Swimming & Water fun in Sierra CountyRivers and streams throughout Sierra County provide exceptional swimming and plenty of opportunities for water fun.
The North Yuba provides many excellent swimming holes along Hwy 49, right off the road in many cases. The swimming hole by the Rocky Rest Campground bridge is one of the best, but it’s a well known secret so you probably won’t have it to yourself. But there are plenty of other ones to discover. Make sure to pull over where it’s safe to explore the river. Sometime you'll need to scramble down the riverbank a little, but once down on the river you're truly rewarded.
In the heart of Downieville, where the Downie meets the North Yuba, right below the Community Park by the visitors center, there is great swimming to be had -- with easy access for the small ones from the sandy beach -- but deep enough out under the bridge for lots of fun swimming for the older ones too. Shade is hard to come by on this beach, so make sure you bring sunhats and SPF-- we're closer to the sun up here, and it quickly shows.
The river can stay cold into the summer due to snow runoff, much later than you'd think so be careful and especially watch out for your kids so as not to get to chilled. Also beware of high water in the spring and early summer-- all those things that make the river amazing for kayakers and whitewater rafters can also be dangerous for swimmers.
Our lakes usually warm up a little sooner than the river. The Lakes Basin is of course full of lakes, and you can swim, boat, fish in most of them. Some of them have campgrounds where you can stay overnight and easily take that refreshing dip before nightfall. Sardine Lake is not for swimming, but Sand Pond is right next to it, and is perfect for swimming-- especially if you have small kids. Other popular swimming lakes include Salmon Lake, Gold Lake and Packer Lake.
Bring swimsuits, floating devices and the whole family -- and experience what mountain living in Northern California is all about.