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.
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.
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.
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.
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