From Sacramento take 50 past Auburn then take the Foresthill exit toward Foresthill. Go over the dramatic Foresthill Bridge, the tallest bridge in the United States and the site of this scene from the Vin Diesel's film xXx.
About a half mile past the bridge take the Old Forest Hill Road. Take it down to the confluence of the North and Middle Forks of the American River. Park right after you cross the Old Forrest Hill Bridge. There is a turn-out with a sign and pit toilet. Go up the fire road until you reach the point where the Stagecoach Trail joins the road. About 25 paces up is where the narrow side trail to Clark's Hole drops off. This trail was barely noticeable.
The spot where the trail breaks off the fire road.
The trail drops off along the canyon and is at times quite narrow. In some places, a careless slip could leave you tumbling over a 100 feet off a nearly shear cliff. The trail also has some poison oak. This is described as a "family friendly" trail, but I was a bit concerned taking my kids.
We walked under the Forresthill Bridge and passed a couple of rock slides, one of which obscured the trail. I found it covered under some broken branches. This made me wonder if the locals were trying to hide their swimming hole from outsiders. It turns out this was probably not the case. When I nearly reached the end of our destination, I came to the blueberry patch described in the above PDF. The vines were so think, I had to slash my way through them with my Swiss Army Trekker. It appeared that were were the first people to do this trail this season.
After emerging from the thicket, we scrambled down the rocks and found the "pool." It is actually a bend in the river with a flat rock outcropping. The rock has some nice natural stairs down into the water. It appears that the water is quite deep around the rock.
The water was supposed to warmed by Lake Clementine, but is was still pretty cold at the end of June. Apparently, the locals know this. On the other side of the river was a lone guy reading a book. A bit later a family group with a baby arrived on the other side of the river and the men swam over. It would appear that it is easier to hike the other side of the canyon.
Kids playing on the rock at Clark's Hole.
Flat rock outcropping at Clark's Hole with
the Foresthill Bridge in background.