Take a dip in these desert spots

Some of nature’s best swimming pools lie amongst Arizona mountains, creating a world-renowned collection of desert oases.

Many adventure enthusiasts hike significant distances to locate these swimming holes all over the world, yet Arizona has received significant praise from experts and major publications.

National Geographic listed Havasu Falls as the best swimming hole in the world. Located on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the water from a spring that plummets 29,600 gallons a minute earns National Geographic’s title of a “League of its own”.

Outdoor recreation enthusiast Abbie Johnson said, “Havasu Falls is the most beautiful spot in nature hands down. Everyone should experience it, but with proper preparation”. Johnson warns that the hike it takes to get to the falls isn’t one you can conquer in a day trip, and that those who are unfamiliar with overnight camping should educate themselves on safety tips and ensure they have the proper gear. http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/365-photos/havasu-falls-grand-canyon-arizona/

Arizona State Parks volunteer Nic Roads regularly hikes and visits the swimming holes throughout the state, and lists his top five favorite spots:

Havasu Falls

  • Location: Grand Canyon
  • Admission: $35 per person to enter the Havasupai Reservation, $5 per person environmental-care fee, $17 per person per night camping fee, $145 per night to stay at the lodge
  • Contact: 928-448-2121

Sabino Canyon

  • Location: Sabino Canyon, Tucson
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact: 520-749-2327

Slide Rock State Park

  • Location: Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona
  • Admission: $10 per vehicle
  • Contact: 928-282-3034

Hell’s Gate

  • Tonto Creek, Phoenix
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact: 928-474-7900

Bell Crossing

  • Location: Wet Beaver Creek. Phoenix
  • Admission: Free
  • Contact: 928-282-4119


Gary Knecht, a 44-year-old Tucson resident, jumps off a cliff in Sabino Canyon. Photograph by Mark Armao.
Gary Knecht, a 44-year-old Tucson resident, jumps off a cliff in Sabino Canyon. Photograph by Mark Armao.

Along with swimming, people have been cliff diving off of rock formations surrounding the holes. According to cliff jumping enthusiast Jeremy Tigner, this activity can be exhilarating yet dangerous. Just this past weekend Tigner witnessed a 16-year-old girl hit a rock before falling to the water in Sabino Canyon.

Tigner, 35, who comes to Sabino nearly every weekend, says that cliff diving can be fun, but not worth it unless you’re comfortable and confident before the jump.

Two weekends ago, another young teenage girl suffered six compression fractures to her spine from cliff jumping at Canyon Lake in Phoenix.

You can reach Julianne Boisvert at jboisvert@email.arizona.edu

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