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Red Rock Pool

Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, California

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Red Rock Pool
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  • The trail to the pool has a sizable parking area at the end of Paradise Road.- Red Rock Pool
  • The beginning of the .5-mile trail begins behind the gate.- Red Rock Pool
  • A level trail leading up the river canyon.- Red Rock Pool
  • A short scenic walk with the mountains surrounding you.- Red Rock Pool
  • There are multiple coves and beaches around the crescent-shaped pool.- Red Rock Pool
  • Rocks for jumping off of!- Red Rock Pool
  • Surveying the swimming hole.- Red Rock Pool
  • A swimming hole in a scenic riverbed.- Red Rock Pool
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Rock jumps. Scenic area.
Cons: 
Seasonal flow. Heavily littered. Poison oak.
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Region:
Santa Barbara + Sierra Madre/San Rafael Mountains, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Cliff jumping
Sandy beach
Parking Pass: 
California Adventure Pass
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

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.

Cliff Jumping Safety

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.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(2 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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