14 Incredible Swimming Holes in Northern California

(Aron Bosworth, via Outdoor Project)

Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area Swimming Hole

The emerald waters of the South Fork of the Eel River serpentine through a redwood landscape at Standish-Hickey State Recreation Area (SRA) in northern Mendocino County. A beautiful, albeit hot, summertime destination, Standish Hickey is home to an enticing swimming hole that will help alleviate that midday summer heat. The swimming hole has a large pool deep enough for rock jumping and a family-friendly sandy beach. Beyond the main pool, other shallow pools both upstream and downstream offer additional swimming options.

The swimming hole is accessed by driving down into the river canyon from the Standish-Hickey SRA entrance, and parking is at the day-use area adjacent to Redwood Campground. A quarter-mile walk across the river plain and a seasonal footbridge brings you to the swimming hole. Despite the tall redwoods surrounding the river, there is limited shade at the swimming hole, so plan to bring an umbrella.

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