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America's Best Swimming Holes

Carlon Falls, Yosemite National Park, CA

En route to Hetch Hetchy, pull off winding Evergreen Road at the South Fork Tuolumne River for a mostly flat, two-mile hike to this rare year-round waterfall. Bordered by towering ponderosa pines, with meadows of purple lupine and small bright sunflowers nearby, this secret swimming hole is rarely visited by Yosemite pilgrims. The 35-foot falls cascades over wide granite ledges into a boulder-strewn pool, where, most of the time, the birds in the canopy and the whoosh of rushing water are the only other sounds you’ll hear. Exactly how a good swimming hole should be.—Alice Bruneau

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