Swimming is good for you! No really, it is, especially in cold water. Those who swim or take frequent dips in cold water trigger a release of dopamine and serotonin. Besides lifting your mood, swimming also helps ease joint pain, exfoliates your skin, and helps improve blood circulation. It’s a good way to stay happy and healthy. What better way to do this than swimming outdoors in beautiful locations? Here are six places to swim outdoors in Utah this summer.
Photo Credit: @stgeorgeactivities Toquerville Falls
Toquerville Falls near St. George
Commonly referenced as an oasis in the desert, these beautiful falls are adored by all, but tricky to access. Toquerville Falls is a 30-minute drive from St. George, and should only be accessed via truck or SUV. You can drive right up to these falls—no hiking required.
Photo Credit: @lindseywoody Calf Creek
Lower Calf Creek Falls near Boulder
This popular hike is located between Escalante and Boulder in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This 6-mile round trip trek to Lower Calf Creek Falls is surprisingly not too strenuous. Most hikers note the hike as a little long, with little to no shade, hiking over red rock and deep sand. Upon reaching the falls, you’ll be greeting with cooler temperatures, a 126-foot-high waterfall, and a swimming hole at the bottom. Don’t forget to bring water and sunscreen for the hike and $5 to park your car.
Photo Credit: @dragonsandelephants Dripping Rock
Dripping Rock in Spanish Fork
We wouldn’t call Dripping Rock a swimming spot, but this is a nice place for all ages. The paved path is less than a mile round trip. The water near Dripping Rock is shallow – less than about 3 feet – and is shaded most of the day. Bring a pair of water shoes to protect your feet as you wade in the water. This splash pond in nature is family friendly, with its easy accessibility, shallow waters, and comfortably cool water temperatures. Most who make the short journey do not travel to the end of the trail where there is deeper water and a concrete dam.
Photo Credit: @mikkismap Sand Hollow State Park
Sand Hollow State Park near St. George
This 1,300+ acre state park offers plenty of activities with clear blue water and soft red sand. Many come here to swim, but also enjoy kayaking, ATVs, boating, fishing, jet skiing, and more. Sand Hollow State Park has an entry fee but provides amenities, including showers to get all the sand off you before heading home. Prone to sunburns? Layer on the sunblock and take a breather as this park offers shaded seating. They even have a large chess and checkboard if you want to challenge your friends to a match or two.
Photo Credit: @allie.henrie Red Reef Trail
Red Cliff’s National Conservation Area, Red Reef Trail near Leeds
This trail is a short 2-mile round trip walk to a nice swimming hole. Red Reef Trail near Leeds follows along Quail Creek, offering many stops for hikers to play in cool water. Bring water shoes on this hike and prepare to get wet! The terrain is easy to walk on. Some travelers wear just their bathing suits as the trail is short and open. Be ready to see some wildlife, turtles, tadpoles, and maybe even a baby tarantula. Before heading on this adventure, read more about this trail and check on the current water levels in the park. Note: Water is mostly evaporated by July.
Photo Credit: @skisonmybed Mill Creek Falls
Mill Creek Falls in Moab
This Moab swimming hole, Mill Creek Falls, was a secret among Moab locals for quite some time. Several perks about this area is that the parking is free, the hike can be short or long depending on which falls or swimming holes you’d like to get to, and the area boasts natural Native American petroglyphs. Roundtrip this hike is nearly 8 miles, but it is possible to do shorter or longer hikes in the area.
Photo Credit: @travelwith08 Sand Hollow State Park
Be safe and use caution when swimming outdoors
Many of these areas do not have cell phone service or safe drinking water. Be cautious around cliffs as they can be unstable, frail, and slippery. Be aware of weather forecasts during late summer months to avoid flash floods. Cliff jumping is common at some of these sites. Use extreme caution when jumping into or exploring the water and make sure you know the depth of the water and that it is debris free. Lastly be aware of swimmer’s itch when swimming in shallow water.