What do you do in a ski town when there’s no more snow? Well, in Bethel, Maine, you find Frenchman’s Hole and can get your adrenaline rush jumping off the 20-foot cliff into the river below. Well-known by the locals and stumbled upon by hikers and tourists alike, this local watering hole is easily accessible and fun for the whole family.
Depending on the height of the river, you can set up chairs on the larger rocks below or above the jumping area if you want to picnic or just spend some time in the cool, refreshing water. For those looking to jump, there are three main areas to jump from: to the right of the waterfall (when facing down stream), to the left of the waterfall, and from a higher rock set back on the left of the waterfall. This last location adds 2 to 3 feet to the jump, but it also requires you to clear the jumping area below. Some people also use the waterfall as a slide, but it is highly dependent on the river level and how fast it is running. To the right of the falls are shaded rocks you can sit on, which are great for watching and taking pictures.
If you are looking for additional activities, there are trails in the area for hiking. The swimming hole seems popular with locals and tourists, so be prepared for crowds, even on overcast days.
Parking note: It's highly recommended to avoid parking on the road due to logging activity.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.