Second Iron, Bartlett, NH
ed's note: We have rated this site based on a series of criteria on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being good and 5 being the best. Catagories included cleanliness of the area; clarity of the water; the "Kid Factor" (we brought children to make sure that it passed the fun test!); Beauty - we know, almost every swimming hole in the area is beautiful but some are extraordinary and we wanted to note this.
Named for the Iron Bridge that looms over the swimming area, Second Iron is a classic in the White Mountains. For many years the folks who owned the beautiful beach adjacent to the area allowed local residents to use it. In recent years they have closed it so the only access to the swimming hole is by crossing over the bridge and onto the rocky areas north and south of the bridge.
Second Iron has a reasonably deep pool area directly below the bridge. Jumping off the bridge is discouraged but people do it from both the deck and the top (we don't recommend jumping from the top - it is not deep enough to be safe.). From the rocky area to the south of the bridge there are several goood spots to jump and dive and of course to simply lounge in the cooling waters of the Saco River.
To the north of the bridge there is an area of flat rocks for sunbathing and swift moving water that creates a nice spot for tubing or body surfing the rapids. Experienced swimmers can do it without protection - though we recommend river shoes too protect your feet - younger children should have a life jacket.
Cleanliness: 4 Swimmers are conscientious about cleaning up.
Clarity: 5 It doesn't get much better than the Saco!
Kid Factor: 5 Rocks and bridge to jump off, tubing and a combination of still and moving water.
Beauty: 5 In the Saco Valley there aren't many spots that aren't beautiful.
If you would rather not cross the bridge and still want to swim in Bartlett, try Pointed Rock Swimming Hole.
"Gathering Courage for the Jump, Second Iron, Bartlett, NH"
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