It’s officially the best time of year and there’s no better way to cool down in summer than heading for a swim. Sure, your backyard, the community pool, or a trip to the beach is great. But something about embarking on an adventure to an old-fashioned swimming hole out in nature screams summer.
America is home to several unique swimming spots, but here are 5 locations where the journey is as rewarding as the refreshing dip.
1.Havasu Falls, Havasupai Arizona- This not-so-secret oasis in the middle of the Arizona desert is far and away the most enjoyable hike on the list. Located a difficult 10 miles from civilization, there’s only two ways to reach the falls– by helicopter or by a steep and challenging trek. Once you’ve arrived you’ll be reward with pristine turquoise water, 100-foot waterfalls, and views of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. This place rivals the fictional world portrayed in Avatar.
Highlight- You’ll quickly understand why the native word “Havasupai” means “people of the blue-green waters”
Getting There- Park at the lot at Hualapai Hilltop, about 100 miles from the closest town, Seligman, Arizona. Tip: hire the help of a horse or mule from the locals to carry the heavy stuff on your hike.
2.Aztec Falls San Bernardino California- If you’ve spent time recently watching clips from the Red Bull World Diving championships then this swimming hole, then you already know this is one of the best diving spots in Southern California. Jumps vary from 60 feet to 5 feet, so there are plenty of options for divers of all levels. It’s a short half-mile hike to the Aztec swimming hole along the Pacific Crest Trail.
Highlight- Besides being located off the famous Pacific Crest Trail, the 60-foot waterfall jump will put hair on your chest.
Getting There- From San Bernardino, take State Road 18 north and then east for 18 miles to Crest Park. Drive 3.1 miles north on State Road 173 through Lake Arrowhead to Hook Creek Road. Travel 3 miles east on Hook Creek, then bear left a short distance on Squint Ranch Road to a right-hand descent that leads .45 miles to Splinter’s Cabin and access to the Pacific Crest Trail. Hike .4 miles north on the PCT to Aztec. Tip: Meet up with friends at the Starbucks in San Bernadino and carpool up the hill.
3.Peekamoose Blue Hole, Catskills New York- This swimming hole located in the Catskills forest in New York is the ideal summer escape from the concrete jungle. The east coast gets hot and ugly during the summer, and this deep swimming hole is the perfect spot to work on your favorite dive, while escaping the humidity.
Highlight- At the deepest part of the swimming hole there’s a rope swing, where the brave can perform a perfect double-backflip pencil dive.
Getting There- Once in Sundown, New York, go 10 miles on RT 42 until you see a large parking area on the right with a sign for the Peekamoose Mountain area. Park there and follow the signs to the creek.
4.Makapipi Falls Maui, Hawaii- The paradise oasis is the postcard location you search for when visiting Hawaii. The swimming hole depends heavily on rainfall, but luckily Hawaii’s tropical climate provides consistent water that’s needed. The swimming hole is easily visible as the Hana Highway crosses over the Makapipi Stream at the point it drops into the lagoon. The hike to the pool is steep and a bit dangerous but well worth it.
Highlight- Crystal blue waters set amid a tropical paradise
Getting There- Take the main Hana Highway east toward Hana. Just past Mile Marker 25 is the bridge that crosses Makapipi Stream.
5.Carlon Falls, Yosemite California- Year round cold water from the Sierra’s may scare some away, but this 4.5 mile journey up South Fork Tuolumne River is well worth it in the summertime. The 15-foot waterfall that feeds the swimming hole provides the perfect ambiance on a summer day. The cold water is a refreshing escape from the Yosemite heat during the summer months.
Highlight- Relaxing benneath a waterfall in the National Park known for some of the best waterfalls in the world.
Water temp- Cold even in the Summer Months
Getting There- From highway 120 look for the turnoff to Mather and Hetchy Hetchy on Evergreen Road. About a mile along Evergreen Road, look for a pullout on the north side of the bridge near the “Carlon Day Use Area” sign. This pullout is where the Carlon Falls Trail begins.