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THE BEST SWIMMING HOLES NEAR PITTSBURGH

6 PLACES

UPDATED AUG 4, 2020

The hike may be hard. You may get lost more than once. The water is probably freezing. But discovering your town’s natural swimming holes tops overly chlorinated pools any day. The secret is out, but these spots are 100% Pittsburgh bucket-listers.

author

RYAN DEER

FITT CONTRIBUTOR

Jackson Falls in Apollo, PA is downright beautiful. With three different waterfalls leading to a shallow pool, it’s the best opportunity to splash around and dip your toes on a hot day. To find them, take the Rock Furnace Trail and listen for the falls — the lower falls will be just off the path!

Twice as refreshing as a backyard slip-n-slide, you really haven’t lived until you’ve drifted down the creek beds in Ohiopyle State Park. Depending on how high the water is that day, you can ride 100 feet or more across the natural rock face. But a word of caution: if you do drop in, expect a few bumps and bruises — this isn't Sandcastle.

Charge your GoPro. Blue Hole, part of Jacob’s Creek in Perryopolis, features a small waterfall and a HUGE jump into the deep swimming hole. And it’s pretty much a rite of passage for locals. Our move is definitely not as daring; we like to sit atop the boulders hanging over the waterfall, catch a few rays, and applaud the best bellysmacker.

You wouldn’t want to confuse Blue Hole with Blue Hole. Who would do that? This particular Blue Hole is on Morgan Run in Dunbar, PA near Connellsville (a little over an hour from the city). On a sunny day this oasis in the middle of the thick woods is painted turquiose-blue. No cliff jumping here, but wade into the shallow crash pool and you'll get a very refreshing mist.

If you find yourself soaked with sweat during a hike or bike on the Montour Trail, steer yourself toward Robinson Hole, just off the path in McKees Rocks. It has long been a tradition to swing on a rope and fly into the waters below. But you’ll have to settle for just the refreshing dip — the surrounding trees (and swing) are no more.

Everyone wants to be around Rock Falls in the summer. The low waterfall in Slippery Rock Creek cascades over smooth rock structures — perfect for sunning yourself or sliding down into the shallow pool. And along the shores, you'll find hammocks, tree swings, and people from the nearby campsite breaking out the tailgate chairs.

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