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Rainbow Falls & Rainbow Pools near Groveland

Rainbow Falls & Rainbow Pools near Groveland

Photo ©

Who hasn't always wanted to find just the perfect swimming hole? The one all the locals know about but seems to always escape the casual passerby. We have one for you conveniently located just off Highway 120 on the way to Yosemite National Park!

Rainbow Pools are natural swimming holes along the south fork of the Tuolumne River, where one can dip their feet, take a plunge or just watch courageous kids jump the rock lined ledges into the largest of the inviting pools. Originally a Toll Stop on the Big Oak Flat Road to Yosemite, and later a resort development, the area is now a popular picnic, swimming, hiking and fishing spot.

Rainbow Pools is located 15 miles East of Groveland. Just after you pass the View Point parking area called Rim of the World, which looks down onto the Tuolumne River canyon, watch for a turn on the right just before the big bridge. If you miss the right, just after the bridge is the turnoff to Cherry Lake, you can turn around there.

Recreational Opportunities

Swimming, Fishing, Hiking, Picnicking, FUN!

Seasons Accessible

The area is accessible all year round. If the gate for the road down to the parking area is closed, you can park on the road and walk in. Swimming is best in summer, July through September, but fishing and hiking is good all year long.

Fees: No Access Fee

For More Information, Contact:

Yosemite Chamber of Commerce
18653 Main Street, P.O. Box 1263, Groveland, CA 95321

Linda Groh wrote on October 29, 2015: About how high is the jump from the top of the rock to the pool?

Renay G wrote on September 29, 2015: Was just there September 27, 2015, and the water was nice and cool. I jumped in from the tall ledge for first time! Climbing up on the rocks though is a bit of a challenge if your knees are weak.

Kim O. wrote on September 11, 2015: Is there enough water in Rainbow Pools to swim, jump in safely through Sept. 25th?

Dana wrote on September 05, 2015: Is there any water left at Rainbow Falls?

Sierra Nevada Geotourism Mapguide Project wrote on September 02, 2015: Thank you for your inquiry Phillip. Your question is an important one and through our research we’ve found that alcohol isn’t allowed in the Rainbow Falls area. This is supported by the posted regulations of the Stanislaus National Forest: We appreciate when our visitors to the region comply with local regulations and encourage our visitors to check with local authorities with any questions.

Philip Shoebridge wrote on August 17, 2015: I am from England. I took some wine in a plastic bottle to drink by this pool. As far as I can tell this pool is in California and there are no statutes against consuming alcohol in such a public place. What is the law on this? I WOULD HUGELY APPRECIATE A QUICK RESPONSE TO THIS BY LOCALS OR CALIFORNIANS OR OTHERS IN THE KNOW. THANKS+++++

Ali wrote on July 30, 2015: Can dogs go to the swimming spots within the park?

df wrote on September 07, 2014: How is the water flow currently?

maxxi wrote on August 17, 2014: Yes but you have to walk down a hill to the water..

Loretta in Groveland wrote on August 07, 2014: Are the swim areas fairly easy to access? I'm too old to leap off cliffs. ~(:>)

Jenny wrote on July 22, 2014: I know dog are allowed in this park, but are they allowed in the pools?

Brian wrote on July 15, 2014: Is the water level high enough?

Dar Brown wrote on June 24, 2014: Yes, Rainbow Pools is open and has been cleared after the fire.

steve wrote on June 24, 2014: From Stanislaus NF website: Area Status: Open Current Conditions: Open. Stay within designated open area. CAUTION - BURNED AREA Please use caution while in the Rim Fire Burned Area. Potential hazards include loose and falling rocks, flash floods, and debris flows. Trees may have been weakened from fire damage and ongoing drought and may fall at any time. Stay on designated roads and trails and within opened areas. Be alert for falling objects and do not linger around large trees. Avoid the area during high winds or heavy rain.

Jennifer wrote on June 21, 2014: Hi. Does anyone know if the area is open again? It is June 20, 2014.

Jennifer Williams wrote on March 24, 2014: Is the Rainbow Falls area still closed due to the Rim Fire?

Sharon Coolidge wrote on January 12, 2014: Its currently closed due to the Rim Fire.

chloe wrote on July 05, 2013: I heard the water is low this year? Is this true?

Burt Wantlin wrote on July 04, 2013: We heard about this before our trip last year. It is what is is people. Its hidden, waterfalls with rock/cliff jumping. It’s not a Disney ride with life jackets. We are returning to camp near here this year as our teen age kid's loving it. If your family likes adventure, include this in every trip to Yosemite. AWESOME!

Christian Juenger wrote on June 17, 2013: A place to be shown rather than told. The Pyrite on top of the falls is beautiful to look at. Best to keep this place a secret. It’s that great!

Patrick Sawyer wrote on May 14, 2013: I have swam there on many, many occasions, doing 1-1/2 dives off the one cliff, the other cliff is a dodgy dive with rocks below and I do not recommend it unless you are a super diver and know what you are doing. Down the fire trail on the other side of Highway 120 are Three Pools, but swimming in the pools can be dangerous, access wise and current wise. Best to stay at Rainbow. The Third Pool has a great jump/dive (about 80 feet), right next to the waterfall, but almost leads into a chute that would mangle you. Don't do it unless you are competent. Again, stick to Rainbow Pool.

Richard Moustirats wrote on September 13, 2012: Does anyone know the fishing regulations at Rainbow pools? Can you fish with bait or keep the trout?

Susan Parker wrote on August 13, 2012: Beautiful place, but even on a Monday very crowded!!!

Chris Massey wrote on July 25, 2012: This place is so awesome!! First time ever been here and I loved it! And everybody was so nice!! Definitely gonna come back here asap!! And some cute ladies! ;)

Kellie wrote on July 16, 2012: Yes, it is safe for toddlers. There are smaller wading pools uptop where the little ones can play so long as they remain under CONSTANT eye because this is where the water fall flows from. They can also play in the bigger pool as long as they are good swimmers or in life vests/floatation devices. Its very fun for adults and older kids who wish to jump from the cliff or manage the current from the waterfall to sit behind the falls.

principle ortega wrote on July 16, 2012: I’ve never been and I’m just wondering if it's safe for toddlers with life jackets?

Dayle Wilson Smidt wrote on July 03, 2012: In respose to the comment by Mr. Firman: no, sadly the lodge burned in 1958. I am writing a book about the Cliff House. My father was the manager then. Are we cousins? You may respond to

Richard S. Firman wrote on January 25, 2012: In 1953/54 I spent a summer at the Cliff House. Is the building still standing? My uncle managed it at that time.

The Nonaka Family wrote on July 31, 2011: We went there 7/29/11 and had a lot of fun. See pix at

We encourage healthy dialogue and interaction. Please include your first and last name. Comments must be accurate, family-friendly, based on personal experience and relevant to all travelers. Comments with profanity, threats, personal insults, or commercialized content will be deleted. Thank you.

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Longitude: -120.014090500
Latitude: 37.822429500
Elevation: 2818 FT (859 M)
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