Hike and Swim in the Foothills of the Sierras


Hiking to get to a swimming hole is a tune I’ll be singing next summer when the days are warm and at the end of the trail is a refreshing swim in the river. The foothills of the Sierras makes for some great roughing it swimming adventures. Who knew this could be so much fun!


Diana Falls is located near the town of Coulterville, CA. From the town center, you’ll take Greeley Road to Briceberg/ Bull Creek Road and finally make a slight right on route 2S05, at about 5 1/2 miles you will see a place to park. The trail is on your right if you’ve reached the bridge you’ve gone too far. Being a weekday and late in the season there was only one other car there, its owners were just walking down the trail when got out of the car. To get to the swimming hole it is a 1.4-mile hike to the falls. Because it was the end of the summer Diana Falls was dried up. Downstream but we found plenty of ice cold water as well as small falls that led to a pool.


Camp 9 is a local favorite and can be reached by following a road along the Stanislaus River to the Collierville Powerhouse. The road is an open range so don’t be surprised if you find cows hanging out in the middle of the road. As we approach the trail to Camp 9 swimming hole a loud humming comes from the power plant next to the Stanislas River. You’ll cross an awesome footbridge below the power plant. After crossing over the river you’ll hike about a 1/2 mile to get to the limestone swimming holes. The area is spread out enough that it’s easy to get your own space.



Natural Bridges Trail is a round-trip 2-mile hike that gives you access to a limestone cavern that doubles as a swimming hole. As we approach the swimming area we can see interesting rock formations at the entrance of the cave. The cave interior has a magical quality and is enormous in size compared to the cave entrance. Water seeps from the cave ceiling and drips on my head as the light dances on the water. The cave or tunnel is 250 feet from one end to the other. We also ventured to the left of the cave about a 1/2 mile till we found a secluded swimming hole. Looks like there are many to choose from and the one we picked was mostly in the sun and the water was up to our necks. We drove by on a weekend and the parking lot was full. We went on a Monday andthere were only a handful of cars just to give you an idea of what to expect.