The Cascade Mountains and Willamette Valley are defined with a patterned symmetry of freshwater lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and creeks, that offer great summer swimming and other water activities within reasonable proximity of one of the largest in Oregon - the Salem Metropolitan Area.
Favorite summer destinations of the Salem residents are the North and South Santiam Rivers and their tributaries, as well as the tributary of Willamette River. Numerous sites offer opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors with activities such as swimming, boating, paddleboarding, fishing, picnicking, hiking, and camping. Some sites are extremely popular and can be crowded on hot summer weekends. There are a few less-known places in the Salem vicinity but they are still great to spend your time around water.
Because rivers and creeks are located at a higher elevation and fed by water from the Cascade Mountains, the swimming holes are likely going to be cold. Before you check the list of the swimming spots that are below, be aware that there are inherited dangers associated with swimming and other water activities. Please, make safe decisions.
Cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous. Variations in water levels, rocks that are not immediately visible, and shifts in river bottoms due to strong currents can lead to serious injury and even death. It is very important to check your swimming spot conditions and take all associated risks into account. Make safe decisions!