Sandy beach
Cliff jumping
Hike-in Required
Sensitive Habitat
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Red Rock Pool is a popular swimming hole in a crescent bend along the Santa Ynez River in the forest about an hour's drive from Santa Barbara. Very popular during the warm season when the river is flowing, the area can see large crowds and also all the litter and graffiti on rocks from being a popular spot. 

During periods of river flow, the pool is deep enough to jump off of the rocks of varying heights, and some even jump off the rocks about 35 feet above the water. 

The trail itself is a short 0.5-mile walk with a hill about 50 feet tall, after which the pool is visible down a slope to the right. More swimming holes - which become successively less crowded - are located further along the trail, which continues another 3 miles to Gibralter Dam. 

The boulders are also home to a population of swallows, whose nests line many of the rocks in the pool area.

Parking for Red Rock Pool is located at the end of Paradise Road. Drive until you reach a gate blocking access, and do not stop at the Red Rock Day Use Area. A California Forest Adventure Pass is required, which can be purchased at Los Prietos Campground located about 3.5 miles down Paradise Road from Highway 154. Water is available at the Lower Oso Day Use Area, about 4.5 miles away from the pool parking area.

Be aware that poison oak lies along the trails and in the areas you must pass through to get to the pools.

Logistics + Planning

Parking Pass

California Adventure Pass


Rock jumps. Scenic area.


Seasonal flow. Heavily littered. Poison oak.


Sensitive Habitat


Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping


Due to fire and flooding the gate to Red Rock is closed to vehicles; although you can hike and bike in. There is alternate swimming hole that is much smaller at White Rock.
There is a really good amount of water here right now, and although it "says" seasonal flow; if you follow the trail around in a loop (about 6 miles) there are many other swimming holes to be had. In fact the farthest one back ALWAYS has water, because it has a cold spring upwelling under the water. Also The National Forest Service has taken over the camping areas and the Adventure pass is no longer accepted. It is a FEE area to camp and day use, and they will ticket. Also, make sure your car is out of the gated area by dusk, otherwise you get locked in for the night. Be sensible and bring plenty of water and bug spray....and for goodness sake; CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF or don't even go. We want to appreciate these areas and cant when $#@! trash it, break glass or graffiti. There is currently construction going on in many areas, not just on the road.
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