A shady redwood grove isn't the only place to find relief when the mercury spikes in Sequoia National Park. Marble Fork, a major tributary of the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River, offers a bounty of superb swimming holes connected by a string of bracing cascades.
To reach Marble Slide, the easiest to access, walk upriver from the campground and turn right onto the Marble Fork Trail. After about a mile, look for a spur trail leading toward the water. Here you'll find a couple of excellent, yet shallow, swimming holes lined by sandy beaches. To reach the upper pools, continue .75 mile past the spur trail, then turn left and follow a gully to the lip of a 100-foot high ledge. You might want a rope for the scramble down along a faint trail. The four swimming holes above a 60-foot cascade offer wide, deep pools, nearly guaranteed solitude, and large granite slabs ideal for soaking up some summer sun.
Info: swimholes.com/backpacker.htm; nps.gov/seki
-Hike provided by Pancho Doll, author of the Day Trips With a Splash series (Running Water Publications)
Location: 36.5166725, -118.7994146