Discover Siskiyou’s Epic Swimming Holes

Siskiyou is home to six designated wild and scenic rivers, as well as hundreds of lakes, creeks and streams. Such rugged beauty makes for some pretty epic swimming spots. Before you head out for a beach day, keep in mind that snowmelt conditions after an epic winter have made certain swimming holes less safe than they normally are in the warm months. Avoid water with fast-moving currents, or where you can see loose debris such as logs and boulders.

Cattle Camp Swimming Hole

Clear and cold, this scenic spot the perfect remedy to the summer sun. If you want to avoid the crowds, the busiest time tends to be between 2-4 pm, once the water has had a chance to warm up. Located just 11 miles east of McCloud on Highway 89, keep your eyes peeled for signs marking Cattle Camp Campground. Stop by any time between October and May, and be aware that the swimming area is day use only.

Jones Beach

Easily accessible with slow-moving water, this swimming hole has long been a favorite among locals. Bring the whole family for a fun-filled afternoon relaxing on the wide sandy beach.  To get there, head 13 miles northwest of Ft. Jones along Scott River Road and look for signs for Jones Beach.

Clear Creek 1 & 2

If you’re looking for crystal-clear water coupled with unspoiled solitude, these two swimming holes are some of Siskiyou’s best. To find them, look for a steep canyon trail marked by a “slippery view” sign off Clear Creek Road, or access via the road in Clear Creek Village.

Upper, Middle & Lower Falls

Who doesn’t love swimming near a waterfall?  Epic swimming with easy access and facilities can be found at the base of each of McCloud’s three scenic waterfalls, just off the McCloud River Loop. For the daring, there are a few places along the Middle Falls where you can jump into the water from the cliffs surrounding — just be sure to be aware of swift currents, floating debris and slippery paths on the way back up. Always exercise caution when jumping into these waters, no matter the height.

“The Eddy”

Indian Creek near Happy Camp may be known for its whitewater, but it also makes for some pretty epic swimming holes — they have even been described as “Jacuzzi-like.” The “Eddy” is a local favorite found about three miles up Indian Creek Road.

Dillon Creek Campground

If you want a cool place to beat the heat while enjoying mountainous terrain, head to Dillon Creek Campground where you’ll find a superb natural swimming hole, located just off the campground along Highway 96. This is known to be one of the most scenic swimming holes in Northern California.

Matthews Creek Swimming Hole

There’s remote solitude, and then there’s Matthews Creek Swimming Hole. Submerge yourself in the cooling emerald waters of the Salmon River for a true Siskiyou experience. To get there, head to the Matthews Creek Campground about 37 miles from Callahan along the Callahan-Cecilville Road.

Cantara Loop

Just five miles north of Dunsmuir, the Cantara loop is a local favorite swimming spot on the Sacramento River, with easy access and a small beach. Finding it is also a breeze. From Cantara Road, head about a mile down to the river, and it’s only a few minutes’ hike to the swimming hole from there.

Dunsmuir City Park

Discover a great swimming hole just a stone’s throw from park facilities at Dunsmuir City Park. This lush city park borders the Upper Sacramento River, with playground facilities and walking trails available for those who prefer to stay dry. Beyond the Botanical Gardens, there are several shaded swimming holes if you follow the trail about a quarter mile.

The Buddha Hole

Also referred to as the Smiling Buddha, this naturally formed swimming hole also doubles as a popular camping and fishing spot. Access is off of W. A. Barr Road past Box Canyon Dam with a steep climb down to the river.

Crystal-clear glacial waters paired with breathtaking natural views make for an epic swimming adventure here in California’s north! Come take a dip and see Siskiyou’s unspoiled beauty for yourself. When you embark on your adventure, keep our WANDER pledge in mind:

W – Walk Only on Trails.

A – Always Keep It Clean

N – Never Take Souvenirs

D – Dogs on Leash

E – Extreme Fire Caution

R – Respect Other Hikers

We ask that you be respectful of the beautiful environment that makes Siskiyou so unique. Help us keep Siskiyou preserved for generations to come! Read the WANDER pledge in full here.