Natural Swimming Holes in
New Hampshire's Mt.
Man made pools are nice, but
no trip to the Mt. Washington Valley is complete without a refreshing dip in
the area's natural ponds and waterfalls. When the heat of the summer seems
unbearable, escape to one of these many natural watering holes and let the
cool mountain stream rush over you. Here are some of the most accessible
and popular spots. Take note: you won’t find lifeguards anywhere but Echo
Lake State Park.
Echo Lake State Park
From North Conway, turn west on River Road, then left onto Old West Side
Road. Look for signs on the right less than a mile down. The lake is
dramatically set directly at the base of White Horse Ledge. It’s one of the few
places in the mountains where you’ll find a sandy beach, also there’s a picnic
area and changing rooms. You can access hiking trails from here, too. A
nominal parking fee is charged for entrance to this park.
If you continue on River Road (turns into West Side Road) and pass the turn
off for Echo Lake State Park, in just under a mile you’ll come to the parking
area for Diana’s Baths on the left. Hike along a well-marked trail about a mile
to a wonderful group of cascading falls and pools, waterspouts and granite
basins that make up Diana’s Baths. This is the ideal way to cool off on a warm
summer day, accompanied by an easy hike for the whole family. Swimming
below the falls is allowed, but is prohibited above them as the public water
supply intake pipes are located there. On a warm full-moon night, this is the
most romantic spot in Mt. Washington Valley!
Saco River at Hussey Field
From North Conway, turn west on River Road and park roadside near the
first bridge . You don’t have to go far from North Conway to find a great spot
for a dip! Head for the river for your swim, and the adjacent fields are perfect
for a picnic, sunbathing or a game of frisbee. Chances are, you’ll find
company enjoying each of these. There’s even a place to fill your water jugs
with some great mountain water.
Kancamagus Highway, Lower Falls & Rocky Gorge
From Route 16 in Conway, head east on “the Kanc” Just 7 miles from Conway
you’ll come to some of the best swimming spots in the Valley. First you’ll
find Lower Falls, especially popular since it offers both fast and slow-moving
water, small sandy beaches, picnic tables, parking and changing rooms.
Rocky Gorge, is just 2 miles further down the road. Take a short 1/10 of a
mile hike, and head for the pools above the falls, as swimming is prohibited
in the Gorge.
From Conway, head south on Route 16 about 10 miles. Chocorua Lake is on
the right. Not only the opportunity for a cool dip, but with Mt. Chocorua at
the apex of this lake, the scenery is thrilling. There are two sandy beaches on
the east side of the lake. One is open to the public and the other is reserved
for town residents.
From Main Street in Fryeburg, go north about 3/4 miles to Weston’s Farm
Stand. Across the street, you’ll find a wonderful, sandy beach on a curve in
the Saco River, and certainly some company enjoying the wading and
swimming from here.
For more information on visiting Mt. Washington Valley, call
1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) or visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org.
|Swimming Holes, NH
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