If you’re looking for swimming holes in Arizona — and to arrive safely and in style — you’re in luck. We’ve compiled the best swimming spots in Arizona… the most popular ones and our favorites. Jump on in!
Wet Beaver Creek, Camp Verde
Locals and visitors alike can make use of the Picnic and Day Use Area at Wet Beaver Creek. If you plan on getting a good spot during holiday weekends or on very hot weekends, you’d better plan to get there early! Both sites fill up quickly during popular times. There are picnic tables and grills for guests’ use at both picnic areas. Bathrooms are also available at both, so you can spend the entire day chilling out here if you like.
For more adventurous souls, we challenge you to take the 3½ -mile hike up to what’s affectionately called “The Crack.” Set out early on hot days so you don’t get caught hiking in the heat of the day. Pack some sunscreen, because, although the trail is fairly shady, the area surrounding this Arizona swimming hole is not. Brave swimmers can jump or dive from the surrounding rocks, while others can take their time and ease into the waters at their own pace. The East and West Pools at The Crack are both accessible by foot, and they both have some jumping spots that will take your breath away! There are jumping and diving platforms of natural rock that range from a mild 8 feet up to 30 feet, so there’s something for everyone here!
Bull Pen, Camp Verde
Widely-known as one of Arizona’s best swimming holes, Bull Pen mainly gets its reputation from its beautiful water and the varying heights of jumping/diving spots. You’ll first come to the Bull Pen Day Use Area. Several trailheads converge here, so although the area may look crowded, you might find that there are lots of empty vehicles, but surprisingly few people.
The first swimming hole at Bull Pen has a small beach area and cool, clear waters. It’s great for families with small children or anyone else who isn’t interested in cliff jumping. But to simply stop here without seeing the larger pool is doing yourself a great disservice! To venture on to the cliff jumping pool, you’ll need to follow the path a little further, staying to the right when it forks.
Even if you are too chicken to throw yourself off the highest 25-foot peak, you can start nearer to the bottom, where rocks start out at only 2 or 3 feet above the water. The next are about 8 feet up, and more points are at similar increments all the way up to the top. The water at Bull Pen isn’t crystal clear, but you can definitely see below the surface. Sand, pebbles and larger rocks primarily make up the bed of this great Arizona swimming hole. Upriver, there are big rocks in the creek that simply dare children to climb and play on them. If swimming in the big pool is overwhelming or if they are getting a little restless, take them up stream a little ways to give them a change of scenery.
Fossil Creek, Camp Verde
Once you turn onto Fossil Creek Road off Route 260, it’s a 21-mile drive to this park, where you’ll find not one, but several great summertime swimming holes! Crystal blue water fills each swimming hole, so clear that you can see fish swimming around beneath you. Due to Fossil Creek’s growing popularity for swimming, sunbathing and cliff jumping, it is now necessary to purchase a parking permit for $6 from April-October.
Waterfall Trail, which leads directly to the main waterfall, is only one mile long and winds through untouched forest alongside the creek. It’s popular because of its scenic beauty and its proximity to the falls. There, you can see a powerful waterfall, swim all around the pool, and cliff jump from rocks surrounding it.
The following are more parking and swimming areas along Fossil Creek Road:
- Tonto Bench
- Homestead Falls
- Sally May
- Old Corral Waterfalls
- Purple Mountain
The swimming and hiking opportunities at Fossil Creek could keep a guest busy for days on end, hopping from one amazing swimming hole to another. If you have time to visit more than one pool, perhaps working in a hike between, that’s ideal.
Grasshopper Point, Sedona
Grasshopper Point is not nearly as popular as Slide Rock State Park to its north. When the bigger park is experiencing overcrowding, those who know about Grasshopper Point can head there instead. This is a nice swimming hole for floating and inner tubing since it is large and calm. You’ll see people cliff jumping from a wide ledge at 10 feet and another at 25 feet, but it isn’t recommended that anyone jumps from the 35-foot height because of the inconsistency in the pool’s depth.
There’s lots of shade around this pool, so it’s easy to find a spot and spend several hours here. Children can explore the creek upstream and downstream from the pool itself. The running water and abundance of aquatic creatures captures the imagination!
The parking lot has covered picnic areas for lunch or a quick snack. There is a parking fee of $8 per car if you park at Grasshopper Point. Many people begin their day with a hike down from Allen’s Bend Trail. This puts you right at the Grasshopper Point Day Use Area. This trail begins just north of the Grasshopper Point turn-off on Highway 89A.
Water Wheel Falls, Payson
For a short hike with a big payoff, consider this favorite Arizona swimming hole. It’s only 2 miles round trip to walk this trail, and the whole thing is next to the creek. Kids love this particular hike because there are multiple points along the way where they can splash in the creek. You’ll leave the parking lot and hike for about 15 minutes, primarily over rock, before you see the first falls. A few minutes farther you’ll see larger ones.
There is a cave behind the waterfall, just like something you’d see in a movie. You can’t pass up the chance to look around! Previous visitors warn that cliff jumping is somewhat dangerous here because of the uneven water depths and remoteness of the location. There is no cell service, which might be nice for a day of relaxing, but it could be the difference between life and death in an emergency!
Havasu Falls, Page
By far the most stunning on our list, Havasu Creek comes directly off of the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon. The water in these pools is so blue that you’ll think you’re in Hawaii rather than Arizona. And you will definitely have to work for this surreal scene! Visiting Havasu Falls isn’t something you can wake up one morning and decide to do. This is a long, strenuous hike that you will need to be prepared for. You’ll also need to plan ahead if you are going to camp or rent a room in the small motel – it takes reservations months in advance! You will also need to purchase a $35 hiking pass before you begin.
Once you begin this amazing hike, you’ll pass 5 gorgeous waterfalls ranging from 50 feet to a breathtaking 196 feet!
You will first come upon Rock Falls, which has an awesome cave behind it with a deep pool at the bottom. You can actually jump through the waterfall to the pool below, as long as you’ve checked out where the rocks are below first! You must go a little off the trail to find Navajo Falls, which is close to rock Falls. Many people don’t take advantage of the short hike over to Navajo, which means you’ll probably have the place to yourself!
Havasu Falls is a total of 9.5 miles from the Hilltop Parking Lot at the end of Route 18. Several pools here mean that there’s plenty of room for everyone! Calcium carbonate builds up in the water here, so wear appropriate foot gear. At the end of Havasu Campground is breathtaking Mooney Falls, the spectacular 196-foot waterfall. People bring pool toys and floats from the motel or campground and stay all day at this pool! Beaver Falls is series of smaller waterfalls 3 tough miles past Mooney Falls. It isn’t as awe-inspiring as Mooney Falls, but still a neat place to play.
Seven Falls, Tucson
Tucson, Arizona isn’t known for being a summertime oasis. That’s what makes stunning Seven Falls so ideal! As the name suggests, several moderate waterfalls cascade gracefully into large, clear swimming pools. Seven Falls is a great place to swim, sit, wade, and simply relax! The pools are peaceful and serene, and there are multiple depths for all types of summer fun!
There is a convenient shuttle which costs $5, and it will take you from the visitor center to the trailhead, cutting about 3.5 miles off the 8-mile hike roundtrip if you choose to take it. However, as long as you are in good enough shape to walk 8 miles, the hike is good for beginners, though, because it is flat, wide and well maintained for most of the way. You can easily pack a light lunch and enjoy the better part of a day here at Seven Falls.
Tanque Verde Falls, Tucson
Arguably the most dangerous of the swimming holes listed here, Tanque Verde Falls has been the unfortunate site of 30 deaths since the 1970s. While some of these were a result of carelessness or excessive alcohol use, others were accidents caused by flash flooding, the sheer rocks surrounding the falls and pools, and the slippery granite that makes up the walls of the swimming hole. Always proceed with caution!
The hike out to the pools takes you past 5 beautiful waterfalls, from 20-100 feet. The lower falls can be accessed pretty easily from a large parking lot. A tough 0.75-mile hike will get you to the upper falls, but you can enjoy your day completely just spending it here at “the wash.” Lots of families go here to play and picnic without ever hiking farther.
If you park along Redington Road, there are two trails that will lead you up to the top of the falls. The short hike to the wash is very easy from this point of access as well. To see as much as possible and enjoy several swimming holes and waterfalls, begin at Lower Tanque Verde Falls Trailhead on the left side of the road. About a mile into your hike, you will see a 30-foot fall with another smaller one that has a ledge behind for walking. You will also be able to see the tallest waterfall, measuring 80 feet.
During the heat of the summer, let the best Phoenix car service help you plan your Arizona Swimming Holes trip and get you there and back, safely, securely and in style. Give us a call today at (602) 505-5453