7 Great Swimming Holes in DeKalb County, Alabama
7 Great Swimming Holes in DeKalb County
By Mark Ford
Don’t you just love this time of year in the South – the thick, muggy air makes you feel like someone wrapped a garbage bag around your head. Well, maybe not that bad, but there’s no better way to beat the sweltering Alabama heat than finding refuge in a good swimming hole and we have some great ones here in DeKalb County!
1. High Falls Park
High Falls Park is a hidden gem in North Alabama. Even though signs clearly point you in the right direction, the backroads of Sand Mountain can make you feel lost in a hurry, so be sure to pay attention to your whereabouts. The majestic waterfall is the centerpiece of the park, spanning up to 300 feet across Town Creek. Aside from the picturesque views, the still waters above the falls are ideal for a leisurely wade to escape the heat. Thrill seekers (that are familiar with the terrain) often brave the 35 foot drop from the stone arch into the deep pool below the falls.
2. Hippie Hole (Martha’s/Little Falls)
One of the hidden wonders of DeKalb County is Little River Canyon. Little River spills over Martha’s Falls into an emerald pool known as the Hippie Hole. There are several ledges along the trickling river leading up to the edge of the waterfall that are perfect for sunbathers and waders alike. The shelf that makes up Little Falls spans the width of the river. This isn’t just for your casual swimmer, either – adrenaline junkies can enjoy a plunge from the crags above the river. Jumpers be mindful, as not every area is clear of rocks protruding from the blue pool. If you enjoy a more private experience, head back up the river to the shallow wading pools secluded by surrounding boulders.
3. Blue Hole
Also located on Little River, Blue Hole is an easily accessible area just above Little River Falls.
The waters above the falls tend to be milder, perfect for families of all capabilities and experience. The calm, easy flowing stretch of water is just a few steps from the parking lot. Upstream from Blue Hole is a shallow riffle that is ideal for a gentle wade in the cool water. Because of the easily accessible location, the recently expanded parking lot can quickly fill, so be sure to get there early!
4. High Rock
You may need a 4WD for this one! High Rock is a secluded swimming hole off of Trail 5 (find a trail map) in the backcountry of Little River Canyon. Located on the river between Hartline and Billy’s Fords, High Rock is a bluff towering 30 feet over the deep green river below. At the base of the rock is a small sandy beach where you can wade waist deep into the water. A short swim upriver from the bluff is a shallow shelf popular for lounging in the warm summer sun.
These are some truly spectacular areas, but they can mirror crowded water parks during the summer months. If you would prefer a more mellow scene, free of rowdy swimmers and kids with floaties, head off the beaten path for some of these lesser known spots.
5. Lower Two Mile
Lower Two Mile is a little known spot that can be easily missed by a wandering eye. In a bend of the road just past mile marker 21 on Highway 176, there is a small pull off on the canyon side. Here, you can descend the seldom used trail 500 feet to the canyon floor. The moderately strenuous 0.2 mile trek can seem much longer than it actually is, but the view is well worth the labor. Sandy beaches skirt the emerald pool making it an ideal spot to catch your breath and relish in the view of the gorge. There isn’t much foot traffic, so feel free to lounge on the beach as long as necessary. Keep in mind there are rapids upstream, as well as downriver that create the natural pool. Although the river is a bit more swift here than in other swimming holes throughout the canyon, it is calm enough to swim. A little ways down the sandy trail is a large boulder extending out over the water, making it a pleasant spot for sunbathing. If you’re feeling adventurous, make the leap into the chilly water below! After a long stay, get ready for the hike back up!
6. West Fork (Indian Falls)
Laurel Creek flows through Desoto State Park into the West Fork of Little River. Wading and swimming are allowed in the creek throughout the park, but in the summer months, it is merely a stream. Follow the creek to the inlet to the river, and you will be pleasantly surprised at the small amounts of traffic swimming in the river. The West Fork isn’t as wide or as deep as the main river. Although it can be reduced to a little more than a trickle in the summertime, there are pockets ideal for a leisurely dip to cool off from the merciless heat.
7. Eberhart Point
Little River has many wonderful swimming areas, but Eberhart Point trumps them all. On the ruins of the former Canyonland Park, the trail descends into the canyon to one of the most glorious views in the park. The hike to the floor will have you thinking about the trek back up almost immediately – though not as steep as Lower Two Mile, the trail is much longer and less sturdy. If you’re looking to catch your breath on the way down, make a pit stop at one of the vistas overlooking the vast gorge below. The intensity of the journey makes the oasis that awaits all the more pleasurable. Slip into the cool green waters from the sandy beach and marvel at the canyon rims looming above. Boulders line the river banks, providing excellent spots to make the leap into the refreshing water.
*Our swimming holes offer wonderful recreational opportunities, but swimming in unmanaged areas always comes with risks. With proper knowledge and planning, swimmers can prevent unnecessary tragedies. Although jumping can be an exhilarating attraction, be leary. Slippery ledges and protruding rocks can be a hazard to unsuspecting jumpers. Anytime you venture to a secluded area, be aware of weather forecasts, as water levels can change drastically within a few minutes of rainfall. High water levels can lead to deceiving currents that are challenging for even the most capable swimmers.