Sensational Vermont Swimming Holes
There is no doubt that Vermont is full of amazing things to do all year round. During the summer months, you’re likely to find the locals cooling off at any number of Vermont Swimming Holes. These hidden gems are made up of natural pools and waterfalls and are the perfect spot to take a dip on a hot day. Each one is unique, with slabs of rocks for sunbathing, rope swings, or cliff jumping spots.
Located alongside Lincoln Road, Bristol Falls (A.K.A. Bartlett Falls) starts with a waterfall that leads into a small canyon of slow-moving water. The focal point here is the falls. However, there are plenty of other spots for swimming and exploring. If you want to get up close to the waterfall, swim over to the far side, walk along the rock edge and head back towards the waterfall. Once there, you can actually stand underneath it.
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A couple of hundred feet down from the falls, just past the cliffs, the water forms a shallow, clear pool. Although the river is always changing, it seems as though people have used enough rocks to create a wall and build up several small pools. We were even able to wedge our chairs right into the water. If you don’t want to be in the water, the edges are filled with plenty of large rocks and boulders, which make great places to sit.
On the far side of the river, there is a steep incline that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. It is the perfect spot for picnicking or spreading out your towel. I’ve even seen people string up a hammock for a post-swim nap.
Parking: You can park on either side of the road. Make sure your tires are on the gravel, though, and not on the pavement or risk getting a ticket.
Fosters Swimming Hole
One of the lesser-known swimming Holes in Vermont is Fosters. It can be found tucked right off of Notchbrook Road in Stowe. From the street, there are approximately fifteen stone steps that make up a short walk down to the river. There are several large flat rocks at the top under the trees where people leave their stuff. The deepest part of the river will be right in front of you. People jump from there or from the far side, which requires a short hike through the woods.
If you just want to wade in, and put your chairs down, head upstream to your right. Here the water is anywhere from approximately 6 inches to 4 feet deep, depending on the water flow. It is usually not too crowded, and there are several places to camp out in the water. You can even wedge yourself between the rocks for a natural jacuzzi.
Parking: There is no parking lot. Simply pull over and park on the left side of Notchbrook Road facing downhill.
As one of the closest swimming holes to Burlington, you may find Bolton Potholes extremely popular and crowded on warm summer days. Located along the Joiner Brook River, the potholes are made up of a series of five waterfalls that create several separate pools of water. There are sunny spots for sunbathing, deep pools for jumping, and rocky beaches.
It is worth the climb up the rocks to the Eagle’s Eye for the magnificent mountain views. This spot can also be accessed from the road. Instead of taking the first trail in, head north and follow the path.
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Parking: There is no parking allowed along the road. The very small parking lot at the bottom of Bolton Valley Access Road is now closed. Try the road infront of the Smilie school parking lot and follow the trail up to the potholes.
Winooski Footbridge (Long Trail)
Not a traditional Vermont swimming hole, the Winooski Footbridge is more like a swimming spot that just happens to have a bridge to jump off of if you are not afraid of heights. Park your chair on the small sandy beach and watch the brave few who are willing to take the plunge.
There is a fairly steep drop-off right away, making it a great spot for a swim. You could also float around on a tube here or on an inflatable raft.
Parking: Just off Route 2, there is a designated parking lot. Pack light and bring bug spray. You’ll have to walk approximately a quarter of a mile through a dense forest along a trail to get to this swimming hole.
What to pack for a day at a Vermont Swimming Hole
You don’t really need much more than a towel and some sunscreen. However, you might want to bring a few things to make the day more enjoyable.
- Life jacket and Kids LIfe Jacket
- Water shoes or super comfortable Flip Flops
- Soft backpack cooler
- Lightweight, low beach chair
- Waterproof phone case
Please use caution and swim at your own risk – Unlike pools and beaches, swimming holes do not have lifeguards on duty. Avoid turbulent water and look before you leap. Check the depth of the swimming hole and look for rocks that lie beneath before you jump. Heavy rain can change the river floor at a moment’s notice.
See more Vermont Swimming Holes here.