Dives and Drives

Northeastern Swimholes: Gas up and go to any of these northern gems
By Pancho Doll
  |  Gorp.com
Page 2 of 4   |  

Cooperas Pond
Essex County, NY
Come for the rock jump; stay for the amphibians. The pond is an easy trip from Lake Placid. It's about 300 yards wide and almost perfectly round, so you can see any part of the lake from any other part. That reduces privacy further at an already popular destination. Visibility is no better than six feet. Good rock structure at many points along the shoreline means you can spread out, although most activity is concentrated at the jumping rock on the north end. It's around seven feet high, an ideal scale for kids who find it fun, not scary.

In between trips from the top of the rock, the kids I interviewed enjoyed catching tadpoles – big tadpoles. One just beginning to get rear legs was four inches across! Conditions in Adirondack State Park during the summer of 1996 so favored amphibian reproduction that regulars said they were big enough to water ski on.

The trail is short but steep. As a guideline, I'd say it's limited to people who smoke no more than one pack a day. Privacy is unlikely. I found 10 people on a cloudy weekday. The area seemed well picked up and cared for. Note: it's pronounced simply "Cooper's Pond."

Map and Directions

South Branch Pond
Baxter State Park, Maine
Reliable sources report that the water is more than 40 feet deep below this tall rock face. I'm not saying that you can huck your carcass 60 feet or so from the top. I'm not even saying you should jump from the intermediate ledges at 10, 15 and 20 feet. All I'm reporting is that were you to attempt any of these things, the reliable source assures that you would not be the first.

This chunk of rock is uncommon in that it seems difficult to find tall rock adjoining deep water in this part of the country. But it's not an epic trip that'll take all weekend to reach. Great choice if you want to discover a less visited part of Baxter State Park.

Tie your boat [you'll need to bring or rent one] to a snag on the southern end of the outcrop right below the lower ledges. The rock is really solid. Not lots of seating because it's all pretty steep. Use caution scrambling above the lower ledges. There are lots of pebbles from the decomposing rock that can be like walking on ball bearings. There are few hand holds, making it difficult to climb back down. Injuries frequently occur this way.

Map and Directions

Indian Love Call
Rock River, Vermont
Long sand beach with a good jumping rock and clean, clear water. The current is slight, the bottom sandy. Overlooking the hole is a hemlock parkland backing a broad sand beach. It can be as long as 120 feet, depending on water level. The jumping rock opposite the beach is 12 feet high. For those who need more height, one of the trees has boards nailed to it in ladder fashion so you can get an extra eight feet of whoopee. Because the Rock River is low altitude, it warms up earlier than most. The downside is that a ridge blocks afternoon sun.

Love Call is popular with the cognoscenti. While most people driving north from Brattleboro go to the West River for summer fun, those in the know walk the other way up the Rock River. Will Hutchinson is lessee of the property on State Route 30 where the parking is.

The lowest hole, the one with the beach opposite the trail, is private. Love Call is generally a family spot, he said. The hole above and around the bend is mixed gender, clothing optional. The pools above that are generally gay, said Hutchinson

Map and Directions


Published: 4 Apr 2007 | Last Updated: 24 Oct 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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