The 9 Best Swimming Holes for a Backcountry Dip

The 9 Best Swimming Holes for a Backcountry Dip

The 9 Best Swimming Holes for a Backcountry Dip


Getting outside during the summer is the best. There’s camping, fishing, kayaking, and just sleeping under the stars. While all those things are mighty fun, it can be a little hard to enjoy them fully when you’re suffering in the intolerable heat. If you really want to live up your summer in the outdoors, then it’s best to find hikes that end at a swimming hole, so you can not only cool off, but spend the entirety of your day having an awesome time. Here are the best swimming holes to put on your list this summer.

1. Redfish Lake, Idaho

Redfish Lake, swimming holes, swimming, swim, dip

Located in Sawtooth National Recreation Area, Redfish Lake is an alpine lake that will be the perfect place to cool off during the summer. Blue water surrounded by lush mountains, it’s never too hot here, so you can spend as much time soaking up rays as you’d like. Of course, Redfish Lake is only recommended for people who don’t mind swimming with the salmon, many of which call this swimming hole their home.

2. Little River Canyon, Alabama

Little Rock Canyon, swimming holes, swimming, swim

Having a place to splash around is more than necessary in the south, especially in Alabama where summer temperatures average well over 90 degrees and the humidity is raging. That place is Little River Canyon, part of Martha’s Falls. Also known as “Hippie Hole,” Little River Canyon is a great place for people young and old to hang out. The canyon stretches 12 miles long, so you can even have your own little spot.

3. Sliding Rock, North Carolina

Sliding Rock, North Carolina, swimming holes, swim, swimming

Okay, so it’s not quite a swimming hole, but if you think that a Slip-‘N-Slide should be made for adults, then you’ve definitely come to the right place. Sliding Rock, located in Pisgah National Forest, is a “hot” spot over the summer. The angle of these rocks makes a natural water slide, which will take you down into the most refreshing waters you could imagine. For people who are worried about getting scraped up here, you’ll be happy to know that there are lifeguards on duty during the summertime.

4. Bridal Veil Falls, Georgia

Bridal Veil Falls, swimming holes, swim, swimming

If you like the whole concept of slippery rocks, then drive down south a little bit and hit Bridal Veil Falls in Tallulah Gorge State Park. Here, the Georgian’s will tell you that this is the real Sliding Rock, as they have named it. The falls and swimming hole can be reached via the Sliding Rock Trail, which will certainly be a reward when you’re done. Just make sure you get your permit in advance, as this is the only swimming hole in the entire park.

5. Havasu Falls, Arizona

Havasu Falls, Arizona, Swimming, Dip, swimming holes

Havasu Falls are a popular spot in Arizona all year round, but it’s especially popular during the summer months. This little paradise is probably one of the most beautiful and recognizable swimming holes in America. But, what makes this place so special is the effort it takes to get here. You can only find it after a ten mile hike, and that’s not so easy in this state during the summer. If you make it, (we think you will), those cool, crystal clear waters will sure be a nice treat.

6. The Blue Hole, Texas

Blue Hole, Texas, swim, swimming hole

When you think of your traditional swimming hole, what’s the first image that pops into your head? If it looks like a perfectly-sized pool with a rope swing and neatly piled rocks surrounding it all, then you might want to come to The Blue Hole. Here is where Texans come to chill out in the summer. Feel free to bring a tube and just relax on the water all day. There will be many others doing the same thing.

7. Devil’s Punchbowl, Colorado

Devil's Punchbowl, Colorado, swimming holes, swim, dip

If you’re looking for a little adrenaline rush this summer, then look no further than Devil’s Punchbowl. Trust us when we say that it’s absolutely as daring as it sounds, as many people come here to climb the cliffs and jump down over 20 feet below into the water. Located in Aspen, the pool lies along the Roaring Fork River near Independence Pass. When you’re done with your dip, the surrounding area is a beautiful place to hike and explore.

8. Cummins Falls, Tennessee

Cummins Falls, swimming holes, swim, dip

Cummins Falls is hands down one of the best swimming holes in the U.S., and many visitors come from far away to experience it. The hike to the falls is a bit of a challenge, which is great for the adventurous guys who feel the need to work hard before relaxing. Everything about this place is a hiker’s dream, from the scenic hikes and gorgeous falls, to the amazing atmosphere that envelops this place.

9. Pe’epe’e Falls, Hawaii

Hawaii, swimming holes, swim, dip

If you ever want to experience endless swimming holes paired with unforgettable scenery, then Hawaii is no doubt the place to go. Choosing just one swimming hole out of the many is not easy decision, but to help you, we recommend Pe’epe’e Falls. This swimming hole is 1.5 miles up from Rainbow Falls, and not so easy to get to. Keep your eye on the current, and brace yourself for an exhilarating hike and beautiful swim!

Don’t end the summer without going to one of these swimming holes first!


hanalarock I'm Hana- a freelance travel writer and teacher who currently lives in South Korea. I'm originally from New York, but have spent the last two years traveling and living abroad. My first time hiking in the US was when I traveled around the country as a teenager. Though, my first adult backpacking trip was a year ago, when I hiked from Thailand down to Singapore for a month. I'm looking forward to many more adventures in the future. Visit my site for more information.