TOP SWIMMING HOLES IN NEW HAMPSHIRE



Through my experiences in writing the guidebook New England Waterfalls: A Guide to More Than 400 Cascades & Waterfalls, I created a list that showcases the premier swimming holes in New Hampshire.

Before you read the list below, be aware that swimming holes can be extremely dangerous and that there have been dozens of fatalities in New Hampshire from swimming in these holes over the last 50 years. Cliff-jumping at these swimming holes is even more dangerous. Before you visit any of these places, make sure that you understand the risks. Be especially careful under moderate or high-water conditions. The point here is simple: always use common sense before stepping, sliding, or jumping into any swimming hole. From a legal perspective, I cannot and will not be held responsible for your safety.

If you do choose to visit any of these places, please Leave No Trace! Not only do you personally need to make sure to remove all your own trash, but I ask that you try to pick up any trash left by any others. There have been dozens of swimming holes closed off to the general public over the last 20 years due to disrespectful visitors. If too many more stories like this are heard, directions to all swimming holes will be removed from this website. That would truly be a shame, as these swimming holes are some of the most wonderful places in all of New Hampshire.

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DIANA'S BATHS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Extremely High an extremely popular series of family-friendly wading pools and small waterfalls near North Conway; $3 parking fee (bring cash); this is a very easy 1.2 mile round-trip hike through some very attractive woods; avoid on nice-weather summer weekends as crowds can be atrocious; make sure to explore all levels of falls and pools as there are some cool nooks and crannies to be found, including a pothole near the top that is over your head

Dianas Baths (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Diana's Baths

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

EMERALD POOL
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 10 out of 10 Moderate / High this is a nice pool at the base of North & South Baldface mountains; popular with summer camping groups, so it can be very busy here, even during mid-week; offers fun and relatively safe cliff-jumping opportunities (all cliff-jumping is dangerous, but this is about as safe is it gets anywhere); 0.7 mile hike each-way

FULL DESCRIPTION
Emerald Pool

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

FALLS ON THE SMARTS BROOK TRAIL
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate enjoy a leisurely walk near Waterville Valley to one of the largest and clearest pools in the White Mountains; trailhead for the Smarts Brook Trail is on NH 49

Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Falls on the Smarts Brook Trail

FRANCONIA FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate / High features several swimming holes, natural waterslides, and sunny slabs; you really have to be careful here - do not visit if river water level is running moderate or high!; a 6.4 mile, nearly flat, round-trip hike from the Lincoln Woods trailhead off NH 112 (the Kancamagus Highway); trailhead is the Lincoln Woods trailhead off NH 112

Franconia Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Franconia Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

JACKSON FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 7 out of 10 Moderate / High over 175-feet of slides, pools, and waterfalls; two can fit behind one of the waterfalls, where a natural rock seat will be found! very popular with families and small children, although most of the pools are extremely slippery; some picnic tables are found here, but they get taken up real fast on nice days

Jackson Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Jackson Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

LOWER AMMONOOSUC FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate / High expect to find a huge pool below small set of cascades here; this pool is generally much safer than nearby Upper Ammonoosuc Falls; accessed via a short, easy walk from the trailhead off US 302; in low water, there is a neat little cave behind one of the cascades that you can duck into

Lower Ammonoosuc Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Lower Ammonoosuc Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

LOWER FALLS (ALBANY)
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 9 out of 10 Extremely High this is probably the most popular swimming hole in New England, and for good reason; hundreds will visit this place off the Kancamagus Highway (NH 112 west of Conway) on summer weekends; $3 parking fee (bring cash); while you are in the area, you should also visit nearby Sabbaday Falls and Rocky Gorge (although you can't swim at either of those)

Lower Falls (Albany) (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Lower Falls (Albany)

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

MIDDLE AMMONOOSUC FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 6 out of 10 Moderate there are several inviting pools a few feet downstream of Middle Ammonoosuc Falls, which is the least visited of the various noteworthy falls along the Ammonoosuc River; the trailhead and falls can be tricky to find

Middle Ammonoosuc Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Middle Ammonoosuc Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Middle Ammonoosuc Falls

POLLARDS MILLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate a wonderful landowner has allowed generations of swimmers here; since this is private property, please give this place your utmost respect so that the owner continues to keep it open to the general public

FULL DESCRIPTION
Pollards Mills

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

RATTLE RIVER FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 6 out of 10 Moderate enjoy a jump and/or a dip into this odd-shaped pothole near the Rattle River Shelter on the Appalachian Trail; take Appalachian Trail south from US 2 near Gorham

Rattle River Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Rattle River Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Rattle River Falls

SCULPTURED ROCKS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 7 out of 10 Moderate / High offers several potholes and pools for wading and swimming; near Newfound Lake in central-western New Hampshire

Sculptured Rocks (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Sculptured Rocks

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

STINSON BROOK FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate lovely swimming holes with several sets of small falls near the center of the small town of Rumney; also known as 'The Swimmin' Hole'

Stinson Brook Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Stinson Brook Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Stinson Brook Falls

SWIFTWATER FALLS (BATH)
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 10 out of 10 High / Very High you'll undoubtedly enjoy this huge & relatively warm pool below a long wooden covered bridge; two waterfalls found on site; this is beautiful spot where you could easily spend an entire day; easy access from a large parking lot; 30 minutes west of Lincoln/Woodstock and the Kancamagus Highway; extremely family-friendly

Swiftwater Falls (Bath) (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Swiftwater Falls (Bath)

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

THIRTEEN FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 9 out of 10 Low / Medium requires a hike of 16-miles round trip, so it's best visited as part of a backpacking trip (the Appalachian Mountain Club manages tentsites here if you do want to backpack); I recommend visiting only on 80-degree plus days as these pools are normally quite frigid; I challenge you to find a finer set of remote swimming holes anywhere in New England

Thirteen Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Thirteen Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

UPPER AMMONOOSUC FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 10 out of 10 High / Very High this is notoriously dangerous swimming hole near the Cog Railway that's only safe under low water conditions; cliff-jumping is extremely popular here, but do NOT attempt in high water as many people have died here over the years; offers a few excellent (and safer) pools for swimming immediately downstream of the falls; I cannot stress enough how dangerous this place is, so if you see strong currents, avoid swimming here at all costs

Upper Ammonoosuc Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire) FULL DESCRIPTION
Upper Ammonoosuc Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

TIPS FOR VISITING NEW HAMPSHIRE'S SWIMMING HOLES
  • BEWARE OF WHITEWATER - if a swimming hole is full of whitewater, you may not be able to determine how deep it is or how strong the current is. Remember, many people have died in the whitewater portions of swimming holes.
  • SCOUT FIRST, JUMP SECOND - Never jump into a swimming hole without first scouting it. Even if you see somebody else jumping, you should make sure that you know how deep the water is and where you shouldn't jump.
  • ELEVATION & WATER TEMPERATURE - the higher the elevation, the chillier the swimming hole is likely going to be. For example, the swimming holes fed by water drainage from the slopes of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire are brutually cold, even when the outside temperature is in the 80s or 90s.
  • WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment for enjoying swimming holes. Merrill makes some fantastic watershoes (here's one example: womens / mens).
  • CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity.
  • LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit swimming holes, you'll see some trash and clothing left behind by others. It's really, really sad, and it irks the heck out of us. Won't you consider carrying out some of trash and clothing left by others when you leave? That would leave the place more beautiful for the next person.
  • HELP KEEP THE ULTRA-SECRET SWIMMING HOLES A SECRET (FOREVER) - If you find some ultra-secret swimming holes, please do your best to keep them a secret. Do not post their locations online or wildly share directions or photos with others. All of the swimming holes that are included in the guidebook and on this website are the well-known swimming spots. There are many more holes that are much further off the beaten path, but they deserve a chance to stay wild and pristine.
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many swimming holes are located on private property and we are truly fortunate that many landowners allow us to enjoy them. If you want to ensure that they stay open to the public, please do your best to leave no trace. If you see a sign that says 'Private Property', turn around and find another place to swim.
  • SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS THAT PRESERVE SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations that work diligently to conserve and maintain swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with trail maintenance projects or monetary donations. Here are two excellent organizations engaged in such important work: the Vermont River Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy.
  • SWIMMINGHOLES.ORG - You can find more swimming holes on www.swimmingholes.org, but always, always, always remember to treat these places with respect (make sure you leave no trash, clothes or towels behind when you leave).
OTHER TRAVEL LISTS BY NEWENGLANDWATERFALLS.COM

Here are more travel lists to help you enjoy more of the awesome scenery of New England:
  • Swimming Holes in New England = link
  • Swimming Holes in the White Mountains = link
  • Natural Waterslides in New England = link
  • Top Waterfalls in New England = link
  • Top 10 Hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire = link
  • Top 25 Hikes in New Hampshire = link
  • Top 25 Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Easy Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Loop Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Family-Friendly Hikes in New England = link
  • Top Rock Scrambles in New England = link
  • Hiking New Hampshire's 4000-Footers = link
  • Hiking New Hampshire's 52 Peaks With A View List = link
  • Hiking the North Shore of Massachusetts / North of Boston = link
GUIDEBOOKS TO GET YOU TO SWIMMING HOLES

The following published guidebooks are trusted resources to help you find many of the Best Swimming Holes in New Hampshire. Click on any of the books to read reviews and/or to purchase them on Amazon.com.





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Waterfalls, swimming holes, and hiking can be extremely dangerous. Hundreds of people have been injured or killed in the waterfalls and swimming holes of New England over the years. Never swim in strong water currents. Don't jump into a swimming hole without scouting it first. Do not climb up or along the side of waterfalls. Be weary of slippery rocks. Never swim in pools above waterfalls. Use of this website and all of its information is at your own risk! Newenglandwaterfalls.com and the authors of the New England Waterfalls guidebook will not be held liable for your actions. Be safe out there - and always use common sense!