State Designated Water Access
20 acres in Chaplin, CT
Parking: Small lot at 20 Dianas Pool Rd Chaplin, CT
Diana’s Pool is meant to be a designated fishing spot and there are a number of great fishing spots heading in either direction. The DEEP annually stocks Diana’s Pool with trout, which means that there are fisherman’s paths along the Natchaug River that can be followed for a beautiful short walk.
From the NYT’s article, “The Natchaug River almost seems to be flaunting its beauty as it swaggers this way and that, washing over boulders and dancing between bold rock formations, its banks thick with maples, oaks, black gum trees and deep-green hemlocks, its trout-filled sparkling waters so pure that botanists at a nearby university can’t begin to grow algae in it.” I can’t improve much on that description and would encourage anyone to visit this spot at any time because its beauty is on display no matter the time of year.
If you follow the fisherman’s paths there are about 2/3rds of a mile that is easy to follow and 9/10ths if you really push it until it becomes the equivalent of a faint game trail. Most of the year you’ll find people walking their dogs in the main falls area.
The main area is a large pool (the official Diana’s Pool) just below the three foot falls. Swimming is officially banned here ironically because it is too beautiful and popular (see the 1983 NYT’s article below) and anything other than fishing is officially a ticketable offense. Despite this, the swimming hole it is very popular on hot summer days and usually, the only enforcement and tickets are for parking violations.
After a good rain, there are often whitewater kayakers as Diana’s Pool is a typical take-out spot. This section of the river is a Class II-IV drop-pool river. The put-in is typically at the bridge on England Rd. Features in the section include Soco’s Suck, the Cow Sluice, Mousetrap, and Michaud’s Hole.
“In the vicinity of Chaplin, a wide kame terrace spreads into the Stonehouse Brook drainage; it was possibly formed when a temporary dam of till or ice blocked the Natchaug River canyon below Chaplin. The distribution of the ice-channel fillings on which Ridge Road is built, together with the distribution of nearby meltwater spillways, suggests that the meltwaters flowed out from Stonehouse Brook and the Natchaug River and thence across the flat area south of Chaplin. When the temporary dam was breached, meltwater suddenly discharged down Natchaug Canyon. It deposited no stratified drift there; instead, all drift was removed down to bedrock, forming the stretch of rapids and waterfalls known as “Diana’s Pool”.”
From Peter Marteka’s article, “According to local lore, Diana’s Pool was named after a woman — her heart broken by her lover — who jumped to her death from a high cliff into the Natchaug River. There’s also a legend that notes she slipped on all the tears she cried. And a totally different legend notes the area was named after the Diana family, who once owned the pool and ran a concession stand for visitors in the 1800s.”
The bridge over the Natchaug just downstream from the main pool was built in 1926 and is an example of the state’s interest in ornamental concrete at the turn of the century.
Peter Marteka – Dip Your Tootsies Into Diana’s Pool (2008)
Peter Marteka – Legends Flow Freely at Diana’s Pool (2003)
William Geist for the New York Times – A Swimming Hole Without Swimming? In One Town, Yes (1983)
Connelly and Portersfield, Appalachian Whitewater: The Northern States, 4th Edition.
Perry Rahn – The Surficial Geology of the Spring Hill Quadrangle
New England Waterfalls – Diana’s Pool