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Choose Your Hole: Three Spots to Do Yourself a Favor and Go Swimming

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holeSometimes it seems that there is a law of physics that determines the quality of a swimming spot that goes something like this: The higher the quality of the spot, the farther you have to drive to get to it. Obviously this is not the case, since if it were, someone smart like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking would have discovered it. In other words, the following swimming holes are great, but you might need to spend some time getting there. So what are the elements that make a good swimming spot? Clean water, decent scenery and more than three feet of depth are the bare minimums. A sandy beach and a cliff for jumping are icing on the cake.

Here are The Messenger’s picks for your last summer underwater hurrah.

McKee Bridge.

Woohoo, a historic bridge. (sound of crickets) Did I mention there is a pretty good place to swim just downstream of the bridge? Located on the Applegate River to the west of Ruch on Upper Applegate Rd, this spot has a nice deep pool although it is a bit on the small side. It also a small cliff on the opposite bank for cliff jumping. The water is cold enough that you might be able to forget about global warming for a few minutes. (Yeah, that’s right. I called it global warming instead of climate change! Whatcha gonna do about it?)

South Fork of the Smith River.

This is the California gold standard of swimming spots, and because of that fact it can get a little crowded. It has everything you could hope for: Water so pure it verges on surreal, a big sandy beach, plenty of room to swim and a few different rocks to jump from. If you are going to Crescent City on Highway 199 you have very little reason to miss this place. About 8 miles after passing the town of Gasquet turn left onto South Fork Rd and drive over the North Fork. There will be a parking lot on your right, with a trail that does down to the South Fork. If you drive over the South Fork you’ve gone too far.

Sacramento River Beach, Delta Rd Beach.

If you are returning from somewhere down south, and the Central Valley (aka Hell) has completely sucked the life out of you, the best thing to restore yourself is a quick swim in the Sacramento River. This spot features a big sandy beach with a more than adequate sized deep section. To get there take the Exit #707 (Delta/Vollmers Rd) and follow Delta Rd down toward the river. When you get to a couple of concrete barriers (one of them is painted with a “no parking) warning) find a place to park nearby. Walk between the two barriers to find the trail on the other side of the railroad tracks to get to the river.
Photo credit: Peter Gandesbery


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