May 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm #1273821
Question for all that have already completed the JMT. What is everyone's opinion on the best swimming along the trail as well as cliff jumping in to lakes? Being a Western Washington guy, I love late summer alpine lake swimming and jumping high in to those deep alpine lakes. Would love some tips on some good spots to stop on my thru hike in late August.
Thanks!May 14, 2011 at 9:02 pm #1736703
I'll list a few sites from North to South that I like. Most are more like good wading/shallow diving spots, but a couple places are dive-able.
-Lyell Canyon has lots of wading holes and flat rocks that the river slides into pools.
-Garnet Lake has a few spots to shallow dive from.
-Good swimming hole on Fish Creek between tully Hole and the bridge crossing.
-Bear Creek has numerous swimming holes and flat rocks to warm up on.
-The inlet to Evolution Lake. Lots of small pools, and rocks to warm up on.
-Woods Creek has numerous pools, some take a little finding to locate, but worth it.
-Rae Lakes has a lot of places to jump off rocks, including a couple little island/rock outcroppings that for some odd reason have a little warmer water in and around them.
-Guitar Lake has a few jump-off spots.
I love the invigoration that cold Sierra water gives me. It is like a boost for me in the warm afternoons, and I can usually push on for quite a few more miles after taking a plunge. All of the water is FREEZING A%S COLD, but if you time it right the surface temps of some of the lakes warm up a bit. Hope that helps.May 15, 2011 at 12:03 pm #1736843
Awesome list! Thanks for the tons of info!May 15, 2011 at 2:11 pm #1736881
Kris, Happy swimmin' and jumping! Have a great trip. When are you doing the JMT? I'll be out mid August maybe we'll run across each other.May 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm #1736900
Robert, we enter Happy Isles on Aug 24…15 days. I'm looking forward to it beyond description. Especially as I write this looking out the window at another miserable Seattle rainy day.May 15, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1736906
One of the danger spots is very early in the trip. Tourists will get to the top of Nevada Falls, then wade out into the river current to try to shoot a photo looking over the edge. An extra wave hits them and…
Sometimes the bodies can't even be recovered due to the jumble of boulders at the base.
–B.G.–May 15, 2011 at 4:59 pm #1736945
Bob, Nothing like a little up-beat optimism to add to the thread. Anyone dumb enough to go swimmin' or jumpin' above a waterfall probably aint the 'sharpest knife in the drawer', and I'm pretty sure Kris would be smart enough not to go swimming or wading above a waterfall. Thanks for throwing a nice 'buzz-kill' into an otherwise cool question.May 15, 2011 at 5:35 pm #1736964
"Anyone dumb enough to go swimmin' or jumpin' above a waterfall probably aint the 'sharpest knife in the drawer' "
Yes, but it happens a lot in Yosemite. Death in water (drowning or falls) is one of the biggest causes of death in the park.
Nah, once he gets to Lyell Canyon, he will need to cool off. I've been in those deep spots on the Lyell Fork.
–B.G.–May 15, 2011 at 7:06 pm #1736994
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
I don't think there is any bad swimming holes or creaks on the entire JMT.May 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #1737021
Bob BankheadBPL Member
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Cheat a little bit. From Reds Meadow Store (7755'), take the Rainbow Falls Trail and then turn left a mile before the falls, onto the Fish Creek alternate route. You thus avoid the pumice slog up the JMT/PCT to Virginia Lake and Tully Hole. Descend into the Fish Creek canyon to a great camping area just across the bridge over Fish Creek (at 6360'). Turn left and climb gently to Ida Bell Hot Springs (at 7150'). total 11 miles.
Be advised, these popular hot springs are very definitely "clothing optional". All the clothing we saw was hanging on trees or on the ground. Be prepared to wait your turn for a pool.
There are no signs to these pools, but there are use trails. There are four pools – two down low in the meadow and two more up the hill. The higher ones are hotter. There are several large, well-used hard-packed campsites by the lower pools. If you come around a long, sweeping curve and out of the trees and are facing switchbacks, you've gone 100 yards too far. Turn around and look for a use trail going off to the left. Plan to camp here.
The next day (start early), you pay for all this with an 8 mile 2000' climb back up to rejoin the JMT/PCT (at 9190')south of Tully Hole.
Both routes – JMT and Fish Creek – are almost exactly the same number of miles and close to the same elevation gain/loss.
If you are re-supplying at Muir Trail Ranch, you take the 3/4 mile long short-cut trail steeply down 900' to the Florence Lake Trail that leads to MTR. There are hot springs pools south of the ranch, along and across the San Joaquin River. I haven't visited them, but you must ford the river to reach them. The Florence Lake Trail then leads you 1.5 miles gently south, back to the JMT near the San Joaquin River crossing.
Enjoy.May 15, 2011 at 8:41 pm #1737026
"There are hot springs pools south of the ranch, along and across the San Joaquin River."
That's Blaney Hot Spring. The main part is a pool with a warm water spring in the center. Then there is another small hot tub. It's not a bad place to go as long as the San Joaquin River depth isn't great.
–B.G.–May 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm #1737263
Bob I promise I will stay well away from falls and fast water!
Jay, I knew I could count on you for some killer pics of swim spots to hit!
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