Day Use Site 11 along the Molalla River offers a swimming destination close to Portland that feels remote and removed from the crowds of other locations. As you drive up the watershed, signs marking the site number as well as specific restrictions regarding day use can be found mounted in the trees. The numbers referenced here match the numbers on the signs along the river.
A gorgeous deep hole, this swimming spot offers jewel tone colors and a sandy entrance into the water. The short steep descent to the main pool has tree roots for handles and convenient stairs. Swimming here, the columnar basalt, twisting and swirling on the steep hillsides is in full view.
High banks right around the pool give this location decent shade in late afternoon. Slightly downstream are shallower riffles, rocks that are good habitat for crawfish and salamanders, and enough sunshine to work on a tan. Above, large spruce trees create a needle-carpeted picnic space to spread out and enjoy lunch. As with most sites along the Molalla, parking can be limited. While the Molalla sees less traffic than places in the Columbia Gorge, this special river corridor is fragile and needs protection. By practicing Leave No Trace principles, the pristine waters stay clean and picnic areas stay enjoyable for the next visitor. There is little support infrastructure here, so all trash should be packed out.
For other swimming options nearby, check out: