BENSON'S HOLES


Manchester, Vermont



RATING: 1.5 / 5.0 stars (Fair) Benson's Holes, Vermont (see below for larger image and additional photographs)
STATE: Vermont
COUNTY: Bennington
TOWN: Manchester
PARK: None
PRIVATE PROPERTY: Unknown (25% chance this is on private property, but the public appears welcome as of 2017)
TYPE: Cascades and a pool
HEIGHT: Tallest cascade is 6 feet
WATER SOURCE: Bourne Brook
WATERSHED SIZE: Medium
TRAIL LENGTH: Less than 0.1 mile to both the upper cascades and lower pool
TRAIL DIFFICULTY: Moderate (some light scrambling is involved)
HIKING TIME: 3 minutes one-way to lower pool
ALTITUDE GAIN: -15 feet to lower pool
WHEN TO VISIT: April to October
SWIMMING: Upper cascades: Fair
Lower pool: Great
DELORME ATLAS: 2007: Page 25, H-10&11 (the falls are not marked on the VT atlas)
2015: Page 71, B-4 (the falls are not marked on the NH/VT atlas)
HANDICAP ACCESS: No
DOGS ALLOWED: Yes
COST TO VISIT: Free (as of 2016)
LENS TO BRING: Wide-angle (14-35mm), standard (35-70mm), and/or short-telephoto (70-105mm)
ALTERNATE NAMES: Bourne Brook Falls, Benson's Hole Cascades
GPS-TRAILHEAD: 43.164795, -73.038526
GPS-WATERFALL: Upper cascades: 43.164727, -73.038993
Lower pool: 43.165051, -73.039623
COMPASS: Upper cascades: 240° excluding declination (the falls face west)
Lower pool: 240° excluding declination (the falls face west)
INCLUDED IN BOOK?: Yes, the falls are included within the appendix of the guidebook
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THE FALLS

Don't expect much for waterfalls or cascades here; instead, come here to see a few small cascades and enjoy a great swimming hole. You will find the tallest cascade, about 6-feet tall, nearest the trailhead. Although a pool used to exist here, sediment has increased and massive storms have dumped tons of rock, and now there isn't much swimming left to be had. The lower pool is pretty (I'd rate it a 6/10 for aesthetics) and has a 1-foot cascade. On previous visits, I was the only person around. I doubt this swimming hole is typically this quiet, but evidence suggests it is less visited than many of Vermont's classic dipping spots.

Take note that I used to believe that these falls were on Bromley Brook. It turns out that they are instead located on Bourne Brook. There may or may not be a separate set of falls and/or swimming hole on nearby Bromley Brook.

TRAIL INFORMATION

Without crossing the bridge, head downstream on the obvious path with the brook on your left. Over the course of the next 250 feet you will find a set of cascades and then a modest-sized swimming hole. The main cascades are found closest to the parking area. The best swimming to be found downstream, situated below a tiny one foot cascade. This pool is only a few feet before where the brook passes under US-7. To access either the upper falls or the lower pool, you will have to scramble down a brief and somewhat rough and steep path.

DIRECTIONS

From US-7 in Manchester, take exit 4. Follow the combined highway VT 11 north and VT 30 south (heading more east than any other direction) for 0.4 mile and take two consecutive right turns onto East Manchester Rd. Follow East Manchester Rd for 1.1 miles and take a left onto Glen Rd. Park immediately on the right before crossing a bridge over the Bourne Brook.

UPDATES SINCE THE 2ND EDITION

NONE NOTED.

If you know of any updates to this waterfall, or notice any errors either on this website and/or within the New England Waterfalls guidebook, please send me an email at gparsons66@hotmail.com or leave a Facebook comment at the bottom of this page. Updates to all of the waterfalls in the latest edition of the guidebook can always be found here: book updates

OPTIONAL HIKES

None noted.

PHOTOGRAPHS

Benson's Holes, Vermont
the lower pool at Benson's Holes, Vermont

Benson's Holes, Vermont
the lower pool at Benson's Holes, Vermont

Benson's Holes, Vermont
the lower pool at Benson's Holes, Vermont

Benson's Holes, Vermont
the upper cascades at Benson's Holes, Vermont

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TIPS FOR VISITING WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES

Here are some tips to help ensure that your trip to New England's waterfalls and swimming holes will be a safe and enjoyable one:
  • DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS - When you visit waterfalls, you should consider bringing all of the following: (a) bug spray; (b) food/snacks; (c) water/sports drinks; (d) camera/smart-phone; (e) guidebook/trail map; (f) daypack/backpack; and (g) hiking shoes, hiking boots or watershoes. A full day hiking packing list can be found here.
  • CONSIDER BUYING WATER SHOES - You won't see too many people using them, but watershoes are fantastic pieces of equipment that can make your trip to waterfalls and swimming holes safer and more enjoyable. Merrill and Keen make some fantastic watershoes (here are some great ones from Merrill: womens / mens).
  • LEAVE NO TRACE - When you visit waterfalls and swimming holes, you'll often see some trash and sometimes you'll even find 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 spot more beautiful for the next person. Bring a trash bag and be a hero!
  • PRIVATE PROPERTY - Many waterfalls and swimming holes are located on private property and so 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 waterfall to visit or a different place to swim.
  • BRING A DSLR CAMERA AND TRIPOD WITH YOU - If you want to take high-quality photographs of waterfalls, your smart-phone just won't cut it. Get a DSLR camera, a tripod, and learn to master the art of waterfall photography.
  • SCOUT FIRST, SWIM SECOND - Never enter a swimming hole without first scouting it, even if you see somebody else swimming in it. Stop and access the risks based upon the depth of water, the power of the current, evidence of slippery rocks, and other safety factors.
  • CLIFF JUMPING - Cliff jumping is dangerous. Like, seriously dangerous. Understand the risks before you partake in this activity. Many have died from doing this in New England. Here is a list of all known deaths at waterfalls and swimming holes in New England.
  • PLEASE DON'T BUILD ROCK CAIRNS - Please do not build new rock cairns at waterfalls or swimming holes. Cairns are a strong reminder of human presence, and don't we all want to see waterfalls in their natural state and glory? Photographers get particularly annoyed at seeing cairns, so please resist the urge to build them.
  • DON'T RELY ON YOUR GPS TO GET YOU TO THE TRAILHEAD - Waterfalls don't have addresses, so relying on your GPS to get you to a trailhead is great way to get yourself lost. You need a guidebook, a road atlas, and/or a hiking map to visit the vast majority of waterfalls in New England. Also keep in mind that waterfalls are often located in wild areas, where smart-phone map apps and car GPS units may not work at all.
  • WATERFALLS IN SPRING - The best time to visit waterfalls is generally in the spring during the annual snowmelt (which is April to June). However, most waterfalls will often look great for several days after a significant rain storm.
  • 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 online through 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.
  • DON'T SCRAMBLE UP WATERFALLS - So many people been seriously injured and killed in the waterfalls of New England. Many of these folks got too close to a waterfall and slipped and fell. Don't become a statistic: stay far back from the edge.
  • WEAR TRACTION IF YOU VISIT WATERFALLS IN WINTER - Visiting waterfalls in winter can be rewarding, but there is often a higher element of danger. You may need crampons, snowshoes, and/or some other form of traction (like Microspikes) in order to safely hike to waterfalls in winter.
  • SUPPORT NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS THAT CONSERVE WATERFALLS & SWIMMING HOLES - There are some organizations in New England that work diligently to conserve and maintain waterfalls and swimming holes. Please consider supporting these organizations, either with their trail maintenance projects or with monetary donations. Here are three excellent organizations engaged in this extremely important mission: the Trustees of Reservations, the Vermont River Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy.

HELPFUL LINKS

Here are some helpful links to help you explore and enjoy more waterfalls and hikes throughout New England:
  • Waterfalls of Connecticut = link
  • Waterfalls of Maine = link
  • Waterfalls of Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls of New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls of Rhode Island = link
  • Waterfalls of Vermont = link
  • Best Waterfalls in New England = link
  • Best Swimming Holes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Top 25 Family-Friendly Day Hikes in New England = link
  • Waterfalls Near Boston, Massachusetts = link
  • Waterfalls Near Lincoln, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near North Conway, New Hampshire = link
  • Waterfalls Near Stowe, Vermont = link
  • Waterfall Photography Tips = link

OTHER WATERFALL GUIDEBOOKS

In addition to the New England Waterfalls guidebook, there are several other guidebooks that can help you find waterfalls and swimming holes:
  • Vermont Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Hiking Waterfalls in New England: A Guide to the Region's Best Waterfall Hikes (1st Edition: 2015) = link
  • Waterfalls of the White Mountains: 30 Hikes to 100 Waterfalls (2nd Edition: 1999) = link
  • Connecticut Waterfalls (1st Edition: 2014) = link
  • Rodrick's Guide to Vermont Waterfalls, Cascades & Gorges (1st Edition: 2014) = link
       

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  • Request to join the "Northeastern Waterfalls" community > link
  • Request to join the "Vermont Waterfalls" community > link
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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!