Coconino National Forest – Red Rock Ranger District, easy to reach swimming hole located 15 miles E. of Camp Verde along West Clear Creek. The shallow beach entry starts on the N. side of the creek then gets slightly deeper about 3 ft. out, dropping to 5-6 ft., then 9-10 ft. deep below the rock formation.
Crescent Moon Ranch
300 Red Rock Crossing Rd., Sedona. Close to Red Rocks campground. Spectacular views of Cathedral Rock make this a great place for photos. There are a few pools to choose from; Trees provide shade, there are picnic facilities and perhaps a little more suitable for younger children.
Tonto National Forest – Payson Ranger District. Between Payson and the Mogollon Rim, on Houston Mesa Rd. The jewel of the Water Wheel area with a prehistoric looking landscape of slate and dense foliage. You will navigate several creeks and ponds to reach this inviting, cold, clear swimming area.
Coconino National Forest – Red Rock Ranger District, Tonto National Forest – Payson Ranger District. A small swimming hole with limited access helps prevent overcrowding. You will need a Red Rocks Pass as well. Boulder scrambling and clinging required to get down to Oak Creek, but once there enjoy a great lush spot to picnic.
Coconino National Forest – Red Rock Ranger District, Tonto National Forest – Payson Ranger District Designated a “Wild and Scenic River”, it gushes 20,000 gallons a minute of a series of springs at the bottom of a 1,600-foot deep canyon near Camp Verde. The clearest water of any swimming hole in Arizona and a mile to swimming hole perfection with a 25-foot cliff jump to boot. Permit required and make sure your car can handle 1 hour of washboard roads.
Coconino National Forest – Red Rocks Ranger District. 2 miles N. of Sedona on paved US 89A. Oak Creek has an abundance of easy to get to, wonderful swimming holes. The scenery is stunning and the water is a nice respite from the heat.
Located in the Grand Canyon, Havasupai Reservation. 1.7 miles N. of the village of Supai. These jaw-dropping falls with red scorched rock contrast with the 100 ft. high cascade of water, forming on impossibly blue pool. NO jumping from waterfalls! Reservations for hiking and camping! Difficult to get to; in fact, the US Postal Service still uses mules to deliver mail to the nearby villages.
Picture a high diving movie stunt where the hero takes a death-defying 200 ft. leap into the pool below. While that is not the way you access the pool, you need to be aware that getting to the bottom requires a certain amount of mountain goat like confidence. It’s slippery, steep and involves ladders, chains and ropes. For those that date, it’s certainly worth it. Camping and hiking in Havasu Canyon requires a permit and reservations that can be obtained directly from the tribe.
Red Rock Crossing
Coconino Nation Forest – Red Rock District. A couple miles W. of Sedona with a fantastic view of Cathedral Rock off in the distance and Moon Ranch 10 miles downstream. To get your bearings, area maps are located near the restrooms. West is the smaller more shallow hole, good for small children, while east of the parking area is the fun one.
11570 N. Oracle Rd., Tucson. Tucked into the Santa Catalina Mountains, a local favorite and 5.5 miles from trailhead. There are a few pools to explore, some a bit more of a challenge to get to, but less likely to attract a crowd. A rich and green area with fantastic views. The best time to go is after the rains, as the falls are flowing.
5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd., Tucson. Tucked into the Bear Canyon region of Sabino Canyon just outside of Tucson. A good hike to get there or take the tram. A magical waterfall, one of seven in the middle of the desert.
6871 N. Hwy 89A, Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon. A popular swimming hole with big crowds and big fun. You’ll have a blast sliding down the chute and dropping into a nice waist high pool at the end. On the east side of the creek is a nice long shelf that sits about 6 feet above a long deep pool which is perfect for doing a little cliff jumping.
Wet Beaver Creek: Coconino National Forest, Forest Road 618 to the Wet Beaver Creek Trailhead. An oasis in the desert! You have to pass through a gate at the start of the hike (make sure the gate latches as you pass through.) The trail is nice and wide most of the way in until you reach the short ascent just before the hole. The water is cool to mild, two side and several places to jump from ranging from 8 ft. to as high as 30 ft.
Water Wheel Falls
Tonto National Forest. A moderate 2- mile trek to the falls, Cool mountain creek water gently cascades about 80-90ft from the top of the gradual waterfall into a deep pool surrounded by large cliff walls. Spectacular would be considered an understatement for this Mogollon Rim country treasure. There is a giant tree log stuck in the pool from a flash flood long ago that gives the Waterwheel area its iconic look, it has been carefully carved to imitate a natural staircase. Be aware, flash flood area!
West Clear Creek
Coconino National Forest – Red Rock Ranger District. Easy to get to with smaller crowds. As you approach the stream, there is a nice beach area, a shallow area surrounding the main pool and a 5 ft. tall cliff to jump from on the far side of the creek.
Remember to purchase any required passes or permits and entrance fees, follow rules & regulations. Swimming, cliff jumping, climbing or diving (where allowed) is done at your own risk and extreme caution is advised!
Courtesy of arizonaswimmingholes.com