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The Best Swimming Holes In Vermont


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Deana Malinowski



Vermont, nestled in the heart of New England, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty. From towering mountains to picturesque valleys, this small state offers a plethora of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts. One of the most beloved pastimes for locals and tourists alike is swimming in Vermont’s refreshing and idyllic swimming holes.


Swimming holes are natural bodies of water, often surrounded by lush greenery and rocky formations, where people can relax, cool off, and enjoy the serenity of nature. Vermont is home to numerous swimming holes, each with its own unique charm and appeal. From cascading waterfalls to crystal-clear lakes, there is a swimming hole in Vermont to suit every preference.


Whether you’re seeking an adventurous cliff jump or a leisurely swim, Vermont’s swimming holes offer a perfect respite from the summer heat. In this article, we will explore some of the best swimming holes in Vermont, highlighting their remarkable features and providing you with essential information to plan your next refreshing escapade.


So, grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, and sense of adventure as we dive into the top swimming holes Vermont has to offer! But before we begin our journey, always remember to prioritize safety by checking for any posted signs or advisories and assessing swimming conditions.


Bristol Falls

Located in the charming town of Bristol, Bristol Falls is a hidden gem for swimming and relaxation. Nestled along the New Haven River, this swimming hole offers a picturesque setting with its smooth rock formations and cascading waterfalls.


What makes Bristol Falls particularly special is its natural waterslide carved by years of rushing water. Visitors can enjoy a thrilling ride down the slide before plunging into the deep pool below. The clear, cool water is perfect for swimming and cooling off on a hot summer day.


Surrounded by dense forests, Bristol Falls provides a tranquil and serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. It’s a popular spot for both locals and tourists, so it’s best to arrive early to secure a good spot.


While there are no lifeguards on duty, the depth of the swimming hole varies, so it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings. Additionally, be mindful of the slippery rocks and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety.


To access Bristol Falls, follow the signage from the parking area off Lincoln Road. It’s a short hike through the woods, and the soothing sound of rushing water will guide you to this natural oasis.


Whether you’re seeking a thrilling waterslide adventure or a peaceful swim in pristine waters, Bristol Falls is a must-visit destination for swimming hole enthusiasts.


Warren Falls

Tucked away in the Mad River Valley, Warren Falls is a breathtaking swimming hole that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty. Fed by the Mad River, this spot offers a perfect combination of cascading waterfalls, deep pools, and smooth rock formations.


Warren Falls is a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking a refreshing swim in Vermont’s pristine waters. The main attraction is the series of waterfalls, ranging in height and creating a mesmerizing display of rushing water. Adventurous visitors can even find a couple of natural water slides to add an extra element of fun.


One of the unique features of Warren Falls is the variety of swimming areas it offers. There are shallow wading pools where families with young children can splash around, as well as deeper sections for experienced swimmers to dive in and cool off. With plenty of large rocks to perch on, you can relax and soak up the sun while listening to the soothing sound of the water.


Due to its popularity, Warren Falls can get crowded, especially on weekends and during the peak summer season. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a good spot and avoid the crowds. On weekdays or early mornings, you may have the swimming hole almost to yourself, allowing you to truly appreciate the natural beauty of the area.


Access to Warren Falls is relatively easy, with a short walk from the parking area off Route 100. It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty, so swimming is at your own risk. Exercise caution, especially around the waterfalls and slippery rocks.


Warren Falls is not only a fantastic swimming hole but also a great place for picnicking, sunbathing, and immersing yourself in nature. It’s a spot that showcases Vermont’s stunning landscapes at their finest.


Dorset Quarry

If you’re looking for a unique swimming experience, look no further than Dorset Quarry. Located in Dorset, Vermont, this former marble quarry has been transformed into a stunning swimming hole that attracts visitors from near and far.


Dorset Quarry is a hidden gem known for its crystal-clear turquoise water, which is so remarkably translucent that you can see straight to the bottom. The quarry walls rise dramatically around the water, creating a picturesque and serene atmosphere.


What sets Dorset Quarry apart is its history. The quarry dates back to the early 1900s when it was actively mined for its marble. Today, the remnants of the quarry serve as a reminder of Vermont’s rich geological heritage, and the pool is a testament to nature’s ability to reclaim and transform abandoned sites.


Swimming in the Dorset Quarry is a refreshing experience, as the water is deep and cool. Jumping off the quarry walls into the water is a popular thrill for adventurous swimmers, but be sure to exercise caution and assess the depth before taking the leap.


There are no lifeguards on duty at the Dorset Quarry, so swimming is at your own risk. However, the peaceful and secluded nature of the swimming hole adds to its allure, making it a favorite spot for those seeking tranquility in nature.


To access Dorset Quarry, follow the signs from Dorset West Road. There is limited parking available, so arriving early is advisable, especially during weekends and holidays when the area can get crowded.


Remember to respect the surroundings and keep the area clean by taking out any trash you bring. With its unique history and stunning beauty, Dorset Quarry offers a swimming experience that is both unforgettable and Instagram-worthy.


Hamilton Falls

Tucked away in the Green Mountain National Forest, Hamilton Falls is a magnificent natural wonder that will leave you in awe of its grandeur. As one of the tallest waterfalls in Vermont, this picturesque spot offers not only a breathtaking sight but also a refreshing swimming hole at its base.


The sight of Hamilton Falls cascading down a series of rock formations is simply mesmerizing. The rushing water creates a misty spray, adding a touch of magic to the whole experience. As you make your way down the rugged trail, you’ll feel the excitement building as the sound of the waterfall grows louder.


Once you reach the bottom, you’ll be greeted by a deep and inviting swimming hole. The cool, emerald-green water is perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot summer day. Swimmers can enjoy the thrill of swimming beneath the waterfall, immersing themselves in the invigorating spray.


Due to the height and power of the waterfall, swimming directly under it is not recommended. The force of the water can be strong and potentially dangerous. Instead, swim towards the sides of the pool, where the water is calmer, and exercise caution at all times.


Hamilton Falls is truly a hidden gem, and its remote location adds to its allure. To access this natural wonder, you’ll need to hike a moderately challenging trail through the forest. Make sure to wear appropriate footwear and bring plenty of water and snacks for the journey.


It’s important to note that there are no amenities or lifeguards at Hamilton Falls, so be prepared and bring any necessary supplies with you. Respect the natural environment by leaving no trace and taking all trash out with you.


Visiting Hamilton Falls is not just about swimming but also about being in awe of nature’s power and beauty. It’s an experience that will stay with you long after you leave, making it a must-visit destination for any adventure-seeking traveler.


Texas Falls

If you’re looking for a scenic and family-friendly swimming spot in Vermont, look no further than Texas Falls. Located in the Green Mountain National Forest near Hancock, Texas Falls offers a picturesque setting with its cascading waterfalls and rocky pools.


What makes Texas Falls so unique is its accessibility. Unlike many other swimming holes that require hiking, Texas Falls is easily accessible from the parking area off Route 125. A short walk on a well-maintained trail leads you to the stunning sight of the waterfalls.


As you approach Texas Falls, the sound of rushing water grows louder, building anticipation for the beauty that awaits. The main waterfall consists of a series of steep cascades, creating a mesmerizing display of crashing water against the rocks.


While swimming directly in the falls is not allowed due to safety concerns, the pools below the falls offer a refreshing and inviting swimming experience. These pools have calm water, making them perfect for wading and cooling off on a hot day.


Whether you choose to dip your toes in the water or fully immerse yourself, the crystal-clear pools at Texas Falls provide a delightful respite from the summer heat. Families with children will appreciate the shallow areas where little ones can splash around and play.


While there are no lifeguards on duty, Texas Falls is a popular destination, so it’s important to be mindful of others and take precautions for safety. The rocks around the pools can be slippery, so be cautious when walking or playing near the water.


Visiting Texas Falls is not just about swimming; it’s also an opportunity to explore the surrounding natural beauty. There are picnic areas nearby, making it an ideal spot for a family outing or a peaceful day in nature.


As with any natural area, be sure to leave no trace and carry out any trash you bring with you. By respecting the environment and other visitors, you’ll help preserve the beauty of Texas Falls for future generations to enjoy.


Lake Willoughby

When it comes to swimming holes in Vermont, Lake Willoughby stands out as an absolute gem. Located in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, this glacial lake spans over 7 miles and offers spectacular views with its crystal-clear water and breathtaking surrounding mountains.


Nicknamed the “Lake Lucerne of America,” Lake Willoughby attracts visitors with its picturesque beauty. The lake is flanked by towering cliffs on each side, creating a dramatic and awe-inspiring backdrop. The water is incredibly clear and inviting, making it perfect for swimming.


One of the highlights of Lake Willoughby is its depth. The lake reaches depths of over 300 feet in some areas, providing a refreshing and invigorating swimming experience. The water is often cool, even during the hottest summer months, offering a welcome respite from the heat.


What makes Lake Willoughby particularly special is its diverse swimming options. There are several public beaches where you can relax on the sandy shores and take a dip in the refreshing water. For those seeking a more secluded experience, there are also numerous small coves and rocky areas along the shoreline where you can swim and sunbathe in solitude.


In addition to swimming, Lake Willoughby offers a range of outdoor activities. Anglers can try their luck at fishing for trout and salmon, while kayakers and paddleboarders can explore the stunning scenery from the water. Hiking enthusiasts can embark on the challenging but rewarding hike up Mount Pisgah for panoramic views of the lake and surrounding area.


Access to Lake Willoughby is relatively easy, with parking available at various spots around the lake. Keep in mind that there are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of the water conditions.


With its stunning natural beauty and diverse swimming options, Lake Willoughby is a true paradise for water lovers. Whether you prefer to relax on the beach or venture out for an exhilarating swim, this Vermont gem will leave you with unforgettable memories of summer fun.


Silver Lake State Park

Silver Lake State Park, located in Barnard, Vermont, is a haven for swimming and outdoor recreation. This picturesque state park is centered around a beautiful mountain lake, offering visitors the perfect setting for a day of relaxation and water activities.


Silver Lake is renowned for its clear, pristine water, which is sourced from natural springs and mountain streams. The lake stretches over 84 acres, providing ample space for swimming and water-based fun. From sunbathing on the sandy beach to canoeing or kayaking on the tranquil waters, there are activities to suit every preference.


The sandy beach at Silver Lake State Park is perfect for families and sun-seekers. There is plenty of room to spread out your towel and soak up the sun while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Lifeguards are on duty during peak hours, ensuring a safe swimming experience for everyone.


If you prefer a more active adventure, you can rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard from the park office and explore the lake. Paddling along the calm waters allows you to soak in the natural beauty of the area and get closer to the diverse wildlife that calls Silver Lake home.


Aside from swimming and water sports, Silver Lake State Park also offers hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests. The trails vary in difficulty, allowing hikers of all skill levels to enjoy the beauty of their natural surroundings. Keep an eye out for the park’s resident wildlife, such as deer and various bird species.


Facilities at Silver Lake State Park include picnic areas with tables and grills, making it an ideal spot for a family barbecue or a picnic with friends. There are also restrooms and changing facilities available for visitors’ convenience.


Whether you’re seeking a day of peaceful relaxation or an active outdoor adventure, Silver Lake State Park has it all. The combination of its scenic beauty, clear waters, and recreational opportunities make it a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike.


Quechee Gorge

Quechee Gorge, often referred to as the “Grand Canyon of Vermont,” is a natural wonder that offers a unique swimming experience unlike any other. Located in Quechee State Park, this stunning gorge showcases the power of nature and provides a dramatic backdrop for a refreshing swim.


The gorge, carved by the Ottauquechee River, is an impressive sight to behold. The towering cliffs and rushing water create a breathtaking panorama that attracts visitors from near and far. The water cascades through the gorge, forming pools and small waterfalls that beckon swimmers to take a dip.


While swimming in the gorge itself is not recommended due to unsafe currents and rocks, Quechee State Park offers a nearby swimming area where visitors can cool off and unwind. The park boasts a sandy beach along the Ottauquechee River, providing a serene and picturesque spot for swimming.


The swimming area is supervised by lifeguards during designated hours, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all. Whether you choose to relax on the sandy beach or take a refreshing swim in the river, the cool waters of Quechee Gorge offer a welcome respite on hot summer days.


Aside from swimming, Quechee Gorge offers a range of other activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking trails wind through the park, providing opportunities to explore the surrounding woodlands and enjoy scenic views of the gorge. Picnic areas are available for those who wish to enjoy a meal surrounded by nature’s beauty.


For a unique perspective of the gorge, visitors can cross the pedestrian bridge that spans the chasm. From this vantage point, you can admire the incredible depth and power of the river as it rushes through the gorge below.


Access to Quechee Gorge is convenient, with a parking area located just a short walk from the swimming area and viewpoints. The park is open during the summer months and attracts both locals and tourists who appreciate the beauty and tranquility of this natural wonder.


Whether you’re seeking a peaceful swim in a scenic setting or want to marvel at the natural wonders of Quechee Gorge, a visit to this iconic destination in Vermont is sure to leave a lasting impression.


Cavendish Gulf

Nestled in the heart of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Cavendish Gulf is a hidden oasis that offers a unique and secluded swimming experience. This natural gorge, located in Cavendish, provides a tranquil retreat for those seeking a refreshing dip in the pristine waters of the Black River.


Cavendish Gulf offers a picturesque setting with its rocky cliffs, lush greenery, and the soothing sound of rushing water. The gorge was created over centuries as the Black River carved through the surrounding bedrock, resulting in a stunning and naturally formed swimming hole.


To access the swimming area, visitors must follow a short trail that leads down to the gorge from the parking area. The trail meanders through the dense forest, adding to the sense of anticipation as you approach the hidden gem that awaits.


Once you arrive at the swimming hole, you’ll be greeted by the refreshing sight of crystal-clear water gently circulating in the rocky basin. The pool offers a serene and peaceful environment, ideal for unwinding and enjoying the beauty of nature.


Swimmers can immerse themselves in the cool waters while surrounded by the natural beauty of Cavendish Gulf. The depth of the swimming hole varies, providing options for both confident swimmers and those who prefer to wade in shallow areas.


It’s important to note that there are no lifeguards on duty at Cavendish Gulf, so swimmers must exercise caution and be aware of hazards such as slippery rocks. Safety should always be a priority, especially in natural swimming environments.


Additionally, the secluded nature of Cavendish Gulf means there are limited facilities and amenities available. Visitors are advised to bring their own essentials, including food, water, and any necessary swimming equipment or picnic supplies.


Visiting Cavendish Gulf is an opportunity to truly connect with nature and indulge in the simplicity of a beautiful swimming hole. Allow yourself to be captivated by the peaceful atmosphere and revel in the natural wonders that this hidden gem has to offer.


Jamaica State Park

Jamaica State Park, located in the town of Jamaica, Vermont, is a hidden gem that offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including a pristine swimming area. Situated along the banks of the beautiful West River, this state park provides a picturesque setting for swimming and relaxation.


The highlight of Jamaica State Park is undoubtedly the swimming area along the West River. The water is refreshing and clear, inviting visitors to take a dip and escape the summer heat. The river flows gently, creating a peaceful atmosphere that makes it perfect for both leisurely swims and refreshing splashes.


Jamaica State Park offers ample space for swimming and sunbathing, with sandy shores and grassy areas for lounging and picnicking. The beach area is equipped with picnic tables, grills, and restroom facilities, making it a convenient and family-friendly destination.


Additionally, the park has designated lifeguard areas during certain hours of the day, ensuring a safe swimming experience for visitors of all ages. Lifeguards provide additional peace of mind, allowing everyone to fully enjoy their time in the water.


Aside from swimming, Jamaica State Park offers various other activities for outdoor enthusiasts. The park features several hiking trails that wind through the surrounding forests, offering opportunities for exploration and stunning views of the river and Vermont’s natural landscapes.


Fishing enthusiasts will also find pleasure in the West River, which is known for its excellent trout fishing. Cast your line and try your luck at catching some of Vermont’s prized fish species.


Jamaica State Park is a popular destination for families, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts. The tranquil ambiance and beautiful surroundings make it an ideal place to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and reconnect with nature.


Whether you’re seeking a refreshing swim, a peaceful picnic, or an adventurous hike, Jamaica State Park offers a diverse range of activities that cater to every interest. So pack your swimsuit, bring your hiking boots, and get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Vermont at Jamaica State Park.



Vermont is a state blessed with natural beauty, and its swimming holes offer a unique opportunity to embrace the tranquil allure of its landscapes. From cascading waterfalls to serene lakes, Vermont’s swimming holes provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat and a chance to immerse oneself in the pristine wilderness.


Whether you prefer the excitement of cliff jumps, the thrill of natural water slides, or the serenity of secluded swimming areas, Vermont offers a wide array of options to suit your preferences. From the hidden gems of Bristol Falls and Dorset Quarry to the well-known spots of Silver Lake State Park and Lake Willoughby, each swimming hole has its own distinct charm and features.


Exploring these swimming holes not only allows you to cool off in the refreshing waters but also offers a chance to connect with nature and appreciate Vermont’s natural wonders. From the spectacular views of Quechee Gorge to the peaceful ambiance of Cavendish Gulf, these swimming holes provide a deep sense of relaxation and rejuvenation.


It’s important to prioritize safety when visiting these swimming holes. Always check for any posted signs or advisories, assess water conditions, and be aware of potential hazards such as slippery rocks. Additionally, be respectful of the natural environment by leaving no trace and keeping the areas clean.


Whether you’re a Vermont local or a visitor exploring the state, make sure to add these swimming holes to your bucket list. Pack your swimsuit, sunscreen, and a spirit of adventure, as you embark on a journey to discover the best swimming holes that Vermont has to offer.


So, dive into the refreshing waters of Bristol Falls, Warren Falls, Dorset Quarry, and so many more. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and experience the serenity and joy that can only be found in Vermont’s stunning swimming holes.