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Swimming Holes

Updated on September 19, 2017

Spend a hot summer afternoon in the nearest swimming hole

I live in swimming hole country, near the Klamath River in Northern California. We don't swim in the river - we swim in the creeks! The creeks have clean, clear water.

Hot days, sweat, and that lazy, exhausted feeling. All these can be cured by a dip in a countryside swimming hole. I am lucky to live in a town where there are swimming holes all around. I invite you to visit us here and check out some of the local summer cooling-off places.

Where I live: Happy Camp, California is a small town of about 1200 people. We're located deep in the heart of the Klamath National Forest. During the summer there's plenty to do here, including gold prospecting, rafting, and hiking. And of course, there are the lovely swimming holes to cool off in.

Later in this lens I'll invite you to tell us about swimming holes in your area. I'll also list books about swimming holes in other areas.

Images on this page are mine unless otherwise noted or from Amazon. © 2012.

Klamath River Valley

Swimming Holes

Clear Creek Swimming Holes

Clear Creek is five miles southwest of Happy Camp, just past the Wingate River Access. There's an old store there that's been converted into a home. Park across the street next to the telephone and hike down the path to the creek for a great swimming hole experience.

To get more wild with it, you can go back to Wingate and turn left on Clear Creek Road. Drive eight miles on this rural dirt road ... don't stop until the end of the road. There you'll find a little campground, and a trail head for the Siskiyou Wilderness. Walk a mile or two along this path, next to Clear Creek, and you'll find several beautiful swimming holes just before the footbridge that crosses the creek into the wilderness area.

The Eddy - Happy Camp's Most Popular Swimming Hole

... three miles north of Happy Camp on Indian Creek Road.

The Eddy in Indian Creek is one of the best-known swimming holes in the Happy Camp area. There are steep rocks to climb down, but then a good sized area suitable for small children to wade in so long as their parents watch closely, and a much deeper place for older people to swim with rocks to jump off of.

My boyfriend and I like to go downstream a bit to swim across the creek to a rock formation where we can get out and rest in sun or shade. Very relaxing!

My son who is a bit more adventurous has gone tubing down Indian Creek many times, from this location to the confluence with the Klamath River.

Laughing Waters Spa

...a favorite place of mine.

I gave this place the name of Laughing Waters Spa. We spent a lot of time in it last summer. It is in the South Fork of Indian Creek near the bridge. You can spend a few minutes sitting under the little waterfall getting a nice natural upper-back massage. This is something like having a jacuzzi, but very natural and comforting. One day a snake joined us there. Don't be surprised if nature steps in. Little fishes live there too. Take goggles to have a look beneath the surface.

You can find more information about Laughing Waters Spa here: Laughing Waters Spa.

Elk Creek Swimming Holes

You can't find a cleaner, more pristine and clear stream than Elk Creek - a cool, delicious dip in the finest water which flows from the Marble Mountain Wilderness south of the Klamath River.

To get there, go to Happy Camp, that precious jewel of a community in the center of the Klamath National Forest, and cross the Elk Creek Bridge which is paradoxically the big bridge over the Klamath River. We call it the Elk Creek Bridge because it leads to Elk Creek Road. You'll need to turn right and when the road forks less than a mile from the bridge, take the left fork. That puts you directly on Elk Creek Road. Follow that road five miles to Five Mile Bridge. There, just before the bridge, you can go straight onto a dirt road which leads to a New 49er mining claim. There's a small swimming hole area at the first turn-off. There's an even better swimming hole area at the next turn-off.

But don't stop there. If you want something really challenging and fun, go another seven miles down the road (turning left, turning left) to Sulphur Springs Campground, a forest-service hosted oasis. There's a small hot spring there you can get into for your health and relaxation. Cross the foot bridge and turn right to get to the hot spring area. Or turn left and head down the Elk Creek Trail toward the Marble Mountains.

Before long you'll come to an amazing, deep swimming hole surrounded by huge boulders. This is a great place to swim, and the rocks are there for jumping off of. It is so very beautiful! But one warning - to get out of this swimming hole can be difficult, and if you're not in great shape, you might have trouble. I recommend this one for the youthful, athletic types. The rest of us can sit on the boulders, enjoy the water-fallish rapids just above the swimming hole, and relax. Oh, and one more warning... a bit of insect repellent would come in handy.

Southern Oregon

Swimming Holes

The Illinois River

...outstanding swimming holes in Southern Oregon.

During the summer we love to go over the hill to Southern Oregon. They have some of the most beautiful swimming holes I've ever seen. To find some easily accessible swimming holes in the Illinois River, go north from Selma (you'll have to ask locals there for directions) along the river. There are many places to get out to swim, some developed and some not. This gives an exceptional swimming experience for the whole family.

Illinois River, Southern Oregon

Illinois River, Southern Oregon
Illinois River, Southern Oregon

... just a poll to let us know what people like best.

Where do you swim?

See results

Your Swimming Hole Stories - ...where do you swim?

Submit a Comment

  • Tricia Deed profile image

    Tricia Deed 

    4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

    I have swum in those swimming holes, but now I swim in the ocean.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Thanks for sharing

  • Linda BookLady profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Jo Martin 

    6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @alicialoyd: Yes, being connected with nature is a beautiful thing.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Swimming hole is much more connected to the environment, really great for lazy days.

  • alex89 lm profile image

    alex89 lm 

    6 years ago

    I went to a swimming hole in Ethiopia once, and that was fun.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    For most people the old swimming hole is just a dream. Ah, you live in paradise! Thanks for a wonderful lens.

  • Linda BookLady profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Jo Martin 

    6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @lbrummer: If you stay out of the current (if it is a river or creek) and away from deep water, you can still enjoy a swimming hole. Most of what I do is sit near the edge.

  • lbrummer profile image

    Loraine Brummer 

    6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

    I'm not a swimmer, but I love to sit along the side and watch my children and grandkids enjoy the water. My attempts at swimming only convinced me that I should stay out of water deeper than my waist.

  • Linda BookLady profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Jo Martin 

    6 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

    @xriotdotbiz lm: Thanks for the vote of confidence! I haven't been into a swimming hole this year yet... but I plan to be there soon.

  • xriotdotbiz lm profile image

    xriotdotbiz lm 

    6 years ago

    This lens was my choice for the First Day of Summer quest.

    I enjoy swimming holes when I can find them, grew up with them. Little Perch swimming up to you trying to bite you, throwing rocks in to scare away the snakes, and not worrying about towels- drip dry. Miss the old days in the creek.

  • carcamping lm profile image

    carcamping lm 

    7 years ago

    I grew up in Ga where we swam in swimming holes. The water was clean and usually cold but we learned to be excellent swimmers!

  • carcamping lm profile image

    carcamping lm 

    7 years ago

    I grew up in Georgia where we also swam in swimming holes in the creeks. It was great because as you said, the water was clear but it was also cold usually. It was good exercise and we all learned to be excellent swimmers.

  • mermaidlife profile image


    7 years ago

    Very enticing swimming holes. They are so important during summer months.

  • thecrabbynook profile image


    7 years ago

    Thank you for the walk down memory lane! When I was growing up we swam in rock quarries. Clean and clear water. The only thing we had to worry about was making sure we jumped in far enough from the sides.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    My only swimming hole experience was on the River Wye in about 1973 while rapid running. I went down a 3ft high waterfall and went under for what seemed like ages. It was cold and I was wearing awet suit so nothing like your swimming holes.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    i like to swim in the river

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    i like to swim too.

  • brbrooks profile image


    7 years ago

    I love the beautiful pictures on your lens.

  • LaraineRoses profile image

    Laraine Sims 

    7 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

    This brings back some fond memories of my childhood. We lived in a little town in the Kootenay Mountains. We had a favorite swimming hole similar to the ones you have mentioned here. Thanks for the memories.

  • Close2Art LM profile image

    Close2Art LM 

    7 years ago

    Love this lens, it makes me want to go down to a creek and do some swimming, maybe even a rope swing out of a limb...good times :)RWJR

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Neat lens idea!

  • julietarot lm profile image

    julietarot lm 

    7 years ago

    I've only swum in the sea and in a dam and in swimming pools. I'd love to swim in some of the places shown on this lens, they look really inviting.

  • LiquidGranite1 profile image


    7 years ago

    Great places!

  • Joyce Mann profile image

    Joyce T. Mann 

    7 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

    When I visit friends and family in Tucson, Arizona i love to check out a swimming hole or two in Sabino Canyon. A fun lens!

  • jctatum profile image


    8 years ago

    These are some really nice places!

  • LotusMalas profile image


    8 years ago

    All of these places look delicious! I want to swim!

  • Lady Lorelei profile image

    Lorelei Cohen 

    8 years ago from Canada

    Ooooh you make me long to be a kid again. I grew up in a tiny community known as Bear Lake and we spent almost each summer day at the local lake swimming....thank you for the reminder :)

  • callinsky lm profile image

    callinsky lm 

    8 years ago

    We have a swimming hole called Little Stony Falls in the Coeburn/Norton VA area. You have to hike into it, but it is beautiful and has a waterfall.

    Wonderful article. It looks like a lot of fun. The photos are gorgeous as well!

  • Utsahan profile image


    8 years ago

    In Cabuya, Costa Rica when the tide goes out there are tidepools on Cabuya Island (reachable by foot during low tide).

  • Mickie Gee profile image

    Mickie Goad 

    8 years ago

    Smith Lake in Alabama is not exactly a "swimming hole" but it has the cleanest water in the region.

    You are lucky to know of some great places to swim.

  • EditPhotos profile image

    Edit Photos 

    8 years ago from Earth

    Great Lens. Squidoo Angel Thumbs Up!

  • ArtByLinda profile image

    Linda Hoxie 

    8 years ago from Idaho

    I love this lens, Oregon has some really beautiful swimming holes! Thanks for being part of the Exploring Oregon Group. I have just updated our group and wanted to invite all the lensmasters to see our new facelift! 5* to a great Squidoo Lensmaster!


  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Lovely lens with gorgeous pictures. If I wasn't afraid of the water, I would want to go swimming in a swimming hole!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great lens work


  • profile image


    9 years ago

    No swimming holes around here that don't have alligators in them, so I go to the ocean. Too bad. I love waterfalls!

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Just swim in my grandmother's fish pond

  • Ramkitten2000 profile image

    Deb Kingsbury 

    9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

    I much prefer swimming holes to the beach or pools. Around here, though (Northern Arizona), we really have to work to get to (and from) them most of the time, meaning a hot hike in and out. But it's worth it!

  • sittonbull profile image


    9 years ago

    I grew up learning to swim in a farm pond which was our primo swimming hole. When it rained it would get muddy with silt and we shared it with the cows, but it was heaven to us...muddy or clear. We also found great swimming holes in the rivers and creeks... especially the Chatooga River (where "Deliverance" was filmed and it is the NWestern border between SC, NC and Ga ) and the Whitewater River in Western NC. After my tour of duty in the Army, my pard & I bathed and swam in many rivers, lakes and hot springs as we made our way via 750 Honda's on our 3 month Easy Rider trip back home from Ft. Lewis, Washington to Chicago and to SC. Hard to beat a cool dip in the creek after a hot day or 2 of hard riding. Loved this lens with stars and a fav.

  • James43302 profile image


    10 years ago

    hello, when I was growing up I mostly swam in swimming holes. We swam in lakes, rivers, ponds. Some was made for swimming like a campground but others wasn't. I mostly don't like to swim in swimming holes anymore because of the rocks, especially big rocks. But by the time I was a teen most of the swimming holes was blocked off. Either from private owners or city because of dangers or because of people parting and leaving messes. We never did, in fact we have cleaned up other peoples messes and then we left we always left it clean.

    II wonder how many times swimming holes has been blocked off. Maybe this could be your nest poll. Also how many people clean up can be a poll too.

    I gave you 5 stars. Good luck! :)

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    I've actually been to Happy Camp, but I didn't swim. I saw a baseball game. There's nothin' like a good swimming hole. The water's always fresh.

  • naturegirl7s profile image

    Yvonne L B 

    10 years ago from Covington, LA

    I loved your lens. I grew up in the country and still love to swim in natural bodies of water. Please consider joining my new (and first) group Naturally Native Squids. The Naturally Native Squids group welcomes lenses about nature, animals (both wild and rescued), native plants, gardening (especially ecologically healthy gardening), green living including recycling and all things natural.

  • SusannaDuffy profile image

    Susanna Duffy 

    10 years ago from Melbourne Australia

    You're not afraid of anything in the water? It's quite safe? No crocodiles? I do hope not 5* for such a cheeful lens that evokes memories as well as giving useful information on finding swimming holes. I want to jump in one now.

  • AlisonMeacham profile image


    10 years ago

    You have a great collection of lenses. Keep going to get to 50!

    You have been Blessed by a Squid Angel

  • ArtByLinda profile image

    Linda Hoxie 

    10 years ago from Idaho

    Hi, welcome to the Exploring Oregon Group! This is a great lens, we have a special swimming hole in Idaho called Lost Creek Falls, it has a ledge people jump off, falls that you can actually slip underneath, and a lazy pool with a shallow end for children. 5 star*****. Keep up the good work! Linda

  • Tiddledeewinks LM profile image

    Tiddledeewinks LM 

    10 years ago

    Great lens idea. I don't swim, but my mom and siblings all swam in ponds and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    It sure beats a crowded swimming pool. I have owned property with inground pools that I would have traded in a heartbeat for a piece of property with a clean fresh swimming hole.

  • eccles1 profile image


    10 years ago

    What a wonderful looking place YES I like to be swimming there now!

  • Winter52 LM profile image

    Winter52 LM 

    10 years ago

    The old swimming hole. Now that brought back a lot of memories from my university days. Haven't thought of it in years, but my Mom still lives in that town... I should check to see if it's still there?? It would have to be wouldn't it?? 5 stars because it brought back so many memories.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    its true that this lens is very nature lover:) I am happy to see this kind of lens and proud to have this pics view! keep it up.. 5 stars!

  • TonyPayne profile image

    Tony Payne 

    10 years ago from Southampton, UK

    I have mostly swum in the ocean. One of the few rivers I have swum in was in Suriname. It was called "Cola Creek" by the locals, because the water is the color of Coke. Not dirty water, but clean and full of minerals. Anymore than 1" below the surface it's pitch black. But lovely and cooling to swim in, especially as it's really humid out there. 5***** for a great lens.

  • BFunivcom profile image

    Allan R. Wallace 

    10 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

    I swim mostly in the ocean, though there are a few hidden coves that feel like an old swimming hole. Nature will join you there too.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    This lens makes me want to go out and find a swimming hole :) thank you for that.

  • aka-rms profile image

    Robin S 

    10 years ago from USA

    I'm a pool person but I loved your lens!

  • ElizabethJeanAl profile image


    10 years ago

    We used to swim in the gravel pits near my parent's farm. It was a dangerous thing to do. A 'swimming hole' is a much better option.

    nice lens



  • RuthCoffee profile image

    Ruth Coffee 

    10 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

    Fabulous lens idea. I haven't personally used it, but I've seen people here in an area called the "pot holes". It is a shaded, somewhat shallow creek area where I guess the limestone has hollowed out in spots, it has formed pockets of deep water so that those who go there get their own hottub sized cool water soaking spot. Not ideal for swimming, but great for cooling off.

  • Teacher Adez7 profile image

    Teacher Adez7 

    10 years ago

    Hi Linda, Those are great swimming holes and remind me of a few of my own in northern Michigan. Those were the days, weren't they! Love it. :) *****

  • Kanga LM profile image

    Kanga LM 

    10 years ago

    Wow, you have some beautiful swimming holes in your area! We've got some great ones in Australia too, although in some places you can't swim in them because of the crocodiles... Great lens!


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