San Diego Swimming Holes

Swimming Holes San Diego

Swimming holes in San Diego are not easy to come by, so make sure to add this hiking trail to your list. The water was still flowing in mid July. Some sites list this as a waterfall hike in San Diego, but it’s small compared to Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Falls. You’ll still have a great time.

Located in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, this hiking trail is called Dead Horse Falls. It’s a moderate hike- very little elevation gain but the trail is uneven and rocky. This is a family friendly hike in San Diego for older kiddos (not stroller friendly).

Here are the deets:

  • Trailhead: Plug in these coordinates to your maps 32.85955,-116.61093
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Est Time: 2- 3 hours depending on how long you want to swim
  • Dog Friendly: No ?
  • Parking: $10 fee for the lot (exact cash only)

The hiking trail will split twice. The first time take a left. At the 2nd split, you can go either way to get to the swimming holes. If you go left, you will have to pass through a stream that’s a little less than knee deep. Once we got here, we just took our shoes off. The whole point of us coming here was to go for a swim anyways!


  • The water is cold! Even in mid summer.
  • It gets hot here very quickly. Always check the weather and go early if you can.
  • Bring bug spray and a hat- there’s very little shade
  • Another great hike nearby is Stonewall Peak

Only 45 min from downtown San Diego, we started around 8:00 AM and had these swimming holes to ourselves 🙂 10/10 would do again

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