GET INTO THE SWIM OF THINGS... & GO FOR A DIP IN A MOUNTAIN STREAM OR POND IN MT. WASHINGTON VALLEY
A cool dip in a mountain stream or river is sure to be one of the highlights of your trip to Mt. Washington Valley. Take one of the many scenic hikes, combine it with a dip in any of these watering holes, and you’re sure to feel refreshed throughout the day. This is the au natural way to enjoy swimming!
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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.
Diana’s Baths: 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.
Chocorua Lake: 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.
Weston’s Beach: 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.
White Lake State Park: From North Conway, head south on Route 16. White Lake State Park is located about 20 miles south of North Conway on Route 16 in Tamworth. Some of the best swimming in the White Mountain region can be found in 140-acre White Lake State Park in Tamworth. The park lies along the shore of White Lake, which is an example of a typical glacial lake. During the Ice Age glacial ice was buried beneath glacial till or debris. When the ice melted, a depression was created which gradually filled with water. Fee: $4 adults; $2 youth.
For more information on fun things to do in Mt Washington Valley, visit www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364).
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