The dozens of waterfalls falling amid emerald green woodlands across Oregon, not to forget the volcanic ponds and pristine rivers for which the region is famous, making cooling down in a close swimming hole the lovely summer experience as soon as the heat rise.Locals and visitors can cool down all summer at these tranquil swimming holes encircled by the breathtaking natural splendor of the Pacific Northwest. The best summer places in the Northwest are off the main path and only three hours from Portland which visitors can experience while they are here. So let’s know about some Portland neighborhoods that are perfect for a summer retreat.


Cliff Pool

Cliff Pool is not for the weak of heart: it is hidden at the bottom of a fast but very perilous all-fours descent following a winding drive southeast of Portland through the Willamette National Forest. Visitors can also spend the weekend in Portland's old town Chinatown which is near the borders of the forest. However, once travelers have completed this quest, their worries will fade away as they relax in their own private oasis of Oregon beauty. This site on the North Fork of the Santiam River is defined by a magnificent six-foot waterfall that carves out a large, smooth hollow in the rock perfect for swimming and diving—while a rugged shoreline gives real estate for lounging and spotting rainbow trout in the pristine waters.

Getting There

  • Visitors should drive east on State Highway 22 from Oregon to Mehama.
  • Take a left to the north onto Little North Fork Highway at milepost 23 and travel 15.3 miles to the Forest Border. FS Road 2209 continues for 1.3 miles to the junction with FS Road 2207.
  • Drive straight for a further 0.8 miles to the Three Pools Day Use Site on the right.

RELATED: This Portland Garden Is One Of The Most Authentic Japanese Gardens Outside of Japan

Opal Creek

The Opal Creek Canyon is a two-hour drive from Portland, but it has some of the state's best colorful, beautifully emerald-green swimming pools. Three Pools, which is close by, requires less time and draws more guests, but the 3.5-mile journey to Opal Pool is well worth the effort. Opal Pool is a small beach with larger boulders for daring dives, located just past the historic mining hamlet of Jawbone Plains and encircled by historic woods.

Getting There

The Opal Creek Pool is in Opal Creek Woods, a low-elevation old woodland that constitutes the oldest thick jungles in the western Cascades, and it demands an easy 7-mile circle trip through it. Some of the trees are over a thousand years old. The forest, with its diverse flora and fauna, is a sight to behold. Visitors may feel as if they are going on a trip down memory lane.

Wahtum Lake

A buttery-smooth paved road and a five-minute drive from the automobile rarely leads to a heavily forested lakefront refuge devoid of RVs and speedboats. Wahtum Lake, on the other hand, is a special case. A winding road with spectacular views of Mount Hood's northeast face unexpectedly ends in the pure forest. To get to the crystal waters, travelers descend a winding stairway through birch, Pacific yew, and huckleberry woods. There are plenty of waterfront campsites, and hiking choices are plentiful, including a part of the Pacific Coast Trail.

Getting There

The azure beauty at the headwaters of beautiful Eagle Creek is Wahtum Lake. The lake is nestled among old trees, high in a glacier cirque on Chinidere Mountain's crest. The Pacific Crest Trail passes by the lake, which is at the crossroads of a vast network of backcountry paths in the Columbia Gorge highlands. There are various ways to hike to Wahtum Lake, but there is also a grid of paved forest trails that can be used to get there. For typical passenger automobiles, the roadways are usually in fair condition.

RELATED: One Weekend In Portland: Everything That's Worth Doing In 72 Hours

Bagby Hot Springs

On a chilly day and before the sun truly warms up the woods, the saunas at Bagby Hot Springs do not really match anyone's traditional description of a swimming hole, but they do offer a distinctly Oregon encounter. The natural hot springs are located in a quiet stream of the Clackamas River, and guests may enjoy spectacular views of the surrounding woods while soaking in the tub.

Getting There

  • Visitors should take Highway 224 approximately 26 miles, slightly beyond the Ripplebrook Guard Station, from Estacada.
  • Then, for 4 miles, take road 46 until the intersection with road 63.
  • Take a right onto Route 63 and continue for 4 miles to the intersection with Route 70.
  • To get to the Bagby Trailhead, take a right on Highway 70 and continue it for 6 miles.
  • Then it's a nice 1 1/2 -mile hike through the woods to the Thermal Springs.

Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge, about 35 miles from the center of Portland, is mentioned in every account about Oregon recreational spots. The journey begins with a gigantic logjam climb, followed by a refreshing walk across Oneonta Creek's chest-deep waters, and concluded in a wonderfully freezing pool at the bottom of a gorgeous waterfall.

There are few treks like it in Oregon, hidden away in a verdant green, mossy valley, and the reward is chilling in both cold and majesty.

Getting There

Visitors can take Interstate 84 east to Exit #28, Bridal Veil. Take a left at the juncture with the Historical Highway after taking the off-ramp while heading east. The parking location, which is a little turnout on the southern side of the roadway, is about 6 miles away.

Portland, Oregon, undoubtedly has a plethora of swimming holes in the area that are ideal for cooling down during the summertime. Visitors will undoubtedly enjoy their experience at these natural wonders.