Saturday, July 21, 2012

Swimming Holes

(Swimming hole list & links at the end.)

Wanting to find a place to cool off with the dog, we went to explore Wreck Hole near the town of West Fork and it was great.  This swimming hole is much closer to Fayetteville than the nicer parts of Beaver Lake and White River and War Eagle put-ins.  The water was cool and there is a nice rock outcropping to climb on.  There was a bit of a litter problem, especially on the gravel bar.

If you visit this or any other swimming hole:  1) Don't bring glass.  2) Plan to carry your trash out (and maybe some trash that isn't yours).  3) Wear shoes as there could be broken glass

Afterwards, we went by the nearby dam in West Fork that is also listed as a swimming hole, but it was completely dry.  There was, however, a nice park there with a walking trail, playground, pavilions, and views of the nice bluffs along the river.

We parked in the gravel pullouts on Campbell Rd. about 0.6 mi. north of 170, but you can also access the area from the local park on the other side, which requires more walking, but offers more space and easier access to the water.

View Wreck Hole in a larger map

Given recent temperatures, here is some information on finding a quality swimming hole near you:

1. Many river access points can make for great swimming holes, especially when rivers are low like they are around the state right now. I enjoy the Siloam Springs Whitewater Park on the Illinois River and Shine Eye on the Buffalo.

2. Beaver Lake, Lake Wedington, Lake Sylvia and many other lakes around the state have swimming areas.

3. has some useful maps and descriptions of many swimming holes around the state. It is where I found out about Wreck Hole.

4. Tim Ernst has a book on Swimming Holes of the Ozarks. I haven't read it, but I'm willing to guess it is informative.

5.  My follow-up piece on Swimming Holes.

6. Here are some of my favorites (click the captions for maps):
Lake Sylvia

Beaver Lake Dam Site

Shine Eye on the Buffalo River
What are your favorite swimming holes? Leave a comment!

*Remember: Conditions such as flow and property ownership change over time. Accuracy of this information and the safety and legality of visiting these places cannot be assured. Each visitor is personally responsible for safety and legality when visiting any site mentioned here or elsewhere on this blog.


  1. Are dogs allowed at wreck hole?

  2. I only know I've seen dogs there (and may have taken mine numerous times).

  3. Is Wreck Hole a good place to take the dogs swimming, considering the broken glass and all??

    1. Good question. Let me start by saying I don't know the official rule on dogs or off-leash dogs there. I enjoyed taking my dog there at less busy times and he never got injured. The gravel can get really hot in the summer, so he did need a towel or something to sit on. I haven't been in a bit, so I don't know how bad the litter is these days.