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March 30, 2016

Seven Secret Swimming Holes In Pennsylvania

You won’t find these destinations on Tripadvisor or any other place, but Big Swings brings you Seven Secret Swimming Holes that Pennsylvanians flock to every summer. If you do visit any of these locations, BRING A TRASH BAG! Search for any of the names below while inside the Big Swings App to get free navigation. Just click below on mobile to download for free…

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1. Powder Hole

Article PowderH PicSetting – This amazing hidden treasure was found by word-of-mouth and plenty of waterfall hunting.  Known only to a few, Powder Hole, deep amid the Pocono Mountains on the Wapwallopen Creek, is a 28-foot waterfall below a 19th century bridge.  The location earlier hosted the Shawnee Indians and later settlers who harnessed the power of the river to make blasting powder hence the name, ‘Powder Hole’.  Big Swings App brings this treasure to adrenaline junkies who crave the 42-foot leap into man or womanhood.

Parking –  RT. 239 at River Road.  the trail is on the east side of the road. 

Trail Difficulty – Gorgeous trail, easy to moderate depending on skill level

Depth – Water depths vary, and the bottom is solid rock.  Under the bridge, right beyond the bubbles, there is only a 10-foot deep hole with some large boulders on the riverbed in wait.  A jump from here must be calculated exactly.  One must take every safety precaution and must have extreme skill to attempt any jumps like these.  The water level below the cliffs on either side of the bridge generally have a 12 foot depth.  Large boulders beneath the water are unseen, and sometimes a miscellaneous tree trunk is meandering about.  Check the waters for depths and debris prior to jumping every time! Knowing the location of submerged rocks is crucial for any jump here. 


2. The Cove

BSA Photo 229 Cove Chick Smoke Jump

Setting – A safe place to introduce someone to the art of Cliff Jumping.  Enjoy the scenery as you follow the trail from the Dilworthtown parking area thru the wilderness and up to the railroad tracks that lead to this 16-foot leap.  The Cove has been a popular swimming hole for decades among people living just south of Philadelphia; it’s a great place to relax and cool off with your friends.  In fact, the Founder of Big Swings started his cliff jumping at this very location 24 years ago and still visits regularly to jump and clean.  Swimmers jump from a tunnel in which a small spring fed stream runs through; relieving itself into Chester Creek.  The old tunnel supported train cars full of stone coming and going from the Glen Mills Quarry until it ceased to run, leaving the Cove a safe place to enjoy a dip into a nice deep swimming hole.

Parking – There are two ways to access this location.  There is a parking lot on Darlington Road for the Darlington Trail.  Park here, and take the trail following the water.  The rest is your adventure.  There is another parking lot next to the Wawa Campus on Valley Road for the Wawa Preserve Trail.  

Trail Difficulty – Trails from both lots have easy difficulty-levels.

Depth Depths vary regularly.  As the water flows out of the mouth of the tunnel, it pushes the soft bottom of the creek away, leaving a hole of water in the tune of 12- feet deep.  Always swim out the water before jumping.  You never know what’s there unless you check for hazards yourself.  Over the years, we have pulled numerous items from their graves below these waters, including: shopping carts, mountain bikes, umbrellas, and railroad ties.  Just because you were there the day before doesn’t mean there aren’t new dangers.  It is necessary to practice all safety procedures prior to any Cliff Jumping activity.

3. Devil’s Pool

7 Secret Pa Article Devils

Setting – Less of a secret to the youth of Philadelphia, Devil’s Pool is a popular Cliff Jumping destination for many in the 215 area code. Usually crowded on a hot summer day, this beautiful section of Fairmount Park enwraps jumpers and onlookers with stunning boulders and rock formations jutting from the ground.  An old pipeline bridge stands 45 feet above a small waterfall and crystal clear water; anyone can appreciate the beauty of this scenery. The looming bridge overhead has been jumped from.  Any attempts from the bridge could easily result in death.  The water levels here are simply too shallow. 

Parking – There is a great parking lot on Valley Green Rd.  Just walk down to the stream, and take the Orange Trail -the one closest to the water on the left of the road.

Trail Difficulty – This is a defined trail and very easy to navigate.  There is one section of boulder you will have to clamber over to get to Devil’s Pool.

Depth – The water levels vary; the average depth in the one and only deep section is only eight feet deep. Take the utmost care when jumping these ledges.  There is a serious pollution problem at this location,

Big Swings considers these “Endangered Cliffs.”  To help conquer this dilemma, please bring out at least what you brought in.  Polluting our swimming holes will eminently lead to closures.

4. Hackers Falls

7 Secret Article Hackers

Setting – Lying in the extremely natural setting of the Delaware Water Gap just south of New York State, these 21 and 37-foot leaps sit deep in a thick forest.  You can hear the flow of water as you descend into the mystical valley that holds this grand swimming and fishing spot.  As you near the falls, the thundering sound is a dead giveaway to the exact location. Time to turn off the phone, and enjoy what has been provided to us for free.

Parking – There is a nice parking lot with a public restroom for park visitors and a trail right off Cliff Park R0ad.

Trail Difficulty – The hike is around a mile and a half from the parking lot.  Wear appropriate shoes for a Pennsylvania Mountain Hike that can be steep and have loose rock.  This trail has a medium difficulty-level.

Depth – Depths vary at this waterfall; though, it is generally nine to eleven feet deep directly in front of the falls and approximately 13 feet under the 37-foot jump.  The only way to check if the water is deep enough and clear of debris is to get in and check the water yourself.  It is always a good idea to bring goggles, and if you care about yourself and your friends’ lives, make sure to do all of the appropriate safety checks and wear safety devices.

5. Peace Rock

7 Secret Pa Article Peace R

Setting – Peace Rock is one of the most popular, secret spots in Pennsylvania; though, it is illegal to leap from the actual rock. It took three visits to this location to find all the sweet spots. Offering up a variety of swimming holes scattered along a peaceful trail on the Schuylkill River, this location is an entire day’s worth of fun. Peace Rock stands for more than just the graffiti on the rock. The location brings together a melting pot of people who all love the outdoors and adventure. It is a place where people who share a common interest just appear in the woods- creating a community. The essence of peace in our books.

Peace Rock itself is perfect for anyone who enjoys Cliff Jumping as long as they’re a strong swimmer. There is something for everyone here with 8,  15, and 28-foot jumps. The water’s current is particularly sharp in the landing zone; with the cliff located on a bend in the river, the water is forced to move quickly through the area. There was a death here in 2016. The victim was simply swimming across the river when the power of the current swept him from his friend’s grasp. Swimmers can prevent this tragedy by wearing safety products like Kingii Safety Device. Let’s prevent Cliff Jumping and swimming deaths in 2016!  Practice safety 100% of the time.

Rope Swings are located just a short, half-mile hike downstream from Peace Rock. Built with an excellent platform, the swing on the Peace Rock side is legit. You can see the second swing across the river, but it’s a long haul, sooo… most dare not attempt.

A Dam is located a bit further downstream. This thousand-foot long, thirty-foot high dam has developed a slick layer of algae over the ages. Sliders let the water’s force glide them over the crest and down into the churning bubbles below- reappearing moments later with the look of sheer joy on their faces.


There are two parking locations for the Peace Rock area. Blue Mountain Road has one option, but there is not a lot of room here. Due to overcrowding, this area quickly becomes dangerous. Jumpers have to swim across the river to get to Peace Rock from this parking spot. Dam Parking is on Kernsville Dam Road. This State Park parking lot houses more than enough space, and you don’t have to swim across the river to access the swimming locations.  

Trail Difficulty – This trail is very easy and very defined.  

Depths – Depths and currents vary daily. The river moves massive logs and branches on the regular; if you land on one, it will be your last jump. Always have a spotter waiting and ready.

Please be a pal, and bring a trash bag with you. Along with the youth having a good time, comes trash; please be responsible, and bring out at least what you’ve brought in. This is a popular spot that needs good people to lead with example and show it love. Please keep our swimming holes open and safe by keeping them clean.

6. Sullivan Falls

7 Secret Pa Article Sullivan

Setting – Deep in the heart of Pennsylvania’s ‘State Game Lands Number 13,’ Sullivan Falls is one of the best locations we have ever encountered. Finding this waterfall is an awesome adventure; plus, it’s not overrun with tourists like in nearby Ricketts Glen State Park. Hidden away, up a long dirt road in the foothills of the Appalachian mountain chain, this waterfall measures out at 42 feet high.  There is a thick tree root that loops out from the ground offering a perfect foot hole to press against while leaping out over these falls.  The freefall on the way down is impressive. The adrenaline rush here is hard to match, and the cold water below is sure to wake you right up!

Parking – A dirt road brings you to a parking location just an eighth of a mile down the trail. Just follow the sound of white water!

Trail Difficulty – The path into Sullivan Falls is an easy short hike.  The climb up from the pool below is very steep and can get muddy.  It’s best to bring a dry towel and shoes to the bottom first.  

Depths – The pool averages an 18-foot depth and is just shy of 24-feet wide.  Be sure to swim this water out thoroughly because a ledge camouflages itself and needs to be discovered before jumping.  It can be almost otherworldly after spending some time submerged below the water’s surface when the sun makes it that far through the canopy. With the sun’s light, the walls of the pool are extremely smooth from centuries of water wear and erosion.

7. Nay Aug Gorge

7 Secret Pa Article Nay Aug

Setting – Tucked away in a deep gully, Nay Aug is the treasure of Scranton, PA. Carved from glacier movement, this gorge is a place of beauty!  Imagine arriving at the end of what seems to be an abandoned parking lot, a path appears and leads you towards a very well-built and maintained boardwalk.  Following the forest boardwalk, what is Nay Aug appears on your left hand side. As you make your way further down the trail at the end of the boardwalk, the gorgeous cliffs and waterfall reveal themselves in all their splendor.  It’s a breathtaking sight every time.  

There are many heights and locations to jump from into this deep moving pool of water.  The most impressive is a 58-foot jump from the highest viewing deck. Be very weary of the current. If the water is high, then it is hard for even advanced swimmers to reach the falls and successfully climb back out.  Scaling the waterfall face is very dangerous as well because the footing is lacking and very slick.  One slip on the slippery limited foot space could lead to tragic results.

The alternative is to float downstream. Simply exit on the left, and take the long way out.  This route is not fun; there are lots of hazards on the way back including: dangerous paths, train track trestle, scaling a cliff, and climbing a fence.

Park – Large Parking area.

Trail Difficulty – The trail here is beautiful, and we suggest walking as much of this area as you can.  This park is well maintained and is a great place to hike and explore.

Depths – The middle of this pool is at least 25 feet deep. You can see where the hazards lie in the water because rocks clearly breach the water’s surface under some ledges.  Always send in a swimmer to adequately check all swimming and jumping areas. Make sure they have a safety device on; safety devices and good friends go a long way in the fight against losing lives while swimming.  During a camping trip in this area, a stranger in his late fifties had asked our group if anyone had touched the bottom.  When everyone responded “No,” he stated, “If any of you had said yes, I would have called you a Goddamn liar!  That thing is bottomless!”  That guy was awesome.

You can find these and thousands of other swimming holes with pictures, reviews, and directions on the Big Swings App. Free on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to anyone with a smartphone. Big Swings offers travelers and adventure lovers alike places to enjoy the outdoors with their families or friends. Come join the fun today for free and check your State for spots now!

Cliff Jumping in State Parks is illegal. Cliff Jumping anywhere is dangerous. Big Swings and Fast Enough For You LLC. Entities are in no way liable for your actions.  These locations are all extremely dangerous and may very well be illegal, you may be fined for trespassing. Having full trash Bags is a good way to combat against citations ;).