Sunday, August 18, 2013

Waterfalls and Swimming Holes - Vermont Adventures

Bingham Falls Trail, Smugglers Notch

I was fortunate to have my friend Mary invite a group of teacher friends to visit her at their Vermont condo near Stowe.  This is a BEAUTIFUL area, and we enjoyed three days of nature, hiking, and fellowship.   One of the highlights of our stay was visiting the many waterfalls and swimming holes in the area.

Here are three must-see waterfalls/swimming holes in the Stowe area.  

1.  Bingham Falls, Smugglers Notch State Park - A short half mile hike over roots and rocks takes you downhill to a beautiful and hidden pool.  A cascading waterfall meets the pool and small ripples and mini-falls leave the pool through a beautiful stream.  Swimming is allowed in pool, and it's a great place to enjoy nature without a huge hike.  To access these falls, park on the west side of Route 108 just south of the campground entrance.  Cross to the east side and follow the trail.  There is a trailhead sign, but it is hidden away from the road.  The terrain is moderately difficult.

Trailhead sign for Bingham Falls

Bingham Falls
Mary crosses the brook.

2.  Bolton Potholes, Bolton/Waterbury -  A series of small cascades feed perfectly round pools at Bolton Falls near Waterbury, VT.  Even if you aren't swimming, the short, easy walk from the road is worth it to see this impressive geologic feature.  To get there, follow Route 2 west from Waterbury.  Drive 6.5 miles from the intersection of Route 2 and 100 in Waterbury.  Take a right onto Bolton Valley Road.  There is a parking area 0.25 miles on the right.  Do NOT park along side the road as there is a parking ban.  Walk along the road and then walk the 200 feet along a worn trail to the swimming hole.

A summer camp of kids jump into the pools.  
Falls feed the potholes
Rock Sculptures adorn the brook

3.  Moss Glen Falls, C.C. Putnam State Forest - This is the tallest of the three falls.  At a 125 ft vertical drop, Moss Glen Falls is an impressive scene.  A short, 0.25 mile hike over moderate/easy terrain will take you to a view of the falls.  Adventurous swimmers entered near the stream at the base and went swimming in the cool waters at its base.  To get there, take Route 100 north out of Stowe village.  After three miles, take a right onto Randolph Road and then another right on Moss Glen Falls Road. Just before the road makes a sharp right, turn across the brook, and park in the lot straight ahead. A sign will signal the start of the trailhead.

Moss Glen Falls Trailhead
Moss Glen Falls - 125 ft total vertical drop

I really loved exploring some beautiful waterfalls with my friends.  These are all excellent swimming areas as well.  As with any swimming/water adventure - BE CAREFUL.  Use safe swimming practices, and scout the area for hazards prior to entering the water.  Thank you to my friend, Mary, who took us to some of her favorite spots.

Friends enjoy waterfall exploration in Vermont

Please leave comments and questions below.