Want to cool off during the summer? Go to the beach. Not near the water? Try a public swimming pool. Looking for something a little more outdoorsy? Head to a lake. Alright, but what if you’re looking for some things to do where you can get wet and tack on some off-the-beaten path exploration at the same time? Well, that’s where swimming holes come in.
Part day trip, part wilderness trek, these mountainous oases offer a cool dip in a scenic locale, oftentimes at the end of a waterfall hike. If you’re not afraid of a bit of walking and a risk of fecal bacteria—we’re only half joking—then reward yourself with a dip in one of these swimming holes near L.A.
A few notes before you head out: Water levels vary with the season and drought conditions; the warm summer weather unfortunately coincides with L.A.’s driest stretch of the year, so be advised these swimming holes may be more like “wading holes.” If it does happen to rain, you may want to wait a few days before putting your toes in, lest you want to fool around with E. coli. Additionally, all of these swimming holes require moderate hikes to access them. Rocks are hard, slippery and unforgiving, so please stay on the trails and don’t climb onto or jump off of any boulders.