Those who commute on Oregon’s Highway 22 between Salem and the Cascades may be familiar with Idanha as a small town with a few houses and a country store along the highway just southeast of Detroit. If you are in the area in the summer, Idanha is where you start to lose the crowds of campers, boaters, and swimmers that flock to Detroit Lake in the summer. Sure, you may find a few that are staying at campgrounds a little farther up the road such as Whispering Falls or Riverside, but most of the people looking to escape the summer heat stay close to the banks of the reservoir, which suits this local swimming hole just fine.
The Snyder Bridge crosses the North Santiam River and unites Idanha to New Idanha, a more residential section of the town. Beneath it the North Santiam collects into a deep pool that is surrounded by 15-foot rock faces, forming an absolutely stunning respite from summer temperatures. Access to and from the water can be a challenge because there is little in the way of a riverbank unless you move farther downstream. A little climbing and ingenuity will get swimmers to back up, however, and there is plenty of room to lay out on the rocks on a hot day. This pool is a great opportunity to catch a little of the North Santiam River before it collects into the more crowded and popular Detroit Lake.
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.