10 Best Swimming Holes in Vermont to Cool Off

Posted by
Sarah Lamagna
March 08, 2023
Updated April 10, 2023

swimming holes in vermont

Thanks to Vermont’s plentiful rivers and rolling mountains, the state has a surprisingly high number of waterfalls and swimming holes to enjoy.

In fact, Vermont has over 800 lakes despite being America’s fourth most-forested state. So, it should come as no surprise that people enjoy Vermont for its nature. It’s a way of life there. And while hiking up a grueling peak might sound fun to some, others would rather spend their time lounging by a pool. There’s also a select group of people who like to do a bit of both, and that’s who this list is for.

As with any adventure, make sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles, especially around natural watering holes. This way, these epic swimming spots will last for lifetimes. Whether underneath an iconic covered bridge or under cascading waterfalls, these are the best swimming holes in Vermont.

1. Hamilton Falls

vermont swimming holes - hamilton falls
Photo: Shutterstock

Located within Jamaica State Park, the trail to Hamilton Falls takes a bit more effort than other swimming holes on this list. The three-mile hike to the tallest falls in Vermont is a gradual ascent along Cobb Brook that’s beautiful in the summer. Swimming is allowed at the base of the falls, but don’t attempt to climb the sides of the falls or swim in the pothole at the top of the falls. There have been several deaths (at least a dozen) due to people not heeding this advice.

If you don’t feel like making the trek up to the falls, you can park at the end of Cobb Brook within the park and swim in Salmon Hole. It’s a great spot to set up a picnic and relax with the family. The hole is wide and the river is slow-moving in this area, making it good for those with kids.

2. West Dummerston Covered Bridge

vermont swimming holes - West Dummerston Covered Bridge
Photo: Shutterstock

Nothing is quite as iconic as a covered bridge in Vermont. In fact, there are more than 100 covered bridges within the state, making it number one in most covered bridges per square mile (that’s a real thing, we promise). But what about swimming underneath a covered bridge?

The West Dummerston Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge within the state (not including the Cornish-Windsor Bridge which crosses the border into New Hampshire). It has a quaint, gravel beach on the shores of the West River where the current is calm and easily maneuvered by most people who can swim.

Related Read: 10 Best Hikes in the Berkshire Mountains to Get Away From it All

3. Trout River Falls

vermont swimming holes - three holes
Photo: Mike Mahaffie

The swimming holes at Trout River Falls (also known as Three Holes) are a popular spot for families since the pools are shallower than many on this list. The pools (yes, there are three of them) still reach ten feet at their deepest, but the wide, shallow banks are perfect for little kids to explore.

Children will also love the fish that give the river its name. Trout are often found within each of the swimming holes and don’t scare as easily as you might think. They might even try to nibble at your feet!

4. Bingham Falls

vermont swimming holes - Bingham Falls
Photo: Shutterstock

Located within Smugglers’ Notch State Park, the trail to Bingham Falls is short and sweet. The falls are some of the most stunning in the entire state, so don’t expect to be the only ones with this grand idea. The trail itself is quite flat and you’ll need to hike a third of a mile to reach the massive 25-foot cascade – you’ll be able to hear the falls before you see them. They flow along a tight gorge which acts as an amplifier for the raging waters going over the cliffs.

There’s a swimming hole at the base of the falls. Depending on the sun that day, the water might have a strong emerald-teal hue to it enticing more visitors than usual. The waterfalls themselves are worth the short hike but the swimming is what really takes the cake. Keep to the left of the falls since there can be a strong current on the right.

Related Read: 10 Best Hikes in Stowe, Vermont to Experience Outstanding Views

5. Dorset Quarry

vermont swimming holes - Dorset Quarry
Photo: Chris Warren

When most people think of swimming holes, they think of something along a river or a hike up to an alpine lake. They likely don’t think about an abandoned quarry. But Dorset Quarry is the most unique swimming hole on the list.

Technically, it’s the oldest marble quarry in the United States (and even supplied the marble that built the New York Public Library). This spot is not the most family-friendly since there are several high cliffs and the water is deep. Make sure before you visit that everyone knows how to swim effortlessly or is equipped to stay afloat.

6. East Middlebury Gorge


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Although the swimming hole along the Middlebury River is easy to find, there aren’t a lot of people who use this as their go-to swimming spot. Just east of town, East Middlebury Gorge goes under Route 125 (the swimming hole is marked by the bridge) and creates an area that is calm enough to wade through.

There is a shallower spot perfect for those who aren’t comfortable swimming or who simply can’t swim yet. Or, you can head upstream 50 or so feet to lounge around the boulders that flank the river and away from anyone else that might be there.

Related Read: 5 Best Backpacking Trips in Maine for a Wild Adventure

7. Bolton Potholes

vermont swimming holes - Bolton Potholes
Photo: Rob Rudeski

Swimming in the Bolton Potholes is likely the best within the state. Locals call them by several names including The Potholes (because everyone knows what they mean) or even Devil’s Potholes. Whatever you call it, you’ll spend the entire day warming in the sun between chilly dives into the different pools. The large, flat boulders that surround the river are perfect for those wanting to spread out towels for picnics or to rest in the sunshine.

Be careful where you park though. You used to be able to park alongside the access road but due to the popularity of The Potholes, this is now prohibited. There is a small parking area when you first pull onto Bolton Valley Access Road off Route 2. If there is no parking there, park on Route 2 and hike up the short trail.

8. Warren Falls


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Probably the most popular of all swimming holes within the state, Warren Falls has everything you need. There are several swimming holes along the Mad River, but the ones around Warren Falls take the cake. Towering granite walls flank the swimming hole at the base of the falls. The granite is what gives the clear water a teal color, making it seem like you’re swimming in emeralds.

Due to its popularity, you likely won’t be the only person wanting to take a dip here. The nice thing about the area is how much space there is and how large and plentiful the swimming holes are. There’s a parking area on the west side of Route 100 with plenty of parking for dozens of cars. A short trail along the river brings you up to the falls.

Related Read: 11 Relaxing Swimming Holes in New Hampshire

9. Jay Branch Gorge

Another premier swimming hole is Jay Branch Gorge, also known as Four Corners Falls. The granite walls that border the swimming hole at the base of the falls are very tempting for cliff jumping – but authorities do not recommend this.

The pool is deep, but several granite cliffs and boulders jut out into the water making jumping a little risky. Technically, this swimming hole is on private property, but public access is allowed. Be sure to clean up after yourself and be kind to others to ensure that this private land is open to the public for years to come.

Related Read: This Charming Country Getaway Features the Best of Vermont

10. Falls of Lana

Described as a “horsetail” type of falls, the Falls of Lana are breathtaking. Locals will tell you that many proposals have been made here, and for good reason. The falls drop dramatically down through a narrow gorge into a gorgeous swimming hole.

Despite the lack of shade, the water temperature (like most in Vermont) is frigid no matter the time of year. You can make a whole day out of it by hiking the trail up to a beautiful overlook before stopping back at the falls for a quick dip.

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