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The Glacial Potholes
Shelburne Falls' "Swimming Holes" 
Provide a Cool Blast from the Past

glacial potholesNote: The glacial potholes were closed to swimmers in 2002. From what I've heard, there are still a few folks who are managing to find their way down onto the rocks, but there's a good chance that local police will shoo you away. You can still observe the potholes.

There's so much old-fashioned mystique to the notion of cooling off on a sticky, steamy New England day by taking a dip in a "swimming hole." But "old-fashioned" doesn't quite do justice in describing the Glacial Potholes, the glacier-carved swimming holes at the base of Salmon Falls in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

These natural outdoor "swimming pools" were several hundred million years in the making--how fascinating to contemplate the fact that the last Ice Age left behind an attraction to rival our modern, multi-million dollar water amusement parks. Well, okay, the Potholes may not hold quite the excitement of a high-speed log flume, but if you're looking to dip your toes into some cool water after a day of seeing the sights of Shelburne Falls or driving the 63-mile Mohawk Trail, you'll find the Glacial Potholes right in the heart of town at the end of Deerfield Avenue. 

potholes in shelburne fallsThere are more than 50 potholes to explore, ranging in size from 6 inches to 39 feet in diameter. This is one of the largest known concentrations of potholes and the location of the largest pothole on record, as well. There is no charge for access to the Potholes, and no "supervision" is provided, so be cautious when climbing on the rocks. Water levels may vary based on weather conditions, but you should be able to at least treat your feet to a cool submersing.

Also remember to bring your camera! The shadings in the ancient granite caused by the swirling of water and stones as the glacial age began to "melt down" are a picturesque geological sight.

...Back to Spend a Day in Shelburne Falls

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All photographs by Kim Knox. Copyright 1999.

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