Top 11 Best Swimming Holes near Portland (tried and tested)

In the summer months, when the sun is beating down, I personally think there is nothing more cooling and relaxing than swimming in cool fresh water. Lucky for the residents of Portland, there is an abundance of nearby rivers and lakes to stay cool, and many are located only a short drive from the intense heat of the city center. Check out these outdoor swimming safety tips, and then consider heading to one of my favorite swimming holes near Portland, Oregon…

Our Top 3 Best Swimming Holes Near Portland
Opal Creek Pool l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Natural Pool
Opal Creek Pool
High Rocks Park l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For High Cliffs
High Rocks Park
Naked Falls l Global Grasshopper – travel inspiration for the road less travelled
Best For Family Friendly
Naked Falls
Best For Natural Pool

Opal Creek Pool

Opal Creek Pool Oregon

I love this popular spot which is located near Portland, and although it can take up to 2 hours to drive depending on traffic, I honestly think it’s well worth it. Located at the base of Opal Creek, this 25-foot deep blue swimming hole is ideal for just taking a relaxing swim or jumping from the rock ledges above (just remember to be careful, accidents do happen!)

You will need to park up and walk just over 3 miles down a dirt track, which only makes you want to get into the water even quicker. I think, like many others its up there as being the state’s most picturesque natural place to swim.


25-foot deep swimming pool with emerald water

Breathtaking scenery with a small waterfall

Small (pebbled) beach

Hiking through the largest old-forest


Parking spaces are a little compact

2 hours drive from Portland to reach the trail

Nearby Attractions

Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area

Three Pools Day Use Area

Shady Cove Campground

Must Do Things

Walk around the Opal Creek forest and see beautiful 1000-year-old trees

Explore the two beautiful scenic peaks namely Whetstone and Henline at the Western portion

Hiking on any of the eight adventurous trails to watch some unforgettable scenery



Room rentals

Horse riding

Best For High Cliffs

High Rocks Park

High Rocks Park Swimming hole

Located on the Clackamas River, High Rocks is an adventure playground for children and adults. Easy to find due to its proximity to Interstate 205, it can become crowded in the summer months, but still worth a visit to swim and for the more adventurous jumping from the rocky cliffs.

I also recommend picnicking and sunbathing here as well as it’s such a tranquil spot. Open all year round and only 17 miles from Portland City, it is a favorite among city dwellers; ample parking, picnic sites, drinking water, and restrooms are all provided, and the park is free of charge.

Note: Please be careful if you are going to jump from the cliffs, they are often slippery, and there have been accidents in the past; there is now a lifeguard presence, but only during the summer months.


Mesmerizing scenic views

Located in a public park with lifeguards at peak seasons

Popular with cliff jumping and picnics

Only 17 miles away from Portland


Can get crowded during the summer

Lifeguards only at certain times

Nearby Attractions

Spa valley railway

UK owl and raptor centre

Tunbridge Wells Forum

Must Do Things

Sit on the high rocks and sunbathe

Gaze at the breathtaking from the rocky Clackamas river bank

Spot birds and wildlife



Drinking water

Picnic sites

Garbage service

Best For Family Friendly

Naked Falls

Naked Falls Swimming Hole Portland

Naked Falls has numerous points for swimming and cliff jumping on summer days; the crisp freshwater will cool you down the instant you get in.

Nobody is really sure why it’s called Naked Falls; it just is. With shaded picnic areas, it is a family getaway for the day. The flat rocks are also perfect for sunbathing and topping up that tan.

A short walk from the parking area, although short, it can be a bit steep for some; the area is beautiful and relaxing, although at the height of summer can be a bit busy for some.


Clean fresh swimming hole

Popular with families and pets

Serene-shaded picnic area

Picturesque dry rocks

Pretty waterfall


Costly parking pass

Steep access to the waterfall

Nearby Attractions

Dougan falls

Hardy falls

Sunset falls campground

Must Do Things

Some have fun by jumping off the 30-foot cliff into the river (just remember to keep safe and cautious!)

Enjoy swimming in the pristine slow-moving water

Have fun on the two rope swings near the river bridge


Dog friendly



Waterfall slides

Cliff jumping

Best For Sandy Beach

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island Portland Oregon

Sauvie Island is huge, approximately the same size as Manhattan. It is one of the biggest river islands in the United States and has so much to offer for children and adults alike.

Sitting beside the Columbia River and the Willamette River and only 10 miles from downtown Portland it is a perfect place to swim on a hot summer’s day.

I suggest hiking and casual walks along the beach as a few alternatives to swimming, but that’s the main reason people come here. The water is nice and even in the summer.

With the island being so big, you can always find a secluded spot for swimming with kids and enjoying a picnic. Picturesque, safe, and very child-friendly, Sauvie Island is the perfect place to cool off and relax.


Scenic sandy beach

Cool and clear water

Family-friendly picnic spot

Walton beach has shallow water


Limited restrooms

Dogs must be leashed

No lifeguards

Nearby Attractions

Oak island


Sauvie island wildlife area

Must Do Things

Boating and kayaking

Picnicking on the cool sandy beach and watching the birds

Wildlife watching or hiking and cycling in the nearby areas


Convenience store and cafe

Wedding reception areas

Island roadmap

Best For Family-Friendly

Henry Hagg Lake

Henry Hagg Lake Oregon

The lake is a favourite for many people wishing to take a refreshing dip in its cool, deep waters, but many people do not know it was man-made in the 70s.

The lake is split into two sections, one for swimming and one for motorized vessels. In the latter part, you can really open up the boat and have no fear of swimmers.

The area around the lake is not just popular with swimmers and boating enthusiasts, and bird watching is very popular, cycling, and hiking. Unfortunately, overnight camping is prohibited to preserve the local ecology.

Picnic areas are provided for the family to quench their hunger and thirst after a day of adventure. Very much a place for the entire family to spend the day.


Refreshing cool and deep pool

Separate sections for swimming and motorboats

Cycling and hiking are allowed



Overnight camping is not allowed

Portaloos as restrooms

Nearby Attractions

ELK cove vineyards

Tillamook state forest

Plum hill vineyards

Must Do Things

The inviting Oneonta Gorge River is perfect for boating on warm summer days

Just relaxing and taking in all the beautiful scenery

Go for a scenic picnic on the banks



Boat launchers

Observation desk

Best For Waterfall and Swimming Hole

Moulton Falls

Moulton Falls swimming hole

Moulton Falls is the big dog for swimming holes. This Regional Park is 387 acres and boasts many attractions for all abilities and ages.

Many people come here for hiking or simply sunbathing out in the beautiful natural setting.

One of its main attractions is its many swimming holes and in the summer months it can get quite crowded. Only 1-hour drive from Portland, it is ideal for city dwellers to escape the heat.


Cool and crystalline waterfall and swimming hole

Surrounded by green trees

Flat hiking trail perfect for all ages

Less than an hours drive away from the city


Little crowded during summers

Dogs allowed on leash only

Nearby Attractions

Backroad food and spirits

Barrel mountain brewing

Must Do Things

Enjoy the beautiful falls

Go hiking and take a rest in the shadows of the Cedar

fir and big-leaf maple trees

Bring a picnic and watch the swimmers and jumpers




Best For Calm Water

Wilson River at Keenig Creek

Wilson River at Keenig Creek

Often billed as the calmest part of any river in the Pacific Northwest, it is ideal for swimming and cooling off from the summer heat.

If like-minded people have the same idea as you, head further downstream to the mile 15 marker, which is rarely crowded.

For a bit more adventure, head to the Footbridge area, where there are jumps of 10 feet into the fresh water. This is definitely a place to bring the kids and feel safe with them in the water; cool, calm, and fairly shallow. You can relax in the shade knowing the daily is fine.


Can get busy at peak times

No sandy beach

Nearby Attractions

Must Do Things

Dive into the cool river and enjoy swimming in one of the most scenic swimming holes in the state

Go tubing



and kayaking

Enjoy a scenic picnic on the two beautiful picnic sites and then camp overnight



Best For Picnic Destination

Lewisville Park

Lewisville Park Oregon

This 154-acre park is an excellent place to escape from the city, only a 45-drive it is truly a stunning area, family-friendly, with large grassy areas for the kids to play and to have a picnic by the river.

The park also boasts many swimming holes to keep you fresh on a summer’s day. The Larch area of the park has a small beach and a fantastic swimming spot.

It’s not too deep, which is great for children and adults alike. The Ponderosa area of the park also has an incredible place to swim but is deeper and faster flowing, not ideal for children but fine for adults.


Cool grassy areas perfect for a picnic

Beautiful scenery around pools

45-minute drive from Portland

Shallow waters and deeper waters


Pets must be leashed

Limited parking

Nearby Attractions

Lake Park Golf Club

Eagle gun range

Steve Schiele Professional Guide Service

Must Do Things

Hike or go on a nature walk and take in the rich

green and breathtaking scenery of Lewisville park

Go for a family-friendly picnic on the shady and peaceful river bank

The biking trail is perfect for adventurous nature-loving types


Wheelchair accessible paths

Picnic shelters

Tennis and basketball courts


Best For Sandy Beach

Hood River Waterfront Park

Hood River Waterfront Park

A favourite with kids, this large open space with access to the cool waters of the Hood is constantly changing. This is a community-funded project, and every year, it just gets better and better.

And with the new changes come new amenities, including picnic tables, drinking fountains, improved restrooms, a children’s play area, and a viewing platform where you can relax and just watch the river slowly go by.

Certainly not just a favourite spot for locals, people come from miles around to swim in a secure environment.


Small sandy swimming beach

Children’s play area

Lots of picnic amenities are offered

Watercraft launch


Parking is a little expensive

No lifeguards

Nearby Attractions

Solstice Wood Fire Pizza - Cafe & Bar

pFriem Family Brewers

Full Sail Brew Pub

Must Do Things

Admire the breathtaking beauty of the Columbia River while walking on the well-kept pathways in the park

Take your kids to play in the fun play area

Take your kite when it’s windy!


Tennis court


Best For Clothing-optional beaches

Rooster Rock State Park

Rooster Rock State Park

With 3 miles of accessible shoreline, even on a busy summer day, you can always find a peaceful spot to cool off. Just don’t go too far east. It has one of Oregon’s 2 clothing-optional beaches; it is hidden away, though.

Before or after a swim, you can take a flat hike through the shading of the trees, which are teeming with Blacktail deer and plant life, which grows very high and very fast.

It is also a bird lover’s paradise, and the oak trees are home to hundreds of species. A very tranquil place. Dogs are not allowed, but everybody else is. Bring the family for a pleasant, safe day out.


Truly breathtaking scenery

Two clothing optional beaches (in the eastern portion)

Home to different types of birds


Entrance fee

Not a friendly-family place

Nearby Attractions

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant


Must Do Things

Enjoy the mesmerizing scenery of the Roster Rock State Park

The adventurous should try windsurfing

At the west end of the park

there’s a peaceful place for paddling


Two golf courses

Three covered picnic shelters

Off-leased areas for dogs

Best For Secluded Swimming Holes

Salmon River

Salmon River Oregon

Salmon River is a naturally stunning area and only about one hour’s drive from Portland City, perfect for a hot summer’s day.

Swimming here should be mandatory, the water is fresh and cool, and the river meanders through the valley with the trees lining each, which also gives you a break from the heat.

Other than swimming, there are hiking trails amongst the tall trees, and kayaking is also a perfect way to enjoy the river. There are also several campsites in the area if you wish to stay longer in this amazing setting.


Several deep swimming holes along the creek

Adventurous kayaking and hiking trials

Only one hour drive from Portland

Popular with jumpers (just be cautious and safe!)


A permit is required to float in the river

No lifeguards

Nearby Attractions

Sunbeam cafe

Stanley museum

Yankee fork gold dredge

Must Do Things

Walk around the breathtaking Salmon River and enjoy the beauty of the free-flowing water

Enjoy adventurous activities

including boating



and rafting

Spot birds and other wildlife


Canyon guides


Pictorial history guide

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