During the heat of California summers, folks escape the cities to take a dip in Deep Creek. In a river dotted with inviting swimming holes, Aztec Falls is one of the most perfect. As such, it gets crowded on almost any summer day, but it makes a great place to bring your friends and meet a few new ones. The moderate 1-mile hike along the Pacific Crest Trail to get here makes the chilly water all the more refreshing. One short but very steep section guards the final descent to the falls, so wear good shoes and be careful.
A short cascade feeds the pool and gives the name Aztec Falls. The bottom is lined with large boulders and bedrock that create variation from wading depths to very deep holes. Gently sloping rocks around the rim are perfect for lounging and sunbathing.
A major attraction here is cliff diving. Numerous ledges from 5 feet to over 40 feet are easy to scramble onto and launch off of. Clear water makes the landing zones fairly simple to spot, but you should always use caution and check depth before jumping.
There is a $5 fee to park at Splinter's Cabin Trailhead unless you display a California Adventure Pass or Interagency Pass on your vehicle.
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.