Situated between the Willamette River and Interstate 205 is one of the Portland area's most popular and heavily-used swimming holes. It is certainly the quaint and sleepy community of Gladstone's most visited destination. For nearly a century, Portland residents have flocked to High Rocks on the Clackamas to escape the mid-summer heat. Here, just before the Clackamas converges with the Willamette, the river widens, deepens, and slows, creating a natural urban swimming pool.
Historically, locals used the old railroad bridge as a jumping-off spot, but after the bridge was converted into a pedestrian bridge, chain-link deterrents were added to thwart jumpers. Fortunately the rocky banks of the river still provide ideal cliff jumping opportunities that are high enough to work up some adrenalin.
Despite the crowds and the proximity to the freeway, the area's unique rocky banks and the picturesque stretch of water still make it a worthy destination, even on a busy summer weekend.
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.