Wild Swimming in The American Southwest

The therapeutic and healing properties of water are known by many and water therapy practices in the American Southwest date back many years to indigenous populations. From cold plunges to Watsu, the holistic benefits of water wellness experiences are endless and near many Under Canvas locations live some of the most beautiful bodies of water that make for an epic wild swimming experience. Wild swimming provides the perfect blend of serenity and adventure and connects you with nature on a deeper level. From hot springs near Moab to hiking through canyon rivers in Zion National Park, we have put together some of our favorite ways to experience wild swimming around our American Southwest locations.

Lake Powell

Just 10 minutes from our Under Canvas Lake Powell – Grand Staircase location, is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States, offering endless wild swimming opportunities. Explore Lake Powell’s turquoise waters and the many inlets it offers on boat, jet ski, kayaks or stand up paddle boards which can all be rented from the marina. If you prefer to take things slower, have a beach day and swim at Lone Rock Beach or float down the Colorado River which winds through the famous Horseshoe Bend.

White Water Rafting – Multiple Locations

Many of our locations are near the Colorado River which has some of the most sought-after rapids in the nation. Cool off and get that adrenaline pumping as you tear through Class II-IV rapids. One of our favorite whitewater locations is near Under Canvas Bryce Canyon on the Sevier River where you can raft through the Marysvale Canyon in Utah. Looking for mellow waters? Try a Class II trip on any of these rivers and experience the beauty and restorative nature of being on the water with less bumps and splashes along the way.

Mossy Cave – Bryce Canyon

Near Bryce Canyon National Park, the lesser known Mossy Cave hike leads to a waterfall that typically runs strong well into the summer months. Wear comfortable shoes as a short hike is required but then revel in the cool waters pouring from the red rock cliff above. This is a great place to cool off after hiking in the park or stop by for a picnic lunch before heading back to camp.

Pine Lake – Bryce Canyon

Near Under Canvas Bryce Canyon in the Dixie National Forest lies a high-alpine lake offering stunning vistas and canoeing and kayaking tours on its mountain waters. Just 30-minutes from the national park, this is a perfect post-hike activity that takes you from Red Rock hoodoos to tree-covered peaks.

Kolob Reservoir – Zion

A scenic 30-minute drive from Under Canvas Zion sits Kolob Reservoir, an expansive body of water that is surrounded by red rock mountains, just north of Zion National Park. This is one of the best kept secrets in the region and a perfect way to cool off after your summer adventures. Enjoy swimming, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and fishing with a breathtaking view before returning to camp for the evening.

The Narrows – Zion

One of the most famous hikes in the world, this wild swimming location is one of our favorites and for good reason. The Narrows is a canyon hike through water, providing an exceptional way to cool off during the summer but also some of the most unique hiking views in the world. Depending on the season, the entrance to The Narrows hike provides a great swimming hole perfect for all ages. As you wade through the crystal blue waters (sometimes up to your chin) and travel farther up the canyon you will hike through narrow canyons with vegetation and water dripping from its walls. This wild swimming location is best in mid to late summer when heavy runoff has eased and has water well into the fall season.

Mill Creek – Moab

Mill Creek is a local’s favorite in the Moab region and is located just 20 minutes from Under Canvas Moab. After an easy and scenic hike from the heart of Moab you are rewarded with a picturesque swimming hole and waterfall, Mill Creek Waterfall. Take a dip after a day of recreation and fully soak in the wonder of this wild swimming destination.


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