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Home - Hiking - The Potholes

The Potholes (and beyond)

The Vitals 

Directions - To get there from Tahoe take Highway 89 south to Picketts Junction, turn right onto Highway 88. Follow past Kirkwood and on towards Silver Lake. Just past the Silver Lake West Campground (on your right) you will see a road on the left heading to Kit Carson lodge. Park on the corner and head across the street. Pass through the campground and pick up the trail along the river.

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Locals Tips

Stop by the Kirkwood Inn for refreshments and libations afterward.


The Silver Fork of the American River begins at Silver Lake and meanders tranquilly along for about a mile before taking on the more rugged characteristics of a typical Sierra river. Before it does this, however it reaches a granite plateau where the waters have formed some unusual pools and hollows that make an excellent, unique, and beautiful swimming hole on warm summer days. The area is located just outside the Silver Lake West Campground and can easily be accessed from there or from Highway 88 as it passes nearby. The hike is an easy twenty minutes from the road with very little elevation change. It takes you through the campground so if you have children they can use the restrooms there as there are none at the potholes. Another note about children is that I personally wouldn't take more than one that needed full time attention. There's too many things to worry about with the deep running water and the tall rocks and cliff bands. If you've got kids that swim, however, they will love it. Make sure you're there on a warm day and also watch the winds, which can be strong since the swimming hole is on an elevated plateau of sorts. And if you've got tevas, or water shoes, this is the place for them.

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