Near Zion’s National Park
Escape the red rock heat in this trio of waterfalls and refreshing pools.
Directions: You’ll be driving on state Route 17, which goes through the town of Toquerville, then you’ll turn east onto Spring Drive. Follow this road for 5.8 miles. Higher clearance vehicles are recommended. If you don’t have 4-wheel drive, you might want to walk the last .2 miles.
Mona Rope Swings
30 minutes south of Provo
Mona pond is one of those swimming holes that you won’t see until you’re there. You drive through the small town of Mona, take a couple of turns, and all of sudden there is a small, very swimmable lake. The water is actually pretty clear, and the rope swings (there are swings on either side of the pond) are a blast.
Directions: Head south on I-15 and take the Mona exit, number 233. Turn right off the exit, then left at the first stop sign. Follow this road for 1.7 miles, and turn right onto a small road. This winds its way to the ponds in about 1-2 miles.
There are a few places to dunk yourself in the Provo river, which is pretty chilly even in hot weather. One place is the Provo River Falls, located up Mirror Lake Highway, past Heber and Kamas. Another option is to float down the lower portion of the Provo River, starting below the Deer Creek Reservoir Dam. Along this route the river gets deep enough in some spots to swim. Be careful of currents and snags, however.
Meadow Hot Springs
Perfect for a cool summer night, Meadow Hot Springs are located four miles south of Fillmore Utah. Three different pools are within walking distance of each other, though one is superior to the others in depth and clarity. You’ll sometimes run into scuba divers training in the deepest pool.
Directions: Take exit 158 off of I-15, which is south of Fillmore. Turn left at the stop sign, go under the freeway, and you’ll pass a Chevron gas station. This road will continue south through the town of Meadow. Continue for about 1.5 miles, and then you’ll see a well-graded dirt road on your right. This road will take you back over I-15. Continue until you arrive at the dirt parking area. The hot springs are a small walk from the parking area, on a path.
Calf Creek Lower Falls
Calf Creek has a lot to offer. Both the upper and lower falls are spectacular, and various parts of the creek are swimmable, depending on water levels. The hike to the lower falls is about 2.5 miles from the Calf Creek Recreation Site and Campground.
Directions: The Calf Creek Campground, where the trail to the lower falls starts, is located on Utah Highway 12, 15 miles east of the town of Escalante.
Deer Creek Reservoir
There are a few places to swim at Deer Creek Reservoir, mostly around Deer Creek State Park. One of the best places to swim to avoid boats is in a narrow stretch of the reservoir near Chokecherry Campground. Warning: wait for a hot day because this water is pretty cold.
Directions: Drive up Provo Canyon, and about 11 miles before Heber, you’ll see a turnoff for Chokecherry Campground. To swim in the park itself, continue another mile or so on Highway 189.
Near the town of Green River, southern Utah
Green River is popular for rafting, but there are sandy beach areas to park and swim. Again, be careful of currents. The water is a great temperature.
Directions: Head east on I-70 toward the town of Green River. You’ll take UT-19 into the town. There is the Green River State Park pretty much in the town, but there are also nice places up river, which can be accessed by turning left on Hastings Rd., which you’ll see a short distance after crossing the Green River itself in town. Hastings road can be followed for a ways. High clearance vehicles are recommended for this road.
Also called Herriman Lake, this place is man-made, but has a natural feel to it. The sandy beach is a great bonus. There is a playground, concessions, restrooms, gazebos and more. People will often kayak and paddle board at Herriman Lake as well.
Directions: From Herriman, which is located west of Riverton, you head south on W Rosecrest Rd. Turn right onto Sun Bloom Ln, then left onto Emmeline Dr, and right onto Ashland Ridge Dr. The address is 15000 S. Ashland Ridge Drive.
There are a few different places to swim at Pineview Reservoir, some more developed than others. Cemetery Point Beach is one place to try, which is one of the more coast-like places in the state.
Directions: From Ogden, head east on UT-39 until you get to Huntsville. Cemetery Point is on a peninsula out into the reservoir that starts in Huntsville.
Between Park City and Heber City
Jordanelle State park sits out on a peninsula, and there are a many different coves on the southern part that make for a great picnic spot and swimming.
Directions: From Salt Lake City, take I-80 east and take exit 146. The reservoir and state park are located along US-189. It is about 40 minutes from Salt Lake City.
East Canyon State Park
Northeast of Salt Lake City
This park is about 40 minutes away from Salt Lake City. It has a swimming area to go along with its campground that is open year-round.
Directions: Head east on I-80 from Salt Lake City. Take exit 134 onto UT-65 N. Head north until you run into East Canyon Reservoir. The park is right off of UT-65.
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