Every year more than 29 million people visit Oregon – America’s 33rd state is well known for it’s amazing wild west vistas and landscape. If you love wild swimming, there are some incredible locations in Oregon, hidden away where you will find very few tourists. Studies have found that outdoor swimming has some significant health benefits, not only improving your overall fitness levels, but also helping your brain to produce endorphins so that you feel happy. You don’t need any specialist equipment for your secret swim – just some suitable clothing and a towel for drying afterwards.
Crater Lake, part of the Crater Lake National Park, is actually enormous. The lake itself was formed around 7,700 years ago when the crater of a volcano collapsed. Crater Lake, at almost 2,000 feet deep, is the deepest lake in American and known for its crystal blue waters, sourced only from rain and snow. Although the lake is very large, there is only one place where you can sneakily go for a swim. You will need to take the Cleetwood Cove Trail which is only open in the summer months. The trail will take you down the crater side for over a mile to the shore of the lake, 700 feet downwards. You should only swim if you’re an experienced swimmer – lack of swimming ability is one of the biggest risk factors for drowning; your safety is paramount and there are no lifeguards. Make sure you wear a wetsuit if you are planning any more than a quick dip.
# Sharps Creek
Sharps Creek, located at the edge of the Umpqua National Forest at the base of the Cascade Mountains, is well off the beaten track. The two swimming holes at Sharps Creek are formed by the river flow through the bedrock. The largest pool is actually deep enough to dive into from the cliffs if you’re brave enough – just take care because the rocks can be slippery. The smaller pool nearer the beach is perfect for swimming. The surrounding area is a verdant and lush evergreen forest – it is a natural oasis that you will want to return to time and again.
Located in the Willamette National Forest are the blue-green waters of Blowout Creek. You will need to trek to get there through deep coniferous forest and over a wooden suspension footbridge across a steep canyon. The name Blowout Creek refers to a huge “blowout” landslide down the adjacent mountainside. To the left of the suspension bridge, there is a steep scree path that will take you down to the perfect place for rope swinging and jumping in the waters. This is not recommended for young children, however. On a hot summer’s day, there is nothing quite like taking the plunge into this beautiful, blue secret lake.
The natural landscape carved by glaciers, volcanoes and deep rivers have created some beautiful lakes, creeks and swimming holes in Oregon. These are places you can swim away from the crowds in the beauty of nature.