The Best Swimming Holes In Massachusetts

By Mike Boisvert.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is not known for having the best swimming holes.  That label is best used to describe the northern states. However, Massachusetts is home to some very nice swimming holes. You just have to take the time to actually look for them. This is a list of some of the best swimming holes in Massachusetts.

Walden Pond

While not a swimming hole, Walden Pond is one of those bucket list of places to take a swim. You should swim here at least once in your life! The pond in Concord, Massachusetts was the location where Henry David Thoreau wrore his famous book, "Walden." It is now a national historic landmark and the birthplace of the conservation movement. There are also guided tours and educations programs. 

The pond itself is a 103 foot deep glacial kettle hole. It is surrounded by 2,280 acres of mostly undeveloped woods, called "Walden Woods". There are many trails to explore these woods. 

The number of visitors is limited to 1,000 people at a time to protect the natual resources of the area. Dogs, bicycles, flotation devices and grills are prohibited. We recommend you call in advance to check on parking availability.

Toilets at the beach close at 6PM and there is a $5 parking fee. 

Directions: From Boston, take RT 2 west to the Concord area, then take RT 126 south and follow signs.

Royalston Falls

Royalston Falls near Greenfield is not exceptionally clean water. The hike in is interesting as it passes by an old cemetery. Then it continues to ravines, large pools and is after a lean to.

The falls themselves are small and the brook can dry up by the end of summer. What makes this a worthwhile place for a swim in the long, wispy waterfall that drops into a deep, moss covered gorge. The gorge is fun to explore...you'll like it if you are adventurous.

There are lots of beautiful plant life. It's unique and good for taking photos. Be careful because the moss makes the rocks slippery.Wear a pair of used sneakears to explore. 

Directions:  From I-91 take RT 2 east to RT 32 in Athol. Take RT 32 north past the intersection with Route 68. Proceed north on Route 32 to the Newton Cemetery on the right side of road. Park in the small parking area near the cemetery and follow the obvious trail into the woods. The 0.75 mile hike downhill to falls along the yellow-blazed Tully Trail [Matacomet-Monadnock trail is marked with white blazes] is rugged. Getting into and out of the gorge is tricky but will be fun for the adventurous. 

Buck River

Buck River isn't well known. Located in Sandisfield, it similar to the swimming holes on the Merrimack River in southern NH. The swimming hole is small, about 30 feet wide and 50 feet long. It's about 7 feet deep. There is route 57 on one side and cliffs on the other. 

What makes this fun is the 12 foot water slide! The rocks are great for sunbathing. It is near the road so there is not much privacy.

There are some rocks you can jump from. If you you go upstream 50 yards, there is another pool below a waterfall with a 6 foot slide that is nice for sitting in and cooling off since its not very deep. 

Directions: From New Boston take Rt 57 west to Sandisfield. The hole is located on the south side of RT 57 between the town post office and the town hall ~ a distance of about a half of a mile. The small parking area is on the north side of the road, just after you cross the bridge over the Buck River. The land on this side of the road is conservancy land so parking is legal. It is likely that the swimming hole itself is located in the same conversancy land. The hole is located about 20-30 yards above the parking area and is directly off the road. 

Glendale Falls

Glendale Falls is flow over rocks and into a shallow pool below. It's great for soaking. The top of the falls is a nice place for lunch on a hot day with scenic views. It's a popular swimming hole. Click Here For More Information.

Directions: Complicated directions but worth the effort. From Pittsfield take Rt. 9 east to Dalton then Rt. 8 south. Near Hinsdale, take Rt. 143 east about 8 miles through Peru to West Worthington. There, after you pass over the Middle Branch of the Westfield River, take a right on the road that parallels the river [sign says "River Road"]. Proceed down this road 5.6 miles [but not as far as the cutoff to Middlefield] over many small bridges. At 5.6 miles you will cross over a small bridge with a concrete abutment that says "1990", this is Glendale Brook. Take a right on the road just after this bridge, which follows the brook. This road climbs up and in less than a mile you will reach the sign for Glendale Falls and a parking area. 

Another approach is from Northhampton, from the east: take RT 9 west [past 'ORANGE DAM" swimming hole] to RT 112 south through Worthington to RT 143 west then turn left onto River Rd. and proceed as above. 

Cummington Gay Swimming Hole

This is a very popular clothing optional gay swimming hole along the Westfield River. Many guys like it because it is more low key than the popular Rock River in Vermont. Because of sexual activity it has led to severe restrictions on parking and it will only get worst if we don't police it for this sort of  behavior. GayOutdoors and its members do not approve of this behavior.

It is a deep but not cold pool with a wide sandy beach. There are some smaller beaches nearby.  Click Here For More Info. 

Directions: From Northhampton, tatke Route 9 west to Cummington. About 1 mile west of the Cummington town sign, you will see a rest area on the left. This is the closest parking to the swimming place but they have restricted parking here to 30 minutes to discourage swimming here. If you continue another .5 mile, there is another parking area on the left. This place is not as convenient but there is no time limit here so this is the place to park if it is not too crowded [which it sometimes is]. From here, walk down to the river, then walk to the left [downstream] along the rocky bank, then wade across to the other side at a location where there is usually a rope or string. Go into the woods on a well traveled trail and continue generally south through the woods. [Trails diverge but generally come together again.] Where the trail forks, go left to the main beach. About a .5 mile walk total.

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