Vermont Spring Swim Tour: Chittenden Reservoir

Red Star - Lake Memphremagog, Green Star-Joe's Pond, Purple Star-Lake Dunmore, Blue Star-Chittenden Reservoir
Red Star – Lake Memphremagog, Green Star-Joe’s Pond, Purple Star-Lake Dunmore, Blue Star-Chittenden Reservoir

The Specs:

Chittenden Reservoir is located about 8 miles northeast of Rutland, VT.  It’s about 2 miles across or so, but it has a funky shape that makes it fun to swim to all the different tips.  Because it is owned by Green Mountain Power company and nestled against the Green Mountain National Forest – the land around the Reservoir isn’t developed.  Two public access points, one near the dam and one by Lefferts Pond, allow for (small engine) boats or kayaks or swimmers to launch.  There is camping, hiking, fishing, and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife have designated a reserve for loons to nest.

The view from the beach near the Lefferts Pond’s Access.

My Swim History:

The Chittenden Reservoir is my favorite open water swim spot.  When I was first discovering open water swimming, I would swim out to the Island from Lefferts Pond’s boat access.  It’s only about 200-300 yards, I think.  It would take me forever!  And I would envision all sorts of mad things in the dark water beneath me.

Special thanks to my mom, who works in procurement for the National Forest Service and does things like buy signs.

The land around the Reservoir is pristine.  The view is perfectly Vermont and everything I love about my home.  The mountains, the forests, the water; the wildness and gentleness of it is positively exquisite.  I like that there aren’t any houses, and no docks, and no people watching you swim and wondering if you’re really THAT crazy.

Natalie and I saw a young moose at the Reservoir one day, as he went running out of the forest along the shore for a bit and then back into the woods.  To date, that’s one of my favorite memories of swimming, ever.

I became an open water swimmer here.  I slowly learned that the water has different moods, and swimming isn’t ever the same, even if you’re in the same spot.  I swam in 40-something-degree water here for the first time… I actually swam in it.  I was swimming out here when our first storm blew up from over the mountain and caught us in the pouring rain and wind.  I swam in the wind and the waves, and under the October skies, and when the ice was gone in April and May.

When I’m at the Reservoir, I am home.

Love this view. Almost can’t swim, ’cause I just want to look around.

My Swim Goal:

I want to always swim at the Reservoir.  I want to swim at the Reservoir tomorrow and the next day.  I want to swim in the Chittenden Reservoir with my kids and kayak for other swimmers around it.  I want to swim in the Chittenden Reservoir when I’m 80 years old and still smile the same smile, and still see the same mountains and get to know all of its rocks and water.  Because when you find a place that is home, you should stay there.

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