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Beard Recreation Park

Johnson, Vermont

Gihon River

Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Swimming Hole
Paddling Access
Paddling Access
Boasting a giant swimming pool-sized swimming hole with a gradual entry, small falls, and an open, rocky shore, this is an ideal spot for people of all ages and abilities.
Dogs not allowed
Dogs not allowed
Danger, use caution
Danger, use caution
! Special considerations: As with any swimming hole, water levels can change at any time. Please swim with caution.
  • Public access: Yes
  • Activities: swimming, birding, fish
  • Caretaker: Town of Johnson
Beard Recreation Park Johnson, Vermont Gihon River

Beard Recreation Park

With approximately 600 feet of river frontage on the Gihon River, Beard Park is home to a beautiful shoreline, waterfalls, and an Olympic-sized swimming hole — all just a short walk from Johnson’s village center. A rocky outcropping in the river creates a deep swimming pool with an extensive sand and gravel beach suitable for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Along the banks, the upper fields have trails and flat, open land for enjoying nature. Plus, it’s right next to the 150-year-old Power House Covered Bridge, giving visitors the chance to stroll back in time.

Over decades, the Beard Family welcomed generations of kids and families to come enjoy access to the river. But when Florence and Hubert Beard passed away and the family prepared to sell the property, they wanted to make sure people would always have the chance to enjoy this community treasure. Instead of selling the site to private developers, the Beard Family worked with Vermont River Conservancy to protect it for generations to come.

Explore the Spanish-language video featuring this site here.

Local Businesses

Grab coffee or a bite to eat at Jenna’s Coffee House on your way! If you’re coming through Wolcott, check out Slice of Earth Famstand at 1271 VT-15 for tasty berries, cherries, bread, and baked goods or stop for a maple creemee at the Elmore Sugarhouse Store.

Conservation Details

  • River: Gihon River
  • Acreage: 1.89
  • River frontage (ft): 600

Funding Partners

This project made possible thanks to the support and partnership of:

  • Land Water Conservation Fund
  • Vermont Housing and Conservation Board
  • Fields Pond Foundation
  • Vermont Community Foundation’s Green Mountain Fund
  • Johnson State College Student Government Association
  • Butternut Mountain Farm
  • Rock Art Brewery
  • Merchant’s Bank
  • Concept II
  • Many generous local donors


From Vermont Route 15, turn onto Pearl St. in Johnson Village (left if coming from the west; right if coming from the east). After 0.1 mile, turn right onto School St. Beard Recreation Park is located on the right, just before the Power House Bridge. Parking is available on site.