"Once you see open water as something to be entered, rather than driven around, flown over or stopped at the brink of, then even familiar landscapes become rife with adventure. [When] you break the surface of the water itself ... you move from one realm into another: a realm of freedom, adventure, magic and occasionally of danger." -- Robert Macfarlane (The Outdoor Swimming Society)

SwimMaine is a blog for people who would like to experience the beauty and nature of Maine's lakes and coastline through swimming. It is for those who enjoy swimming in Maine's fresh air and open sky. Whether you are an experienced swimmer or a novice, the intent of this blog is to provide you information so that you can safely choose a swimming experience that will enrich your life, as you become an explorer of an underwater world seldom seen by others.

Information is easily available on such outdoor activities as hiking and biking trails in Maine. However, finding information about swimming "trails," or nice places to swim, is more difficult. This blog has been developed to document information about these places - and your help is needed to provide such information. Do you have a favorite swimming place that you would like to let others know about? Please e-mail SwimMaine to send in your report on outdoor swimming trails. We'll post it here and placemark it on our SwimMaine map.

Any input you would like to give regarding what you would like to see on this blog is welcome!

All information is provided by volunteers. SwimMaine is not responsible for your safety.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

13. Alamoosook Lake (1)

Name of Water Body: Alamoosook Lake (1)
Town(s): Orland
Google map
Type of Water Body: Outlet and Lake
Unique Feature(s): This (one of two) public boat launch areas is an outlet. Although there is water movement here - there is absolutely no current - this area is well protected and warm. It may be the best place for the first open water swim of the season – early in the season.
Description: There will be a very secure damn gate to your right. This outlet is the gateway to the larger lake. A mowed lawn and gravel bottom makes it a nice area for other who may want to just take a dip.
Fee: no
Facilities: no
Parking: yes
Camping: no
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Upon entering, swim to your left. In approx. 3/10th of a mile, you will come to the mouth of the lake. Approximately 2/10ths of a mile ahead of you, there will be an island to swim to.
Directions: Take Route 1 North through Bucksport. Three miles out of Bucksport, there will be a blinking light and H.O.M.E. Co-op will be on your right. Take a left onto Upper Falls Road • Go 1.5 miles and turn right at Soper Road and it will be immediately on your right.
Other Info: There is a fish hatchery on the other side of the lake - Craig Brook Fish Hatchery — at 131 years old, it’s the oldest hatchery on the East Coast!
Date Updated: 7/11
Submitted By: Helen

12. Piper Pond

Name of Water Body: Piper Pond
Town(s): Abbot
Google map
Type of Water Body: Pond
Unique Feature(s):
Description: A small, but well manicured lawn makes this somewhat off-the-beaten-path pond a nice place to bring others who will have a nice area to relax while you swim.
Fee: no
Facilities: yes
Parking: yes
Camping: no
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): You can swim in any direction. There is no destination point.
Directions: Heading north on Routes 15/6, make a left onto the Pond Road, which will be approx. 1 1/2 miles out of Abbot Village. Stay on this road for almost 2 miles. Piper Pond will be on your left.
Other Info: The lake has recently been stocked with salmon and brook trout. If you continue on this road another ½ mile, the road will take a sharp right. Whetstone Pond, with public access will be on your left, with parking on the left side of the road. However, a must see is Barrows Falls about a mile up the road. This place is so beautiful and hard to describe. It is a short hike 1/10th of a mile into the woods on your right. The path is right before the single lane bridge.
Date Updated: 7/11
Submitted By: Helen

Monday, July 18, 2011

11. Moosehead Lake (at Lily Bay State Park)

Name of Water Body: Moosehead Lake (at Lily Bay State Park)
Town(s): Bear Cove
Google map
Type of Water Body: a very large lake!
Unique Feature(s): 10 + feet visibility
Description: The entry point is at a state park with beach frontage. There are a couple of islands to swim to in a lake surrounded by beautiful mountains. There is a feeling of remoteness. For a relaxing swim you will want to make sure it is not a windy day because this lake is so large and open and would tend to develop choppy water in windy conditions. A lovely beach and some playground equipment may keep other members traveling with you occupied as you swim. A loon greeted this swimmer!
Fee: $3.00
Facilities: yes
Parking: yes
Camping: yes
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Looking at the water, there is an island about 100 yards away from the shore. However, only about 25 yards of this swim looks to be over 5 foot deep. The island provides good “snorkeling”. However, there are 2 smaller islands approximately ½ mile from shore, which provide a little more interest. For security, you can swim closer to the shoreline on your left. You can stay close to the shoreline almost all the way out to the islands!
Directions: Once in Greenville, head north on Lily Bay Road. It is nine mile out of Greenville.
Other Info: Nine miles further up the road is the town of Kakadjo. It boasts a population of “not many”, has a general store, and a lovely swim-friendly pond with public access called First Roach Pond. It is worth the drive!
Date Updated: 7/11
Submitted By: Helen

10. Barrett Park

Name of Water Body: Barrett Park
Town(s): Boothbay Harbor
Google map
Type of Water Body: Ocean
Unique Feature(s): It tends to be a little warmer there than in the more open areas and it is especially fun at high tide, for there are many places to practice your cannonball!
Fee: no
Facilities: yes
Parking: yes
Camping: ?
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances):
Directions: Located on Lobster Cove Rd. From Rt 1. Head south on Rt. 27 for 11 miles. (The next series of turns are all within 4/10ths of a mile from one street to another). Turn left onto Eastern Ave., then a sharp right onto School Street. Turn left onto Union, and left on Kenny Field Drive. Take first right on to Park St., then a right on Lobster Cove Rd.
Other Info: Good place to picnic
Date Updated: 7/11
Submitted By: Jill Reynolds

Friday, July 8, 2011

9. Tunk Lake

Name of Water Body: Tunk Lake
Town(s): Hancock County - off Rt. 182
Google map
Type of Water Body: Lake
Unique Feature(s): Clarity of water is crystal with nice sandy beach after a short walk through a woods trail.
Description: A family beach; I believe it is town owned.
Fee: Free
Facilities: None
Parking: Small Parking lot, and plenty of roadside parking.
Camping: No
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Upon entering the water you can swim along the shore line to the left, as it is very sandy, with minimal weeds. You also can swim out across the lake. It is quite a distance, for someone like me, but for someone who likes to swim long distances, I would say it is probably about 2 -3 miles long and about 2 miles wide. To the right, there is a big patch of weeds so I would suggest staying out of that area. The water is pretty shallow at first, but after going out about 1200 feet it then becomes deep. It appears to be a gradual increase in depth, as there was no big drop off. I do not know the exact depth, however, it is at least 10ft. It is pretty remote so I do not suggest solo swimming unless you are an expert swimmer.
Directions: From Rt. 1 N. in Ellsworth turn Left onto Rt. 182 E. go 17.7 miles on the right there will be a dirt road that leads into the parking lot. The trail to walk down to the water is in the back left corner of parking lot.
Other Info:
Date Updated: 7/7/2011
Submitted By: Anne Mosher

8. Range Pond

Name of Water Body: Range Pond
Town(s): Poland
Google Earth: Range Pond Beach Area

Type of Water Body: Lake, spring fed, original source of Poland Spring water…pump house on opp. Shore
Unique Feature(s): Clear, sand bottom, warms up; large beach area; spring fed, park under pines
Description: large sandy bottom lake, roped off swimming area, sections for kayaks, canoes.
Fee: Yes
Facilities: bath house, picnic tables,
Parking: Ample
Camping: Nearby
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): close to a mile long, ¼ mile wide
Directions: near Auburn and Channel 8 station
Other Info: Favorite mid week swimming hole
Date Updated: July 7th, 2011
Submitted By: F. J. Heller

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

7. Sanborn Pond

Name of Water Body: Sanborn Pond
Town(s): Brooks
Google map
Type of Water Body: fresh water pond
Unique Feature(s): PLEASE NOTE: ALTHOUGH ACCESS TO THIS POND HAS BEEN USED BY THE PUBLIC FOR YEARS, IT IS PRIVATE PROPERTY. This lake is easily accessible for a quick swim with only a rare sighting of a motorized engine.
Description: This is a small, but deep pond.
Fee: no
Facilities: no
Parking: yes
Camping: no
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Entry into the pond is very obvious, it is right next to the road. Upon entering swim straight ahead towards a small camp on the other side of the pond. It is approximately ½ mile. When you reach the other side, you will be able to stand and rest a minute without trespassing on the camp property.
Directions: Sanborn Pond is located right on Route 137, about 10 miles from Belfast.
Other Info:
Date Updated: Helen
Submitted By: 7/5/11

6. Woodbury Pond

Name of Water Body: Woodbury Pond
Town(s): Litchfield
Google map
Type of Water Body: fresh water lake
Unique Feature(s): The water has crystal clear visibility to approximately 7 feet which allows for exploring with a mask. Some areas seem to have a relatively sandy bottom. The irregular shape of this lake may provide other opportunities for swimming trails.
Description: This lake is in an area of central Maine where there are not many swimming opportunities compared to other areas of the state. This is a town park, leased from the state. On the day I was there, there were very few people there – although another solo distance swimmer who swims this area regularly! However, there is the potential of it being a busy place and because the shoreline is densely populated on one side.
Fee: $2.00
Facilities: yes
Parking: yes
Camping: no
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Upon entering the lake, swim to your left as close to the shoreline as you desire. In approximately ½ mile, you will come to a road, a natural place to turn around.
Directions: This park is off of Route 126/9. Heading toward Lewistown, Town Farm Road to Whipporrwill Road will be on your right. Heading toward Gardiner, it will be on your left. There are posted signs on Route 126/9 to direct you.
Other Info: There is a roped off area for children, but without a lifeguard. Limited playground equipment but a nice grassy area for picnicing.
Date Updated: 6/30/11
Submitted By: Helen

5. Bear Pond

Name of Water Body: Bear Pond
Town(s): Waterford
Google map
Type of Water Body: fresh water lake
Unique Feature(s): The public boat ramp is in disrepair and somewhat unusable for launching a large motor boat, which seems to keep those type of boats to a minimum on this pond. To the right of the boat launch, there is a rope swing about 30 yards away.
Description: Although one side of this lake is roadside, it does not interfere at all with the swim. There is a feeling of remoteness. Maybe it is because this lake is nestled in between 2 hills/mountains and seems to have less than the usual amount of lakeside dwellings.
Fee: none
Facilities: none
Parking: There is a public boat launch. There is plenty of parking along the road as well.
Camping: none – although there looks to be a lovely inn on the lake called Bear Mountain Inn.
Swimming Trail (with approximate distances): Enter the lake at the boat launch area and swim to the left along the shore. After approximately 6/10 of a mile, the water will become shallow and a relatively sandy bottom. You can rest at the big boulder that emerges from the water or explore this area since the visability is good. (Or have your non-swimming partner wait for you here to explore and cool off.)
Directions: Bear Pond is north of Bridgton and west of South Paris/Norway. It is on Routes 35/37.
Other Info:
Date Updated: July 1, 2011
Submitted By: Helen