20 Somewhat Secret Swimming Holes

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  • Shelby Trueax

Havasu Falls, AZ

Looking to beat the heat for a day or two? Find your inner cliff-jumper and dive into the best (somewhat) secret swimming holes the U.S. has to offer.

Screw Auger Falls, ME

The Screw Auger Falls are partially responsible for Gulf Hagus’ nickname, “The Grand Canyon of the East.” Dotting the beautiful landscape are several waterfalls and swimming holes; you’ll even get a glimpse of the historic Appalachian Trail.

Paradise Cove, CO

With cliffs ranging from 16 to 100 feet, this super-deep hole is a diver’s dreamland. Hot sun and cold water, back flips and good times. Visit Garden of the Gods on the way home for a stellar post-swim hike.

Candy Rock, CA

A quick scramble and suddenly you’re at one of the most picturesque swimming holes in California. Candy Rock is a naturally luxurious spot in the Turtle River Falls area, with rock shelves for lounging and a swimming hole to dive for.

Yosemite Creek, CA

Surrounded by Yosemite National Park, this sheltered, triangular pool boasts glassy smooth water and stunning views. With several sandy spots and a novice-friendly rock for jumping, Yosemite Creek is a great move on a summer day.

Salome Canyon, AZ

Plunge 30 feet into the cool, deep water of Salome Canyon. That refreshing leap of faith occurs at the end of a half-mile journey through a series of pools in the Salome Wilderness. Be warned; there’re no trails and you’re in deep until you reach the finish line.

Peekamoose Blue Hole, Catskills NY

Escape a sweltering New York summer, enjoying a secret rope swing in the process. With plenty of shade, Blue Hole offers blissful New York relaxation (without the outrageous spa prices).

Buttermilk Falls, ME

The water may be cold, but with under the roasting sun, Buttermilk Falls’ chilly cascades are nothing short of liberating. Keep trekkin’ on; the Pleasant River’s carved out three basins further down the line (if you’re feeling adventurous).

Glen Canyon, UT

Make your Powell trip extraordinary with a visit to the Glen Canyon Recreation Area. This series of secluded swimming holes offers an incredible spectrum of color: blue skies, green water, and red-orange rocks. Once you see this stunning sight, you’ll probably never want to leave.

God's Bath, CA

Rinse off in God’s Bath and ponder your newfound celestial cleanliness. It’s unreal how gorgeous this Sonora, CA swimming hole is; God’s Bath merits an entire day, with cliff jumping, waterfalls, snorkeling and sunbathing at your fingertips.

Mad River, VT

This Mad River swimming hole offers rounded boulders, a grassy setting and energizing waters. This “not-so-secret” hole may have you running into some crowds, but it’s out-of-the-way enough to remain fairly secluded – especially on weekdays.

Devil's Punchbowl, CO

Enjoy cliffs of different heights and even do a little rock climbing (Deep Water Soloing) on the walls of the pool. Smack dab in the middle of the mountains, this spot is sure to bring you some relaxation.

Slide Rock State Park, AZ

Spend your day at Slide Rock sliding through rock chutes in shallow water. The Sedona rock bed’s mellow inclines allow you to sit down, give a little push and let the whitewater do the rest. Explore further to find some scary cliff jumping areas.

Roaring Run Falls, VA

Head into the woods and follow the sound of waterfalls. Once you arrive at Roaring Run, you’ll have your choice from a few different pools, some complete with rock slides. Watch your step – this is a slick one.

Johnsons Shutins, MO

A maze of rock formations formed this collection of individual pools. You can take a dip in a relaxing still water pool, or get more of a cold jacuzzi going in a pocket of rushing whitewater. It gets crowded in the summer; get there early for first pick.

Cummins Falls, TN

This movie set backdrop is complete with a crashing waterfall, stair-like steps and smaller waterfalls. At the bottom, a pool awaits. This spot does require somewhat of a technical approach; you will first have to hike to the overlook, wade across a stream and rely on a rope guide to descend.

Seven Sacred Pools, HI

This popular swimming hole is off the picturesque Road to Hana. There are waterfalls, over a dozen different swimming holes and some places for cliff jumping (although there are signs advising against it). As the day progresses, this dream-like destination on the east side of Maui gets crowded.

Texas Beach, VA

During the summer, The James River is packed with people trying to take a dip. Texas Beach is more of a hidden local spot, perfect to stray away from the crowds. From the beach, chill out, enjoy the flowing water or take a turn on the rope swing. Hike in a cooler if you want to spend the day.

Yuba River, CA

The Yuba River is a veritable trove of hidden gems. This clandestine location mixes boulders, pools and crystal clear water for an unforgettable experience.

Hamilton Pool Preserve, TX

Near the town of Austin, this watering hole was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to erosion. Limestone walls surround this Jade green pool, and the roof of the dome is decorated with stalactites.

Opal Pool, OR

Take a 3.5-mile hike through the forest to reach these sparkling pools. The shady swimming hole doesn’t receive a ton of sunlight, so you’ll be glad to work up a sweat on the way in. Although you’d think the waters were named after their color, the pools were actually named after a park ranger’s wife.

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