one ridgetop at a time. Find her on Twitter at @AbagaelGiles.

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