Red Rock Pool is a popular swimming hole in a crescent bend along the Santa Ynez River in the forest about an hour's drive from Santa Barbara. Very popular during the warm season when the river is flowing, the area can see large crowds and also all the litter and graffiti on rocks from being a popular spot.
During periods of river flow, the pool is deep enough to jump off of the rocks of varying heights, and some even jump off the rocks about 35 feet above the water.
The trail itself is a short 0.5-mile walk with a hill about 50 feet tall, after which the pool is visible down a slope to the right. More swimming holes - which become successively less crowded - are located further along the trail, which continues another 3 miles to Gibralter Dam.
The boulders are also home to a population of swallows, whose nests line many of the rocks in the pool area.
Parking for Red Rock Pool is located at the end of Paradise Road. Drive until you reach a gate blocking access, and do not stop at the Red Rock Day Use Area. A California Forest Adventure Pass is required, which can be purchased at Los Prietos Campground located about 3.5 miles down Paradise Road from Highway 154. Water is available at the Lower Oso Day Use Area, about 4.5 miles away from the pool parking area.
Be aware that poison oak lies along the trails and in the areas you must pass through to get to the pools.
Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.