Many of the swimming holes featured on this blog can be We found in Timothy H. Joyce's book "Swimming Holes of CA". We visited most of these sites during the Summers of 2009 through 2013. All photos Copyright Timothy H. Joyce, All Rights Reserved.
Comments by Members - Important Swimming Hole Notes Summer 2011
Emerald Pool & Cliffs - This place is not for everyone. Although the hike is not long, it is quite strenuous. It includes climbing up and down some rocks at high altitude (3rd class scramble). These cliffs are serious business and are very high. The water is also fairly cold. Bring extra water and prepare to rock climb! Overall, though the grand canyon of swimming holes!
The Cliffs- One of the best swimming holes in the state of CA. Lots of ledges for sun. A magnificent falls is nestled at the base of the chasm. Great jumping spots all the way up the gorge. Cliffs as high at 400 ft in some places. Sandy and calm beaches at the base.
Arroyo Seco - Just outside of Greenfield, CA in Los Padres National Forest. Plan ahead for this trip since the state parks have closed and this federal park is limiting entry. There are only 29 parking places for visiting the Gorge. Limited access to the Campground and day use area. This Canyon gets really hot! Plan accordingly and bring extra water! It is possible to hike to The Gorge and float all the way back down to the day use area. Start early since the day use area closes at 6 PM and the gates will be locked! If you hike from the day use area add about 1.5 miles onto your hike. The hike from the gate to The Gorge is about 3 miles one way. Therefore, your total hike is between 8-9 miles. That means you need to bring at least two bottles of water!
Weber Creek - Special permission needed to access this great swimming hole. Email me for more information!
Tule River Falls - Awesome swimming hole. This canyon gets really hot, but the hike is fairly short. When we hiked here it was around 112 F in July, 2011. While you are there you might want to consider visiting California Hot Springs!
Yosemite Creek - The water is still very high here. We visited in July, 2011 and could not cross the creek to get to the swimming hole. You may have to approach from the Campground and come up the trail.
Tenaya Lake - Lots of bugs this year in Yosemite! Beware and bring your Badger Bug Balm with Cintronella!
Goat Rock - Great swimming hole, but not that easy to find. If you are looking for warmer waters, head north!
Comments by Members - Important Swimming Hole Notes Summer 2010
Candy Rock - Steep single lane dirt and bumpy road for 3 miles all the way until the parking lot! Runs right along a steep cliff. Take it slow. Hike down to the hole is short, but steep (0.5 miles). Bring extra water, the canyon gets hot! (September, 2010) Buck's Bath - As a local mentioned "If you guys know what is good for you, you will stay off of Beashore Road". What? We just drove 32 miles on a bumpy dirt road and could have just gone past Bass Lake on 274 and then from North Fork taken Minarets for 38 miles (paved) all the way until Clover Meadow! (September, 2010)
God's Bath - The falls are flowing hard. Probably should wait until August, unless you want to do a wet approach or some rock climbing (posted July 11, 2010) North Canyon - The water is still high, but there is some great swimming holes there in the canyon. The shortest route is from the South Yuba Campground. (June)
Mountain Dog/South Yuba - The river has cleaned up nicely. A few months ago the river was dirty due to excessive flooding and run off. The water is now crystal clear and perfect for swimming! (June)
Pot #3, Honeymooners - The water is still too high in June for swimming. The snow melt is just starting!
Garden of Eden - This is the perfect time to hit the Garden! The water is deep and not too cold! Lots of people are taking floatation devices all the way down stream to exit at the Garden. (June)
Salmon Hole - A great place in Big Sur. The water is perfect and the swimming is ideal. Note that Limekiln State Park is closed up the street due to State funding issues. (June)
Rainbow Falls - The water levels are high, but good for swimming. No real crowds yet. Get there early! (June)
The Gorge - The water is at a great temperature in June. The river has been depositing more and more sand in The Gorge area making it shallower. It is only about 8 ft deep near the rock impound. Do not dive or jump from the rocks!
COMMENTS BY MEMBERS - IMPORTANT SWIMMING HOLE NOTES SUMMER 2009
North Canyon- Note that the North Canyon swimming hole is 8.4 miles round trip. The Humbug trail is 2.7 miles. You then need to hike another 1.5 miles on the South Yuba trail to get to the steep switchbacks. Don't forget to bring enough water!
Mushroom Hole - The trail is now blocked. A landowner has constructed an electric fence that prevents access. The only way to reach this hole is by a wet approach.
The Tuolumne- This can be a very hot hike and Canyon. Don't forget to bring enough water! Bathrooms and lunch are available at nearby Evergreen Lodge.
Garden of Eden- The only swimming hole on the San Lorenzo River that has clean swimming water in September.
Yosemite Creek - The water became stagnant in late September. The water is not clean enough to swim in. Pray for rain!
Junction Park - The water levels are the lowest they've been in years. Bring your lunch and have a BBQ instead!