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If You Didn’t Know About These 7 Swimming Holes In Northern California, They’re A Must Visit

Looking for a little cool relief from the summertime heat? Or, maybe you hunger for a fun way to make some epic memories. Either way, Northern California has you covered. We’ve included a few more swimming holes you need to add to that bucket list of yours. Check out the photos and even a few videos below. Call a couple friends, load up on the sunscreen and bring a few snacks, then head to these life-changing swimming holes. Don’t forget to take a few selfies once you get there. It’s important to remind everyone what they’re missing.

4. Oregon Creek Swimming Hole, Middle Fork Yuba River

What makes this spot so amazing is that it’s easily accessed but not marked. This means way fewer folks to crowd out your summer fun. There are smooth granite slabs to throw out your towel, or enjoy a few cannonballs from some jutted out rocks. There are natural jacuzzis in this place to hang out awhile, or grab your cutie-pie and sit behind the waterfall.

Directions: Take I-80, exit Hwy. 49 NB to Nevada City. Go 16.3 miles up Hwy 49 past Nevada City. Cross the bridge over the Middle Yuba River—marked by a “Yuba County Line” sign—and the Oregon Creek day use area. You’re going to drive another mile past the sign and day-use spot, look for a small two-car pull-out on the east (right) side of Hwy 49 at the 1.00 mile marker sign. Park here and walk down the dirt path just a couple minutes. You have arrived!

5. Henry Cowell State Park Swimming Hole, Santa Cruz

This swimming hole goes by a few names, like Big Rock Hole and some even call it The Garden of Eden. Either way, the end game is the same. Fun. Refreshing. Exhilarating. Did we mention fun?

Directions: It’s easy to find once you’re inside Henry Cowell park, but there are a couple of ways to get here. The easiest way to arrive on foot is to walk a moderately steep .5 hike downhill, forging the riverbed, and crossing a redwood barrier. The basin is on the other side.

6. Candy Rock, Calaveras County

Known by the locals, this is the place to be when the summer heat starts to drive you crazy. You’ll find lots of flat rocks for sunbathing and shaded areas to get a little refuge from the sun. Lots of teenagers and young adults consider this a favorite with 12 foot cliff jumps to practice on before heading to the big boy, Candy Rock!

Directions: Located in the Stanislaus National Forest, Candy Rock is at the end of an old dirt road, just north of the town of Murphys. According to one hiker, “After turning down the three miles of potholes and gravel known as Candy Rock Road, you arrive at a roundabout where you park anywhere. Then .25 miles of stairs leads you to the first swimming hole.”

7. Blue Streak, Calaveras County

This swimming hole is even more obscure than Candy Rock, but apparently they’re neighbors. It gets its name from a giant blue streak of granite that seems to be nature’s way of marking the spot. I had a tougher time finding good directions for this big boy, so make sure to read the comments for that kind person to share the best way to get there. P.S. There is a swimming hole in El Dorado County with the same name. Don’t confuse the two.

Directions: Up past Murphys and Angels Camp, about 2 hours Southeast from Sacramento, according to one YouTuber. Looks like they really want to keep this one secret. If you know where Candy Rock is then you can find Blue Streak. It’s about one mile downstream from Candy Rock.

Having a tough time choosing where to go? I’m about to make it even harder. Here are 11 more swimming holes in your neck of the woods that are just waiting on you to show up and have a little summer fun. Nobody said this would be easy.

Joanne Kraft
Joanne is a fourth-generation Northern Californian. She knows good sour dough bread when she tastes it and understands the best parts of the Golden State are nowhere near Los Angeles.