When the summer heat reaches the upper 80’s and the humidity is so thick you can cut it with a knife, many locals run for cool relief at one of the many swimming holes, ponds and lakes that grace the area.
Four Corners (also known as the Jay Branch Gorge) is a popular local swimming hole in the Jay/Troy area. A beautiful, large, inviting swimming hole that’s approximately 30 yards in diameter. The entire pool is surrounded by a high rock ledge providing many places to jump into the deep pool. The water is clean and delightful, the falls are big and the sound of the water is soothing.
Just up the road on Rte 242, is Jay Branch River a stream of water running the length of the mountain towards Jay Peak. While not such a great place for swimming, there are plenty of pools for wading and even enjoying a picnic.
Proceeding over the mountain of Jay Peak, Three Holes in Montgomery is an unusual swimming hole in the Trout River fed by several waterfalls. It’s called Three Holes because there are actually three waterfalls there. The upper 11 foot falls is the largest and provides the largest pool for swimming. The upper pool gets little sun and is surrounded by high cliffs on both sides. This is the pool where you will most likely find people jumping from the rocks. The other two smaller pools are best for swimming and sunbathing but do be aware that bathing suits are optional.
When it comes to beaches, you simply can’t beat the magnificent lakes of the Northeast Kingdom.
In the Newport area, there is Prouty Beach at Lake Memphremagog. There are also facilities for campers, if you’re looking for a bit longer stay.
Lake Salem in Derby offers a beach on the 4H road for families to relax and enjoy.
Just a little further southeast of Derby offers a beach area than runs along side Rte 111. In years past, this was an extremely popular beach with cars lining both sides of the road on almost every summer weekend.
Echo Lake a few miles to the south in Charleston, VT is a small but charming lake with scenic beauty and tranquility.
Continue southeast, you will find Brighton State Park, in Island Pond, VT. Its beach located on spring fed Lake Island Pond offers a nice sandy beach with a picnic area, bathhouse, and boat rentals.
Travel west to Lake Willoughby and you’ll soon encounter Willoughby State Forest, Nestled between Mt. Pisgah and Mt. Hor, Lake Willoughby is considered by many to be the most beautiful lake in Vermont, it offers public beaches at the north and south ends with restrooms, excellent boating and fishing, quaint shops, lodgings and restaurants lining the shore. At a depth of 312′ it is a favorite of divers.
Just a few miles southwest, in the town of Barton, you’ll find Crystal Lake State Park which offers a mile of sandy shoreline with a marked swimming area, picnic tables, bathhouse, boating, and refreshments.
These are just a few of the great places for cooling off with a refreshing swim in the Northeast Kingdom.
Check out this map to help you find some of the locations mentioned