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Vermont's Perfect Gay Nude Swimming Holes
By Mike Boisvert

The Ledges

On Harriman Reservoir there are 2 established beach swimming places, but also a place called "The Ledges". This is a well-known, traditional clothing-optional place. A large sandy beach and big, flat rocks for sunbathing at the water's edge (size of beach may be diminished when water level in reservoir is high.) Some rocks to jump from. Please respect the place, no noise, gawking or littering. Most of the crowd is male, but the area is also popular with straight folks. Summer weekends draw over 100 nude bathers.

Directions: From Brattleboro, take RT 9 W. Before you get to Wilmington, go S on RT 100 to the Harriman Reservoir. Go 1.2 miles (past Dix Rd on the left) to an unsigned dirt road on the right. Go down this dirt road for about a mile to the parking area for the Jacksonville Picnic Area (it may say NEPCO Picnic Area). Note that there is swimming at the picnic area also for clothed bathers. Follow the trail to the right of the picnic area into the woods. When you see nude bathers, you are there. There are several rocky areas to swim from along this path. The gay area is beyond the central area where most straight skinny-dippers gather.

Rock River

Rock River, is Vermont's most popular place for gay nude swimming and sunbathing. It's known for being very cruisy. Running into people having sex in the woods is not uncommon. If this is not your scene, just stay near the water. It's known to have a good social atmosphere and everyone seems to look after each other. A popular activity is taking the rocks and building beautiful cairn structures. It's between Brattleboro and Newfane, VT, and has several natural pools. The first pool you reach is the largest, and users may nude, clothed, a mix of both. As you walk further upstream, you'll come to a second pool, which has probably nudity, but is made up of mostly straight folks. Further upstream, you will come to a third pool, which tends to be all nude and all gay.

Directions: From Brattleboro, take State Route 30 north. After 7 or 8 miles, when you see the turnoff for Maple Valley Ski Are, continue north on SR-30 for another 1.5 miles, until you reach the Williamsville Road turnoff on the left. The turnoff is just before a large bridge over Rock River. Pull over and park on the east side of SR-30 just before the bridge. Cross to the west side of SR-30, then walk up Williamsville Road a short distance until you see the first spur trail on the right that heads toward the river. Take this road to the river, then hike upstream about a mile to reach the gay area. Along the way, you should pass two natural pools in the shallow river that is usually where the straight folks hang out. The third swimming hole is your destination.

Woodbury Quarry

Woodbury Quarry, in Woodbury, VT, north of Montpelier and Barre, is an abandoned quarry. This is a great swimming hole deep in the woods. As most quarries, one side is a sheer rock wall. Before you dive in, you may want to check its depth to be safe. Nudity is a tradition here, and you'll normally find a few gay swimmers and sunbathers.

Directions: From Montpelier, head east on US Highway 2 about 5 miles to the junction with State Route 14 in East Montpelier. Turn left onto SR-14 and head north about 13 miles to the village of Woodbury. Once you see a white church (Woodbury Methodist) on the left side, turn right onto Cabot Road. Proceed 0.7 mile, then turn left onto a dirt road. Continue along this road (staying right at the fork) about 0.75 mile until the road turns sharply to the right (leading to a working quarry). At this point continue straight ahead another 0.6 mile. The road get rougher. Park and go a short distance through the woods to the quarry.

Mad River Punch Bowl

The best-known swimming spot near here in the Mad River is the Punch Bowl. There are several popular, excellent swimming holes. It's between Irasville and Warren, southwest of Montpelier. This area is privately owned by people who support the Vermont tradition of skinny-dipping and they happily open it to the public with some help from local friends. It has a couple of pools of differing depths and a short chute which can be slid down if water level permits. Swimsuits are considered to be in poor taste here (very optional!). It has a couple of pools of differing depths and a short chute which can be slid down if water level permits. Swimsuits are considered to be in poor taste here (very optional!). In 2006, we received a report that a sign is posted that says: "Restricted to families and couples." The two guys were a gay couple so they went to check it out however they did not feel comfortable at all due to the sign. They will not be returning.

Directions: It's off the west side of Route 100, in the town of Warren just south of the Waitsfield line and less than a mile north of the turnoff for the Sugarbush ski area. Look for a field with a gray, wooden fence at the back about 100 yards from the road and a large, dirt parking lot. The swimming area is behind the fence a picnic area can be found here too, but no bathrooms.

Clarendon Gorge

High cliffs and a deep pool with a rope swing. Popular local swimming hole, lots of parties resulting in some litter. Clothed swimmers are closer to US-7, but nude use is customary as you go farther upstream along the river. If you come to a high suspension footbridge that spans the river, you've reached the end of the traditional nude area. This is also where the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail crosses the gorge. You'll just might see some hot thru-hiker skinny-dipping here. Nude use is well established, and the area is very popular with gay men.

Directions: From Rutland, take RT 7 south. After passing the intersection for RT 103 (Rutland Airport), take your next left onto RT 7B. The road immediately forks here left is RT 7B, straight is River Road. The parking area will be on the right near the large concrete blocks. This section of the river is clothing customary many families will be found here in the river on a hot summer day in sight of the northbound RT 7 travelers. Park, walk down to the river, and explore the area upstream where you will find other gay men.

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