Eastern USA, Trip Reports » USA-PA-Tour de Swimming Hole


Memorial Day 2012 was forecast to be hot. Why not collect a little info on swimming holes and link them together in a little tour? I did a few internet searches and collect some previous notes and came up with a route. What was most intriging was that I did not have exact locations on the swimming holes… more like references like ‘a couple of miles above such and such a town there is a deep hole and a rope swing in such and such creek… this was going to be treasure hunt. I didn’t find them all that I had info on, but I found most of them, and a couple that wheren’t referenced.

Of course, the first one was kind of a dud, the water was too low:

Split Rock

The bonus with the first swimming hole was that I had to ask a guy at a hunting camp where it was. He gave me good intructions and also asked me if I had ever been to Stone Camp. No, I have never been to Stone Camp. Him, somewhat incredulous “You never been to Stone, Camp? You have to go.” So he gave me some more instructions… So I follow the trails that lead to Stone Camp. Upon arriving, there are vehicles and activity, basically one guy was shoveling coal and the rest where shooting the breeze. Not knowing what to expect, I ask for permission to ride through, the guys at the camp say no problem… I stopped and started to make small talk. After about 5 minutes, the offer of a beer is extended, which I politely refuse (it was only 10:30 AM). I spent the a good part of an hour talking to the guys at the camp, had a tour and learned the history of the camp, it was founded in 1924 (carved into the rock). Under the rock was eventually closed in and then the protruding addition was added.

Stone Camp – The chimney out does many formally trained architects!

Next stop was Benezette. This swimming hole was found by chance.

Benezette Party

Found this one outside of Emporium, the pool behind the dam is silted in, but the tailwaters are 6+ feet deep.

Near Elk County Fairgrounds




Mountain Laurel


Fern City

We won’t count the beaver pond as potential swimming hole.

Beaver pond and lodge

A rope swing:

Rope Swing

The pool at the lower campground at Kettle Creek State Park might show promise, but I didn’t check the depth.

State Park

Now we are geting somewhere:

Rock Jump Hole

The bold jump:


A late afternoon T-storm force a quick pitch of the tarp tent… the storm turned into a steady rain, so this spot was camp for night 2, deep in the Rhododendron, but total concealed only 50 feet off a paved road!

Wet Camp

Overnight storms clear out and the morning holds promise for no rain:


I couldn’t locate the nearby swimming hole, so I asked one of Hell’s Angels for directions:


One of the little girls told me where the dam I was looking for, but told me to ask her mom for good measure. The mother told me how they were swimming in the hole the day before and that the dam was for the long since gone gun powder industry.

Dam and Hole

The last potential swimming hole was on a inviting stream named Mosquito Creek. This creek is fed by bogs, so the water has a tanin, tainted color to it:

Dam and Hole

So there it is. These route was in the north Central PA state forests, Moshanon, Elk, Sproul.

June 2012

Comments (6)

MikedeberJune 13th, 2012 at 8:50 am

Great ride! The Stone Camp looks awesome. One of the coolest aspects of touring around and not really knowing exactly where to go is talking to random strangers, at least for me. I sure do miss all the swimming holes in the Northeast

RocketeeJune 25th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Excellent! Love the Stone Camp

Steve ZJuly 5th, 2012 at 9:47 am

Looks like another great route. Keep on riding!

Ted UhlmanSeptember 2nd, 2012 at 5:38 am

This looks like a great ride. Do you have a map, so I can try this next year?

Caloundra BookkeeperSeptember 3rd, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Adventure is a fun thing to do plus the rides that add excitement in this place.Doing activities on this site would be a perfect adventure.

ZelznakApril 29th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Wow, my wife spent many summers jumping off the rock on kettle creek when she was growing up – beautiful. Great fireroads around kettle creek state park. can’t wait to get back to the old homestead in bitumen. your photos bring back some good memories -thanks!

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