It’s the end of summer but the days in southern California haven’t cooled down much. Sure nights are getting a little colder, but the days are still a toasty 85 degrees and sunny. To help you beat the heat and have some fun while you’re at it, we’ve scoped out a hidden swimming hole near San Bernardino!

Tucked away in the San Bernardino National Forest, this is one gem you wouldn’t expect to find in the desert! To get there, you’ll take an easy hike along Aztec Falls Trail. The hike is moderate and runs 2.6 miles roundtrip. Since you’ll likely be hot from the hike, the cold mountain water will be so refreshing. 

As you hike, you’ll come across a river dotted with lovely swimming holes. While they are all beautiful, Aztec Falls is worth the wait. At the end of the hiking trail, there is a pretty steep descent, so make sure you wear shoes with a good grip and watch your step.

A beautiful waterfall cascades into the pool, providing the perfect oasis to cool down and snap some awesome photos with your friends. You can even enjoy a picnic near the beautiful water.

The gently sloped rocks around the edge of the pool are perfect for sunbathing. The bottom of the pool is lined with big rocks, so the pool ranges from shallow to very deep.  

Cliff diving is popular here too. There are plenty of ledges to jump from, ranging from 5 feet in height to over 40 feet. The clear water makes it easy to see where to jump, but use discretion and make sure to stay safe by checking the water’s depth before jumping. There is a $5 fee at Splinter’s Cabin Trailhead unless you show a valid California Adventure Pass or Interagency Pass in your car.

On the hottest of days, it can get a little crowded. If you want this spot all to yourself, head out in the morning.

Otherwise, come with your friends and make a few new ones along the way. This gorgeous spot hidden in the wilderness is definitely worth the trip! 

Aztec Falls

Location: Pacific Crest Trail, California

Hours: Open 24 hours Sunday - Saturday

Price: There is a $5 fee at Splinter’s Cabin Trailhead unless you show a valid California Adventure Pass or Interagency Pass in your car.

Why You Should Go: This oasis in the desert is the perfect adventure you would never expect to find near San Bernardino.

Editor's Note: Aztec Falls is a clothing-optional area

We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.

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