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:
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.
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.