Gorgeous Swimming Destinations In The Ozarks To Beat The Summer Heat

Escape the summer heat while exploring these breathtaking natural swimming holes and waterfalls in the Ozarks.


Buffalo Point River

KINGSTON, ARKANSAS

Established in 1972, Buffalo National River flows freely for 135 miles and is one of the few remaining undammed rivers in the lower 48 states. It is America’s First National River. This breathtaking swimming destination lies within the Ozark Mountains, surrounded by ancient rock bluffs and lush forest.


Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park

REYNOLDS COUNTY, MISSOURI

Looking for a unique destination? Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park offers ancient beauty.

The wilderness qualities and geology of Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park and the surrounding St. Francois Mountains make this park a special place to visit. Its rugged character provides the perfect backdrop for camping, hiking, picnicking, splashing in the shut-ins, exploring nature or just relaxing.


 Rocky Falls

WINONA, MISSOURI

Hidden in the forest, this gorgeous lesser-known swimming hole is a perfect summer destination. It has a beautiful waterfall and many other utilities including a walking trail, bathrooms, picnic tables, and fire grills.


Fugitive Beach

ROLLA, MISSOURI

Carved into the cliffs of a rock quarry, Fugitive Beach is a unique and popular swimming destination for locals and travelers alike.

This hidden oasis offers a variety of summer activities for all ages including a 60 foot water slide, cliff jumps, sand volleyball, a play area for children, pavilion rentals, changing rooms, and a beach bar and grill.


The Rhododendron spring blooms on top of Hawksbill Mountain at t

Kings River Falls Natural Area

MADISON COUNTY, ARKANSAS

Located in the Boston Mountains, Kings River Falls Trail is an scenic hike along the banks of the Kings River, eventually leading to a beautiful waterfall.


Long Pool Recreation Area

DOVER, ARKANSAS

Long Pool Recreation Area lies along beautiful Big Piney Creek and offers visitors a variety of recreational opportunities: camping, picnicking, swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking. A large natural pool, steep rock bluffs, and captivating forests are just a few examples of the natural beauty surrounding this recreation area.


Petit Jean State Park

KINGSTON, ARKANSAS

Petit Jean State Park is an Arkansas icon, a state natural and historic treasure that features the beauty and ancient geology of the surrounding mountains. Explore a variety of breathtaking scenery, including Cedar Creek Falls, a 95 foot waterfall in the forest, and “Blue Hole”, a popular swimming destination.


8 Trails in the Ozarks That Will Lead You to Unforgettable Places

From serene ancient mountains to lush oak forests, the Ozarks holds a pristine beauty that you can witness while exploring these trails.


Hawksbill Crag/Whitaker Point Trail

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 3 miles roundtrip, 2.5 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

(479) 284-3150

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/whitaker-point-trail-hawksbill-crag

Radiant with wildflowers and a waterfall in the spring, and then graced with the crimson and amber foliage of turning maple leaves in the fall, this trail winds through some of the most beautiful scenery in the state.

This region was also featured in the opening scenes of the Disney film Tuck Everlasting.



Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/pedestal-rocks-loop-trail

(479) 284-3150

 Visitors can view picturesque rock bluffs, swim in crystal clear streams, and hike wooded hillsides. This scenic area consists of two hiking trails, Pedestal
Rocks and Kings Bluff. Pedestal Rocks is 2.2 -miles and Kings Bluff is 1.7-miles long. Although there are some steep sections, the trails are easy to hike with abundant resting places.


Whispering Pines Trail

Southeast Missouri – Hawn State Park

Distance: 9.75 Miles

Difficulty: Hard

Hawn State Park Website: https://mostateparks.com/park/hawn-state-park

More Info: https://mostateparks.com/trails/hawn-state-park

(573) 883-3603

This trail is arguably the best, most scenic trail in the state. It has a little bit of everything, unusual rock formations, beautiful creeks, old forests, panoramic views, and wildlife.

Whispering Pines Loop Trail is a 9.2 mile loop trail consisting of two loops: the north loop is approximately six miles long and the south loop is approximately 3.75 miles.

The trail provides the opportunity for day hikes of varying lengths or a longer backpacking trip. It meanders through a beautiful mixed hardwood and pine forest, which is home to a variety of animals such as bobcat and wild turkey. Extensive exposures of sandstone and granite can be explored along the banks of Pickle Creek and the River Aux Vases. Mosses and ferns create a luxurious effect on the moist overhangs that occur along the two streams. The entire trail should take no more than 9 hours and 45 minutes to complete although more experienced hikers may complete it in a shorter time.



Sam’s Throne Trail

Upper Buffalo Wilderness – Ozark National Forest

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

Sam’s Throne Recreation Area
AR Highway 123
Jasper, AR

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/sams-throne-trail

Sam’s Throne Trail is a 2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Mt Judea, Arkansas that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.


Lost Valley Trail

Buffalo National River – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 1.9 miles

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Region: Arkansas Ozarks & Boston Mountains

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/lost-valley-trail

Lost Valley Trail leaves the parking area and gently winds up the box canyon passing beneath groves of American beech trees. The trail leads you to an turquoise-blue pool of water with an 8-ft waterfall flowing out of a small opening in the bluff, known as the Natural Bridge. The gem of the hike is Eden Falls. The picturesque Eden Falls cascades 53 ft over towering cliffs offering visitors a firsthand view of what the Ozark Mountains have to offer.

Wildflower and medicinal plant folklore enthusiasts will enjoy the trail immensely as it features a wide variety of species, including bloodroot, crested iris, columbine, mayapple, comfrey and Ozark trillium, just to name a few.



Centerpoint to Goat Trail

Buffalo National River – Ponca, Arkansas

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/goat-trail-to-big-bluff

Breathtaking river bluffs combined with a world-class geologic experience makes this trail unique. This area also features the tallest sheer bluff face found between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains.

The trail’s destination is the Big Bluff overlooking the Buffalo River. It is considered the tallest along the Buffalo, over 500 ft. tall. The side trail that leads to an outcropping on the bluff is called the Goat Trail, which is about 350 ft tall. It is not for children, the weak, or those afraid of heights.


Triple Falls Trail

Buffalo National River Wilderness – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 0.3 miles

Difficulty: Easy

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/triple-falls-trail

Triple Falls is a simple hike along the trail on the north side of the creek that heads west from the parking to the 48 ft. tall falls, arguably the most scenic in Arkansas with this ease of accessibility.

It is a 0.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Jasper, Arkansas that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.


Glory Hole Waterfall Trail

Ozark National Forest – Northern Arkansas

Distance: 1.8 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

More Info: http://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/arkansas/glory-hole-waterfall-trail

Displaying one of the most unique waterfalls in the Ozarks, this trail leads to a hidden gem that has fascinated geologists for decades.

Glory Hole Waterfall Trail is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Deer, Arkansas that features a waterfall. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.