Edged by one of the most prized coastlines in the United States, Los Angeles is a gateway to unbeatable beaches, no doubt. But, there comes a time when a crowded shoreline just isn’t daring enough for Angelenos. The desire to explore takes charge. That’s when those in the know run for the hills, put on their hiking boots, pack their swimsuit and succumb to their adventurous side by jumping into one of our many natural swimming holes.
Formed by nature and setting the perfect scene for a summer’s day, LA’s swimming holes are never more than half an hour away, but make you feel a world away from the traffic and the madness of the city. Although LA’s natural pools—most of them complete with breathtaking waterfalls—draw crowds on holidays and weekends, there’s still a sense of connectivity and wonder. With the August temperatures staying high, there’s no reason not to add this to your summer 2017 bucket list.
1. Malibu Creek Rock Pool
Located in the beautiful Malibu Creek Park, where there are 15 miles of streamside trails, oak trees, sycamores, volcanic rock and expansive vistas, lies the Malibu Creek Rock Pool. As though it was plucked out of a film, this scenic experience is where many locals go to cool off in the midst of nature. Surrounded by massive boulders of volcanic rock, the pool is a go-to for nature-lovers and thrill-seekers alike; many of whom jump off the boulders and right into the water. The place is as full of nature as it is with people, sunbathers crowding the area after an easy 1.5 mile hike. Nevertheless, turn a blind eye to the crowds and add this experience to your list of summer retreats. You won’t regret it.
Get directions to Malibu Creek Rock Pool here.
2. Switzer Falls
The San Gabriel Mountains get a lot of fame these days. Why? Beyond being just a nice backdrop for LA, the San Gabriel’s boast some of the most beautiful falls and swimming holes within. Switzer Falls is located in the Angeles National Forest and takes the badge as the most accessible and popular waterfall around. Because of this, you can certainly expect large crowds; but, that’s no reason to turn away. The waterfalls fall from 50 feet, which is a delightful treat after a short 3 mile hike. With crystal clear water that dances in the sun’s rays, this popular destination is the perfect way to cool off in the summer heat. You’ll also find additional pools both along the way and beyond Switzer Falls, if you wish to embark upon a longer hike.
Get directions to Switzer Falls here.
3. Cooper Canyon Falls
Also taking up residence in the Angeles National Forest is Cooper Canyon Falls. If you opt for the Burkhart Trail in the middle of your hike, you’ll find yourself mesmerized by the flowing waterfall before you. The elevation change is apparent as you descend into a shady canyon and babbling creek. As you move through the hike you’ll eventually reach the falls which, following a particularly wet winter, is breathtakingly fluid. Because of the elevation change, making it a more challenging hike, you’ll find that this spot doesn’t get as crowded. So, if it’s a bit of serenity you seek, this is just the place for you.
Get directions to Cooper Canyon Falls here.
4. Hermit Falls
Hermit Falls is a particularly special place by virtue of its makeup of slate stone, making it feel like the ultimate natural retreat. Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, Hermit Falls starts with a descent from Chantry Flats and subsequently upward to enchanting views. Along the way, be sure to admire the manmade dam shaded by trees and foliage. Once you finally arrive at Hermit Falls, the destination’s magnificence is finally revealed. The waterfall, bordered by ledges, makes it an ideal place to bask in the sun’s glow and jump into the swimming holes. At times, a natural waterslide forms when the rocks and the cascade meet. Another busy spot, Hermit Falls is best experienced on weekdays to avoid the crowds.
Get directions to Hermit Falls here.
5. Solstice Canyon
Solstice Canyon is not only perfect for idyllic hikes, dog walking, picnics and nature exploration, but also for serene summer swimming. Tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains, this natural wonder shows off almost immediately with the Solstice Waterfall. Located just off PCH, this charming hike transports you into another world with it’s picturesque beauty. Delve deeper into the canyon and you’ll behold a series of cool small pools. Weekdays are best, as you will most likely have the pools all to yourself.
Get directions to Solstice Canyon here.