Tahoe Swimming Holes


It is that time of year in Tahoe that is perfect for the locals. The summer crowds have begun to dwindle away as most kids have returned to school, the temperature still reaches the 80’s during the day, and the nights are brisk. What I love the most about this time of year, is that the swimming holes are perfect, the water is at just the right temperature for jumping into and splashing around in…and hardly anyone is there.

A “swimming hole” can be from a stream, river, or any other natural body of water that has spots deep enough for a person to swim in. All summer I wait to visit these holes, I am kind of a wimp when it comes to cold water, so the temperature has to be just right. Also, during spring and early summer the snow is still melting so the water is fast and not safe to swim in. Regardless of the time of year, or how fast the current is, remember to be cautious.

Here are a few of my favorite swimming holes around the Tahoe area. I would not recommend any of these spots for young children.

Potholes-Silver Lake / Carson Pass: 20 minute hike

Miles of granite rock have formed into giant pools along the Silver Fork American River, and some of them are so deep its hard to touch the bottom. With deep blue and dark turquoise waters is an inviting and well known spot to South Tahoe locals, as it easy to get to and there are more then a few swimming holes you can play Marco Polo in. . This use to be a hidden gem, but after a publishing in a guide book it became well known. I recommend going here from mid-summer to end of summer, the water is the perfect temperature.

To get here: This is off HWY 88 on the Carson Pass. Drive towards Silver Lake and across from the lake you will see a green access gate with parking for 4-5 cars. The trail is to the right, walk about 1.5 miles down and you can’t miss the pools.

Horsetail Falls-South Lake Tahoe: 45 minute-1 hour hike

If you enjoy chilly yet refreshing water, then this is a perfect spot to visit towards the end of summer. I know I have written about this hike before, but the swimming is too good not to talk about again. There is only a few spots that you can actually swim around in, but with crystal clear waters from the recent snow melt and the beauty all around you, its hard to not go! Plus there are a number of different rocks you can jump off from. 

To get here
: Highway 50 towards Placerville or Towards South Lake and it will be on your left/right. Parking is $5 and you will hike the Wilderness Bounty Trail. There is a couple swimming spots on the way up towards the base of the fall if you would rather not hike all the way there. If you choose to hike to the bottom you will find two swim spots there.

North Fork Falls-Emigrant Gap: 10-15 min walk

We stumbled upon this spot while camping out in this area a few years ago and we have been coming back ever since. It is my all time favorite swimming hole, and it is a secret spot not many people know about. I have only told a few people about this place because I love it so much. When you take the trail down it is almost like you have entered another world, or like you are in Oregon, it is so lush and green and so very peaceful. That is until you get to waterfall which is only 60 feet or so. You have two different pools as the waterfall has two separate drop off points, both just as deep as the other. I have actually jumped off into them both and have not touched the bottom. The water here is dark blue and quite warm too!

I won’t give out the information for this spot as it is not so well known, but let me know if you find it on your own 😉

Let me know if I should check any other swim spots out before the summer season is over!

I’ll be off hiking as many trails as I can with Baby M before the seasons start changing. Not sure if anyone knows of the “52 Hike Challenge”? But we are so close !!! Happy Labor Day



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