Top Swimming Holes in New England



Through 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 England.

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 England 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 England.





ENDERS FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
CT 7 out of 10 High series of five waterfalls in northern Connecticut, several of which have good swimming holes below them; a short hike is required to reach the swimming holes; since there really aren't that many good natural swimming holes in Connecticut, this is probably the best you will find.

Enders Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Enders Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

BELLEVUE FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
MA 7 out of 10 High you will find one good, large pool below the waterfall here; access is easy and short; this is a privately-owned property that the landowner is nice enough to allow the public to enjoy (respect this place and leave no trace, or we risk losing access permanently)

Bellevue Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Bellevue Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

FRENCHMEN'S HOLE
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 9 out of 10 High / Very High this is a classic swimming hole and cliff jumping hotspot near the Sunday River ski resort; partially viewable from the road; do not swim here if the river is running high as it is very dangerous; additional swimming holes above and below the main falls

Gulf Hagas (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Frenchmen's Hole

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

GULF HAGAS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 9 out of 10 High / Very High there are many great swimming holes along the "Grand Canyon of Maine", the most popular of which is at the base of Screw Auger Falls; moderately difficult and long hike to visit all swimming holes; road access fee is steep for out-of-state visitors (bring cash)

Gulf Hagas (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Gulf Hagas

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

HUSTON BROOK FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 8 out of 10 Moderate this is a huge but cold swimming hole near the Sugarloaf Ski Resort

Huston Brook Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Huston Brook Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Huston Brook Falls

LEDGE FALLS (T4 R10)
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 7 out of 10 Moderate this is a popular attraction that is adjacent to the Baxter State Park park road; located on the west side of the park and is clearly visible along the main park road; bring river tubes to enjoy the natural waterslides here

Ledge Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Ledge Falls (T4 R10)

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Ledge Falls (T4 R10)

RATTLESNAKE POOL
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 7 out of 10 Moderate the trail to this beautiful spot passes through private property, but access is currently allowed to the general public; this is a stunning pool, but it is small & very cold (we would only swim if the outdoor temperature is greater than 80 degrees); an easy, nearly flat hike is required to get here, but make sure you bring good directions; you'll love the tropical-ish feeling this place has, but be ready for some seriously chilly water

Rattlesnake Flume And Pool (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Rattlesnake Pool

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

SMALLS FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 9 out of 10 High a fun and crowded set of waterfalls and pools near Rangeley Lake; easy access off ME 26

Smalls Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Smalls Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

STEP FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
ME 7 out of 10 Moderate / High tons of small pools for wading; several small natural waterslides; a child's dream; no pool is deep enough for actual swimming though; don't miss nearby Screw Auguer Falls (Grafton) and perhaps also a day hike to Table Rock or the Baldplates

Step Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Step Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

DIANA'S BATHS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 7 out of 10 Extremely High an extremely popular series of wading pools and small waterfalls near North Conway; $3 parking fee; 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 England) 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).

FULL DESCRIPTION
Emerald Pool

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

FRANCONIA FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate 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)

Franconia Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) 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 200-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 some of the pools are extremely slippery; some picnic tables are found here, but they get scooped up fast

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

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

LOWER AMMONOOSUC FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 7 out of 10 Moderate / High huge pool below small set of cascades; generally considered much safer than nearby Upper Ammonoosuc Falls; accessed via a short, easy hike; 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 England) 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 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 really swim at either of those)

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

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

POLLARDS MILLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate private property with allowed access; close to the road; please be respectful of this place so that the owner does not close it off to the public

FULL DESCRIPTION
Pollards Mills

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

SCULPTURED ROCKS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 8 out of 10 Moderate / High several potholes and pools for wading and swimming

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

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

SWIFTWATER FALLS (BATH)
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
NH 10 out of 10 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

Swiftwater Falls (Bath) (Best Swimming Holes in New England) 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 requires a hike of 16-miles round trip, so it's best visited as part of a backpacking trip (the AMC has tentsites if you do want to backpack); visit only on 80-degree plus days as pools are typically quite frigid; probably the finest backpacking swimming hole destination in New England

Thirteen Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) 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 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; has a few excellent pools for swimming immediately downstream of the falls

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

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

BARLETT FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 10 out of 10 Very High / Extremely High features a huge pool; it's a bit slippery to get there, but you can get behind this waterfall; one of the biggest and best swimming holes in New England

Bartlett Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Bartlett Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

BINGHAM FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 7 out of 10 Moderate / High absolutely gorgeous waterfall with a small pool; the water color is exquisite; a short but steep hike is required; do not swim here unless the water levels are low

Bingham Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Bingham Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

BOLTON POTHOLES
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 10 out of 10 Very High this set of fun pool is a bit of a party-zone and some will take offense to that; there is good but semi-dangerous cliff-jumping here; be wary of bringing your children here on summer weekends as the crowd will be full of teenagers and college kids (some of which will likely be drinking); take note that parking is now extremely limited here, so you may need to park 0.5 mile away (or more) in order to enjoy this fun place

Bolton Potholes (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Bolton Potholes

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

BUTTERMILK FALLS (LUDLOW)
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 9 out of 10 High / Very High set of three waterfalls, two of which have excellent swimming opportunities; easy access; popular with families since kids absolutely cherish this place

Buttermilk Falls (Ludlow) (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Buttermilk Falls (Ludlow)

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

FALLS OF LANA
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 6 out of 10 Moderate unique falls with a small pool below them; hike required

Falls of Lana (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Falls of Lana

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

JAY BRANCH GORGE
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 8 out of 10 Moderate also called Four Corners, this swimming hole has good cliff jumping and is just off the side of the road

Jay Branch Gorge (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Jay Branch Gorge

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

OLD CITY FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 7 out of 10 Moderate locally popular set of two swimming pools below an impressive segmented waterfall; short hike required

Old City Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Old City Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

PIKES FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 8 out of 10 Moderate / High nice alternative to nearby Hamilton Falls, which is typically dangerous and overcrowded; easy access via short hike

Pikes Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Pikes Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

TERRILL GORGE
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 7 out of 10 Low / Moderate less crowded than many other VT swimming holes since it's a bit tough to find; highlights include a reall neat gorge; can be cold as the swimming hole doesn't seem to get much sun

Terrill Gorge (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Terrill Gorge

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

TWENTY FOOT HOLE
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 8 out of 10 Moderate / High set of three shallow swimming holes; always check depth first before doing any jumping here, especially since Hurricane Irene significantly reduced the depth found here (cliff jumping was once very popular here, but it is dangerous here now)

Twenty Foot Hole (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Twenty Foot Hole

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
Twenty Foot Hole

WARREN FALLS
STATE FUN-FACTOR POPULARITY NOTES & HIGHLIGHTS
VT 10 out of 10 High one of the premier swimming holes of VT. Outstandingly fun, but this place is also very popular; we've heard that water quality can be iffy from time to time, but we've never had a problem; there is now a well marked parking area off VT 100 on the west side of the road

Warren Falls (Best Swimming Holes in New England) FULL DESCRIPTION
Warren Falls

DIRECTIONS / TRAIL INFO
New England Waterfalls guidebook

TIPS FOR VISITING NEW ENGLAND'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.
  • QUARRIES - There are several old quarries in New England that are now popular and extremely fun swimming holes. The most famous of these swimming holes is the privately-owned Dorset Quarries in Dorset, Vermont (visitors are welcome here currently, but that could change in the future).
  • 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 Hampshire = 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 England. 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!