Best Swimming Holes, Rope Swings and Waterfalls in Northern California

The severe drought continues, but have no fear! There are still lots of deep pools to keep yourself cool this summer (with some awesome campsites nearby). Here are some of our favorite aqua-sites to take a dip in Northern California right now.

Important disclaimer to all of our adrenaline-jumper-junkies out there: Remember to look (and check your landing!) before you leap—this is especially important now that water levels are lower than usual. Read up on local conditions, check your landings, never jump alone, know your limits, and always jump feet first.

Looking for Southern California swimming holes? Look here!

Natural Bridges, Calaveras County

Photo: Faye P.

It’s only an easy 2-mile downhill trek to this beautiful limestone cavern that you can actually swim through. Hip-tip: stick to the trail and watch out for the poison oak on the way in.

Nearby camps: Dam Camp, Wondernut Farm, Tree House, Wondernut Farm

Candy Rock and Blue Streak, Avery

Photo: Justin Briggs

Feeling adventurous? The rocks on one side of the Candy Rock swimming hole are perfectly angled for a natural slide (just add your own water). Feeling REALLY adventurous? The namesake rock is 30-feet high, primed and ready for jumping. Blue Streak is another spot just downstream that also has a bunch of rocks to jump off of if you need a warm up.

Nearby camps: Gold Creek Cabin, Under the Oaks

Gull Lake Rope Swings, June Lake

Photo: Brett Lockhart

In the summer, escape the crowds of families at June Lake for Gull Lake, the smaller lake just to the south accessible via the Gull Lake Trial. On the western edge of the lake, you will stumble upon two rope swings, and likely some sort of impromptu party. (You’ll get lots of love if you bring speakers and some good music.) If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can also jump from the top of that tree!

Nearby camps: Lakeshore Car Camping, Old Yosemite Base Camp, 1000 Acres Cattle Ranch, RWK River Ranch Camp, Sky Ranch

Hatchet Falls/Lion Slide Falls, Shasta County

Photo: Patrick Mueller

Waterfall? Check. Deep swimming holes? Check. Tree staircase? Check! Do we need to say anymore? This place is so rad!

Nearby camps: Upper Falls, Sasquatch Meadows, Shasta View Treehouse, Shasta View Meadow, Odin’s Helm Camp

Hoyt’s Crossing, South Yuba River

Photo: thjoyce

The Yuba River is home to many-a-swimming holes, especially for those who enjoy a good skinny dip! Hoyt’s Crossing is probably one of the most famous places, but you can scope out a private spot if you know where to look!

Nearby camps: Yuba Yurt, Muirs Muse Retreat, Tee-Pee Hollow, Organic Farm Retreat, Yuba River Cabins, Irish Creek Camp, Forest Camping, Trailer in the Woods, Forest Homestead

Hipcamp Staff

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