Several swimming holes are at short hiking distances upriver from the Pleasant Valley Road bridge. These are most popular with teenagers and young adults, because there are large rocks to climb, deep pools to swim in, sunning beaches, and a sense of isolation from the center of activity near the covered bridge.
The closest upriver beach is Kneebone Beach, best reached by hiking up river left (the left side as you face down river, opposite Buttermilk Bend Trail). Kneebone Beaches are the sandy areas in the distance, viewed from the initial part of Buttermilk Bend Trail on the left.
A zoomed view from the initial part of the Buttermilk Bend Trail. This is the end of March and grass is green.
More Kneebone Beaches
Kneebone Beaches viewed from farther up Buttermilk Bend Trail in early summer.
Crop into beach activity in above photo. Large rock on left is used for sunning in later picture.
More Beach Activity
Still closer view of beach on left in above picture.
Family on rightmost beach.
Swimming Among The Rocks
Swimming among the rocks upriver from the above beaches.
The larger rocks make great spots to take in some sun.
River Can Be Dangerous
However, please keep in mind that this is a river and it can be very dangerous. Pick your spots carefully and avoid anyplace with even a modest current. Current combined with cold water temperatures can lead to disaster. Swift currents and cold temperatures are most severe in the spring, as in the picture above.
This couple and their dogs enjoy spring turbulence from a safe distance (if they don't lose their footing!)
Rapids And Grinding Rock
Zoom into the rapids and the Maidu grinding rock, in the foreground below.
You can see several pits in a row ground into the rock by Nisenan people making acorn meal. The pits are at the edge of the rock so the grinders could enjoy the beauty of the river as they did their work.
Crop to the Maidu grinding rock. You can see two mortars (pits) near the top of the foreground rock.
Swimmers enjoy deep pools on upriver side of old Hwy 49 bridge, on an October day.
Family Beach is just down river from the covered bridge. It is a popular summer spot for swimming and lunch on the sandy shore, but remember, as for the rest of the park, no alcoholic beverages are allowed.
Family Beach And Wood's Bridge
Family Beach and Wood's Bridge viewed from Point Defiance Trail (the Visitor Center is off right)
Mid To Late Summer
The river current is slow and the water reasonably warm in mid to late summer.