Dip Your Toes in One of These NorCal Watering Holes

Jump. Dip. Swim. Repeat.

Looking to cool off this summer? 7×7 recently featured a handful of perfect watering holes for an afternoon plunge. Here are a few favorites:

Richardson Grove Swimming Hole

“Richardson Grove is one of Humboldt County’s beloved redwood state parks. During hot summer months, visitors’ attention will likely be drawn beyond the shade of the giant redwood trees toward the South Fork of the Eel River, where a stretch of tranquil swimming holes and beaches offers respite from the heat.

Richardson Grove’s main swimming hole is located across from a jumping rock with a deep pool below. Jumping options range from 5 to 20 feet in height. Shade is limited, so bring a beach umbrella.”

Cherry Flat Swimming Hole

“Cherry Flat lies a few miles upstream from Trinity Lake along the Stuart’s Fork of the Trinity River. This watershed begins in the heart of the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area at Sapphire and Emerald Lakes. Until the late 1950s, Stuart’s Fork fed directly into the Trinity River. At this time, Trinity Dam was being constructed as part of the Central Valley Project to supply water to the San Joaquin Valley.

Despite the history of human activity around Cherry Flat, immediately upstream the river is protected by the Forest Service, which helps the water stay pristine. Cherry Flat also lies in the Trinity National Forest, a place teeming with wildlife. On the short one-mile walk to the swimming hole, it is common to see black-tailed deer, various birds of prey, or rattlesnakes.”

Middle Falls, McCloud River

“Located a mile upstream from Lower Falls, Middle Falls is the second in a trio of waterfalls referred to as McCloud Falls, on the Upper McCloud River running southeast of Mount Shasta. Larger than both Lower and Upper Falls in drop and breadth, Middle Falls is an incredibly scenic 40-foot waterfall with a curtain-like appearance.

While less popular than Lower Falls, perhaps because it’s slightly less accessible, Middle Falls also provides an inviting pool and swimming hole. The pool is accessed by walking a quarter-mile path from the parking area and overlook down to the river. A bit of scrambling over basalt boulders is required. The spring-fed water of the McCloud River is certainly chilly, but it is inviting and refreshing on hot summer days.”

Highway 49 Crossing

“Polished, house-size granite boulders and enticing emerald pools are what you’ll find at the Highway 49 Crossing, a scenic and accessible stretch along the South Yuba River.

This popular swimming hole welcomes visitors who want to escape the summer heat in the Sierra foothills. Making four crossings within South Yuba River State Park, Highway 49 explores California’s Gold Country and historic mining communities. One can easily imagine miners panning for gold in the rugged river canyon. In fact, you just may see gold panning in action, as it is still practiced in the area by hobbyists and tourists alike.”

Check out all 15 swimming holes here.