Hidden Swimming Holes and Epic Lakes

From secret swimming holes, to hundreds of acres of open water, Calaveras is rich in water sports. Whether you’re looking to fish, swim, kayak camp, SUP, or fly down the water on your watercraft of choice, Calaveras knows how to keep the heat in check. Want to find what we have on offer? You’ll love this shoutout to the bounty of Calaveras water destinations.

Looking for more summer fun? Explore Calaveras concerts, epic local farmers markets, and Independence Day celebrations around the county by clicking the links above.

Featured image (above) courtesy of Instagrammer @pvcdesigns at Lake Camanche.

Hidden Swimming Holes

1. Swimming at White Pines Lake

  Click the video (above) to dive into White Pines Lake. 


LOCALS TIP: While the Mooselodge bridge is under repair, you can access the beach by following the White Pines Lake trailhead.

FIND SUPPLIES: Pick up disc golf  supplies, rent kayaks, paddle-boards or other non-motorized lake toys from SNAC. Check out nearby Ebbetts Pass Sporting Goods for fishing supplies and permits. Looking to enjoy a nice shady picnic with your feet in the water? Grab some grubbage to go from Big Trees Market deli or one of Arnold’s many iconic restaurants such as Susie’s Diner or Giant Burger.

Learn all About White Pines Lake

2. Swimming on the Arnold Rim Trail – Adventurous Access

Swimming Hole
Arnold Rim Trail Swimming Hole I Instagrammer @vaaleriiieee

LOCALS TIP: With over 17 miles of trail, you’re bound to encounter not only a secret swimming hole or two, but also stunning overlooks galore. Download your Arnold Rim Trail Map today.

DOG FRIENDLY ? : Dogs are allowed off-leash only if they are well-behaved and responsive to voice command. Trail use is shared between pedestrians, cyclists, and people on horseback. Black bear sightings are possible as well.

Learn all about the Arnold Rim Trail

3. Swimming at Natural Bridges – Easy Access

Natural Bridges I Courtesy of Instagrammer @cedric.guyot

LOCALS TIP: We love to keep this gorgeous 2 mile family-friendly trail green! There’s no restrooms or trash service at the bottom of the trail so be prepared to #hoplightly and pack out whatever you pack in.

⚠️ Please note: This is a sensitive ecosystem, please stay on trail and remember habitat restoration is in process. Even well-behaved dogs should not be brought to this destination. Learn more here.  ⚠️

Learn all about Natural Bridges

Lake Camanche I Courtesy of Instagrammer @huynewin

Larger Calaveras Lakes & Reservoirs

Fun Facts: Lake Camanche, New Hogan, New Melones, and Lake Tulloch all offer boating, fishing, day-use hiking, biking, wildflowers, wildlife viewing, and interpretive programs throughout the summer. They also all welcome personal watercraft and other towables, and have reservable tent and RV campsites with views of their lakes—they’re even dog-friendly!

1. Lake Alpine – Swimming and More

Lake Alpine Sunset I Courtesy of Instagrammer @miss_lindsey_lgc

DID YOU KNOW: Lake Alpine is located just within the border of Alpine County, home of Bear Valley Mountain and the least populated county in all of California? Talk about a High Sierra getaway!

WHEN TO GO: This lake warms up in summertime, the month of May will be scenic but can still be a little on the cold side.

FIND SUPPLIES: You can rent SUPs, kayaks, and most anything else you may need across the way at Bear Valley Adventure Company, and in Arnold at the Sierra Nevada Adventure Company.


Learn all about Lake Alpine

2. New Melones – Swimming and More

New Melones Lake, Calaveras County | Lisa Boulton
Spring Flowers at New Melones on the Angels Creek Trail I Courtesy of Lisa Boulton

DID YOU KNOW: At 12,500 acres, New Melones is one of the largest reservoirs in California? Now that’s BIG.

LOCALS TIPS: Grab a meal to go in downtown Angels Camp or killer barbecue right outside of the marina at Glory Hole Sports. In the mood for sweets? Stop by Sugar Bakery or Yummy Ha Ha artisanal ice cream for some sweet goodies. Looking for shore-line fishing? (Coming either direction on Hwy 49) Head towards the New Melones Visitors Center by turning onto Melones Court. Stay left to stay on Melones Court. If you come to a closed gate, park your vehicle and walk 100 yards to the shoreline.

FIND GEAR: Rent your water craft at New Melones Marina and stock up on camping or fishing gear at Glory Hole Sports. (Staying in Arnold or above? You can also rent water gear at the locally owned Sierra Nevada Adventure Company in Arnold.)


Learn all about New Melones 

3. Lake Tulloch – Swimming and More

Lake Tulloch I Courtesy of Instagrammer @photosfromtheroad

DID YOU KNOW: You can enjoy shoreline views from cabin and cottage rentals at Lake Tulloch where you’ll savor —not only a roof over your head, but also your own personal barbecue and porch to take it all in!

LOCALS TIPS: Hit Copperopolis Town Square for coffee, icecream, shopping and food, and check out Drifter’s Marina, where you can enjoy killer food, cold drinks, and an awesome view of the shoreline while you’re at it.


Learn all about Lake Tulloch

4. New Hogan Lake – Swimming and More

New Hogan Lake I Courtesy of Instagrammer @redneck_asian_fishing

LOCATION: Part one of the Valley Springs tri-lake area, 30 miles east of Stockton.

ACTIVITIES: New Hogan Lake is the perfect place for camping, water sports, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. Note: there is no marina or fuel service, so come fueled and ready to go.

LOCALS TIPS: Grab a bite at one of Valley Spring’s killer restaurants including craft beer and burgers at Brew’Gers and ice cream at Country Girl Ice Cream Parlor. Work up a sweat at La Contenta Golf Club, before you cool down at this luscious lake. Boat-in camping is available at Deer Flat Campground—just one of New Hogan’s three idyllic campgrounds.


Learn all about New Hogan Lake

5. Lake Camanche – Swimming and More

Lake Camanche I Courtesy of Local Instagrammer

LOCALS TIPS: Get your boat and gear rental at the Marina Stores located on both the North Shore and South Shore of Lake Camanche. Load up on grub in Valley Springs, or right on site at the Cafe on the North Shore.

DID YOU KNOW: Part two of the Valley Springs tri-lake area, Lake Camanche has 54 miles of shoreline and 7,700 surface acres of water and is a popular destination for outdoor weddings and festivals!


Learn all about Lake Camanche

6. Pardee Lake – Fishing and More

Lake Pardee I Courtesy of Instagrammer @ramitosbalboa

DID YOU KNOW: Part three of the Valley Springs tri-lake area, Pardee Lake is the only lake in Calaveras County that does not allow anyone to swim in the water, making for an extra serene fishing experience.

FEATURES: In addition to their full service marina and wildlife galore, Pardee Lake features fishing, boating, camping, hiking, equestrian trails, picnicking, boat rentals, ten lane boat launch ramp, new state of the art fish cleaning station, developed overnight camping, swimming pool, RV sites with full hook-ups/laundry /hot showers, WiFi, flush restrooms, a cute little coffee shop, store, and gas station.

DOG FRIENDLY: ? Dogs are welcome (with a fee) in developed areas, but must always be leashed and controlled.

Learn all about Pardee Lake

See you on the water!

Looking to find your own favorite Calaveras getaway? Give us a call 7 days a week to get up-to-date information on forest road closures, or to find the right lake, river, restaurants, activities, and/or lodging for you! 1-209-736-0049.

Please note: Fast moving water in streams and rivers can be more dangerous for adults, children, and dogs than it looks. Play safe by only swimming in clearly marked safe-swimming areas for the safety of you and your loved ones. Learn more about any destination you are considering by calling our office 7 days a week at 1-209-736-0049.