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Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes

06.21.17

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Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
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  • Whirlpool Falls pool and cliff jumping spot, Whatcom Falls Park in Bellingham.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • View of Baker Lake from Lower Sandy Beach.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Dale Resort and Campground, San Juan Island.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Crescent from Lake Crescent Lodge Beach.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Crescent from La Poel Day Use Area.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Crescent from Fairholme Beach.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Swimmers at Bear Gulch Day Use Area.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Cushman, The Big Rock cliff-jumping spot.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Skokomish Park Beach and enclosed swimming area with view of Mount Ellinor (5,940 ft) and Mount Washington (6,255 ft) to the north.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Cushman North Shore West swimming hole.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Cushman, North Shore East swimming spot.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington, Enatai Beach Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • East Green Lake beach and swimming area.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Warren G. Magnuson Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington, Marsh Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington with Northeast Seattle and the Olympic Mountains (The Brothers, 6,842 ft) in the background.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Mount Rainier (14,411 ft) and Lake Washington from O. O. Denny Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Matthews Beach Park and Lake Washington.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington shoreline at at Saint Edward State Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington, Newcastle Beach Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington, Juanita Beach Park perimeter pier.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Floaters on the Skykomish River at Al Borlin Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Sandy beach at Plum Boat Launch on the Snoqualmie River.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Tibbetts Beach at Lake Sammamish State Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Green River Gorge swimming hole and campsite.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Swimming area at Lake Wenatchee State Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Hidden Lake adjacent to Lake Wenatchee.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Icicle Creek access from Ida Creek Campground.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lake Serene.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Eagle Falls Swimming Hole.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Swimming hole at Big Eddy Park and River Access.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Icicle Creek from Rock Island Campground near the Enchantments.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Swimming hole on the South Fork of the Snoqualmie River at Snoqualmie River Picnic Area.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • South Fork of the Snoqualmie River at southeast Homestead Valley Road Bridge with the beach at right.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • The nearby boat ramp and dock on Lake Easton.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Beach at Kachess Lake.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Clear waters at Granite Lake and Sawtooth Ridge near Mount Rainier.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Ohanapecosh River and Blue Hole Swimming Area.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Mowich Lake panorama looking north.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Dougan Falls on the Washougal River.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Washougal River swimming hole at mile marker 15.5 (photo taken at 3 p.m.).- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Swimming hole at Washougal River Road, mile marker 3.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Naked Falls on the Washougal River.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • East Fork Lewis River at Moulton Falls Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Lewis River Falls, Lower falls.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Tim Agnew takes the plunge into Rowland Lake.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Two bathers make the jump at the cliff above Granite Point.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • Boulder Beach on the Spokane River.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
  • The Spokane River from the swimming hole at Mirabeau Park.- Washington's 50 Best Swimming Holes
Article
Team

In the state with the most rainfall in the lower 48, Washingtonians put up with a lot of gray sky, so we think its fair to say that there's no other population more deserving of bluebird summer days. And, luckily all that rainfall equates to an evergreen state sprinkled with the best rivers, waterfalls, lakes... and, yes, swimming holes. Simply, Washington is flush with relaxing places to cool off and have fun when the heat of the summer arrives.

So, to get your summer kicked off just right, we've assembled a list of Washington's 50 best swimming holes.

We'll admit, there are many favorite spots that we've probably missed, and, unfortunately the eastern half of the state is severely underrepresented...something we hope to remedy over time. But all-in-all, if you get the chance to hit up just a few of these spots this summer, we know you won't be disappointed! We've also left out beaches on the sound (salt water), which we'll leave for another post.

For each adventure we've assigned a set of tags, or key attributes you'll likely care about. They are:

  • Kid-friendly (KF)
  • Sandy beach (SB)
  • Cliff jumping (CJ)
  • Restrooms/Vault toilets (RR)
  • Hike-in required (H)

​Bellingham + Mount Baker Area

  1. Whatcom Falls + Whirlpool Falls (CJ)
  2. Baker Lake, Lower Sandy Beach + Campsites (RR)

San Juan Islands

  1. Lake Dale Resort + Campground (KF, RR)

Western Olympic Peninsula

  1. Lake Crescent Lodge Beach (KF, RR)
  2. Lake Crescent, La Poel Day Use Area (RR)
  3. Lake Crescent, Fairholme Beach (KF, RR)

Hood Canal + Eastern Olympic Peninsula

  1. Lake Cushman, Bear Gulch Day Use Area (KF, RR)
  2. Lake Cushman, The Big Rock (CJ)
  3. Lake Cushman, Skokomish Park Beach + Day Use Area (KF, RR)
  4. Lake Cushman, North Shore West
  5. Lake Cushman, North Shore East

Chehalis/Lower Cowlitz Area

  1. Louis Rasmussen Day Use Park (KF, SB, RR)

Seattle/Tacoma Metro Area

  1. Enatai Beach Park (KF, SB, RR)
  2. East + West Green Lake Beach + Swimming Area (KF, SB, RR)
  3. Lake Washington, Warren G. Magnuson Park (KF, SB, RR)
  4. Lake Washington, Marsh Park (KF, RR)
  5. Lake Washington, Houghton Beach Park (KF, SB, RR)
  6. Lake Washington, O.O. Denny Park (RR)
  7. Lake Washington, Matthews Beach Park (KF, RR)
  8. Lake Washington, South Canyon Trail Loop (KF)
  9. Lake Washington, Newcastle Beach Park (KF, SB, RR)
  10. Lake Washington, Juanita Beach Park (KF, SB, RR)
  11. Skykomish River, Al Borlin Park
  12. Snoqualmie River, Plum Boat Launch (SB)
  13. Lake Sammamish State Park (KF, SB, RR)
  14. Green River Gorge Swimming Hole (H)

Central Cascades - Stevens Pass

  1. Lake Wenatchee State Park (KF, RR)
  2. Hidden Lake (H)
  3. Ida Creek Campground (CJ)
  4. Lake Serene (H)
  5. Eagle Falls Swimming Hole (CJ)
  6. Skykomish River, Big Eddy Park (RR)
  7. Rock Island Campground 

Central Cascades - Snoqualmie Pass

  1. South Fork Snoqualmie River Picnic Area (RR)
  2. South Fork Snoqualmie River at Homestead Valley Road Bridge 
  3. Lake Easton State Park Campground (KF, RR)
  4. Kachess Lake Campground (KF, RR)

Mount Rainer Area

  1. Granite, Bertha May + Pothole Lakes (H)
  2. Blue Hole Swimming Area (RR, CJ)
  3. Mowich Lake (RR)

Southwest Washington

  1. Dougan Falls (RR, CJ)
  2. Washougal River, Miles 15-16 (CJ)
  3. Washougal River, Miles 3-5 
  4. Naked Falls (CJ) (Currently CLOSED!)
  5. Moulton Falls (RR, CJ)
  6. Lewis River Falls (RR, CJ)

Eastern Washington

  1. Rowland Lake (KF, RR, CJ)
  2. Granite Point (RR, CJ)
  3. Boulder Beach
  4. Mirabeau Park Swimming Hole 

Caution! Be Safe

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.

Leave No Trace

The Forest Service and other local management agencies are considering closing access to many of these sensitive locations due to excessive trampling of plants, large amounts of garbage, cans and glass bottles, human waste, and toilet paper left behind. They simply do not have the staff or the funding to attend to these issues. If you want to continue enjoying these areas, pack out all garbage and toilet paper and dispose of it properly, use vault toilets and other restroom facilities when provided, and stay on established paths. Using these areas responsibly will increase the chance that people can continue to enjoy them.

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