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4 swimming holes near Portland, OR

A woman swims in the swimming hole beneath Punchbowl Falls.

Jump on in, the water’s fine.

Photo via @whitemarsh32

Oh, the weather outside is spiteful, but the river is so delightful. For those of us who are sweltering in this week’s toasty temps — or anyone who just wants a break from the air-conditioning — taking a dip in a local swimming hole might be just the ticket.

We fished around + found four local spots where you can beat the heat. So come on in, the water’s fine.

🎣 Henry Hagg Lake | 30 miles west of Portland off OR 47

Take your pick of multiple recreation areas and water access points at this popular fishing reservoir named after an Oregon dairy farmer. You’ll find beaches that are a mix of sand + rocks, two boat launches, and tons of picnic tables.

🥾 Punchbowl Falls | Access via Eagle Creek Trail

Sure, this spot requires a little extra sweat to get to — but it’s so worth it. You’ll hike about two miles along a recently reopened trail to reach the falls and punchbowl-shaped swimming area. Bring your dog, but watch for steep drop-offs along the path. Pro tip: Don’t forget a pair of water shoes for when you need to wade through the creek and scramble across rocks + logs.

🛶 Oxbow Regional Park | 3010 SE Oxbow Pkwy., Gresham

Swimming in the Sandy River is a quintessential summertime activity. From this Metro-maintained park, you can float to Dabney State Recreation Area, or explore 12 miles of trails. Parking is $5, or you can park for free on select dates. Life jackets are on site for swimmers to borrow.

🍦 Sandy Swimming Hole | 550 N. Shepherd Rd., Washougal

A popular spot with Southwest Washingtonians, Sandy Swimming Hole is a city park at the upper end of lower Washougal River Greenway. If you’re lucky, you may get a visit from an ice cream truck. Pro tip: The ground is rocky and there’s little shade to be found, so you may want to bring folding chairs and an umbrella.

No lifeguards are on duty at these locations, so please use caution.

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