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America's Best Gay Nude Swimming Holes
By Mike Boisvert

ARIZONA

TANQUE VERDE FALLS

East of Tuscon, this is the best gay swimming hole in the world, when there is water in it. The brook is often dry, but it does catch snowmelt from the mountains in spring and rainwater in late summer during the rainy season. Near the beginning of the trail that descends into the canyon, you'll find a sign for Upper Tanque Verde Falls that has been marked over by locals announcing nude use of the area. As you walk upstream from the brook bed in the canyon, you'll find the gay nude area.

Directions: From Interstate 10, take Exit 275 and go north on Houghton Road for 13 miles. Turn right on Tanque Verde Road, which becomes Redington Road and will turn to gravel after 6 miles. Continue another 1.5 miles beyond the end of the pavement. (The road continues winding up a mountain.) Park on the left side of the road and take the trail on the right side of the road. The trail is marked by a metal sign that says "Upper Tanque Verde Falls." After descending into the canyon, hike upstream along the very rocky creek bed past an old dam, which is the gay nude area.

OREGON

KENO ROCK ROAD QUARRY

East of the Ashland-Medford area

Located east of the Ashland-Medford area, this pond in the quarry covers less than acre. The water is cold and very deep. Great for swimming in the summer. This swimming hole attracts up to 50 bathers on a hot summer weekend. Quite a few bathers are gay men. The atmosphere is low-key but sometimes straight clothed bathers are here to party.

Directions: From Interstate 5 in Ashland, take Exit 14 and go east on State Route 66 for .75 mile. Turn left onto Dead Indian Highway and continue for about 18 miles. At milepost 18, turn right onto Keno Access Road.

Drive across the cattle guard and up the hill a mile to the large gravel piles on the left. Turn right onto the dirt road in front of the gravel piles. Drive to the edge of the quarry until you reach the parking area. Nude bathers sometimes hang out at the far end of the pond. The quarry is in a remote forest area but is veryaccessible. It requires little walking.

CALIFORNIA

WILLOW CREEK

Near Oakhurst (north of Fresno, south of Yosemite National Park)

Willow Creek is near Oakhurst, north of Fresno, and south of Yosemite National Park. Willow Creek cuts through smooth rock that forms mini-waterfalls and whirlpools. It's awesome. After 5 to 10 minutes upon leaving the parking lot, you'll will find Angel Falls. During late summer, you'll find skinny-dipping is popular below these falls.

Keep walking along the road for a few more minutes and watch for an opening in the woods on the right.

As some point, you'll begin to notice a huge rock slab in the distance. You'll have to bushwhack your way there since there are not any trails to this rock area. The creek flows around this large area of smooth rock. This is a popular area, and it is located 20 minutes from the parking lot.

From this large area of rock, you can continue hiking upstream to reach yet another nude area after you cross the creek. Find a safe place across, then hike upstream for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. You'll see a fence by the trail for safety. Below this fence is Devil’s Slide (a.k.a. Devil’s Falls). In late summer it is a cascade flowing over a huge slab of rock. You can slide down the cascade into the deep pool below.

Willow Creek is busiest on weekends with late summer being the most popular. You may find about 25 bathers between Angel Falls and Devil’s Slide, half being clothed.

Directions: From Fresno, head north on State Route 41 about 45 miles to Oakhurst. At the junction of SR-41 and SR-49 in Oakhurst, continue north on SR-41 for 3.3 miles. Turn right onto County Road 222. After 3.5 miles, CR-222 will veer off to the right but continue straight ahead on CR-274 for 0.8 mile. Then turn left into an unmarked paved drive. After turning, take a right through a metal gate to a dirt parking area. The parking area is not signed but it is 0.6 mile past the Mountain Government Center.

As you drive into the small parking area, the trail you want si on the left-hand side. Hike upstream along the creek and you will find the nude areas.

WOHLER BRIDGE

This swimming hole is in the Russian river resort area, east of Guerneville. On good days the riverbank beach attracts 50 or more swimmers. Nude sunbathing is popular at a meadow near the beach. Since this swimming hole is near the popular Russian River gay resort area, the majority of swimmers are are gay men. Be careful of the poison oak in the woods and the river current.

Directions: Get off the River Road exit (toward Guerneville) of US 101. Head west on River Road about 7.5 miles. Turn right onto Wohler Road and go 1.4 miles. Before the bridge over the Russian River, there is a green steel gate with a large "Keep Clear" sign. This is the trail to the nude beach. (Your biggest challenge will be to find parking which is restricted. Try crossing Wohler Bridge and look for parking on the other side.)

Walk along the paved road behind the green gate and watch for trail on the right. Take the trail until you reach a clearing along the river. You will find the nude swimmers congregating here, on this stretch of sand. The walk from the gate is not bad at all, about 15-20 minutes.

NEW MEXICO

NORTH BEACH

North Beach is in Alameda, north of Albuquerque. This is not an official spot for nude bathers. Don't flaunt nudity here, especially in the area to the north of North Beach. Walk well beyond clothed bathers before stripping. Remote parts of the beach attract only a handful of bathers, if any. Water levels in the Rio Grande can be as high as six feet in the spring to just a few inches in late summer.

Directions: From the junction of Interstates 25 and 40 in Albuquerque, go north on I-25 about 6.5 miles and take Exit 233. Head west on State Route 528 for about 3 miles. Just past the intersection with South Rio Grande Boulevard, turn left into the parking lot where the sign says "Alameda/Rio Grande Open Space. Take the asphalt path to the right from the parking lot, cross under the bridge, and then go left over the bridge that crosses a small canal.

When you get to an open area, head to the right on the path near the river. Soon you will come to a sandy beach called North Beach. This is the nicest beach area, so of course, limited to clothed bathers. Continue down the lesser worn trail where you'll cross through a metal and cable barricade several times. In a few minutes, you'll come to sandy areas on the river which is the gay nude area.

TEXAS

BARTON CREEK GREENBELT

Barton Springs Pool is in Zilker Park, south of downtown Austin. Nudity is not common in the wooded areas up the creek from the pool so be careful, so don't assume that clothed bathers won't be bothered if you decide to take a nude swim. These areas are accessible from several spots in the city. There are a few spots that are offer skinny-dipping. Twin Falls is the most popular skinny-dipping hole. Nudity along the greenbelt is not as popular as it was before.

The best approach is to find a secluded spot where nobody else is at, take your clothes off, and declare it nude. Then anyone else who sees you can either join you or move on. The best times for swimming is are spring and autumn because the the creek is often dry in the summer.

Directions: In Austin, take Mo-Pac Expressway (Loop 1) a few miles south of the Colorado River (Town Lake) and take the Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360 North) exit (not the left exit, which goes southeast). Do not turn onto Loop 360. Instead, stay on the service road and go straight through the red light at the intersection. Right after you pass the entrance ramp that goes back onto Loop 1, the service road will make a complete loop under the freeway (filtering all traffic back to the north).

Park on right shoulder of the service road just before it loops under the freeway. The trail begins on the right side of the road look for the "Twin Falls" sign. Go west on the trail, which will run along the top of a bluff and then descend into the creek area, where it endd at another trail that parallels the creek. Go upstream and continue until you see a large pool in the creek underneath small waterfalls over large rocks. This area is called Twin Falls. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes to get here. Another popular swimming hole is Sculpture Falls, which is about 1.5 miles farther upstream from Twin Falls.

VERMONT

ROCK RIVER

Rock River, is Vermont's most popular place for gay nude swimming and sunbathing. It's known for being very cruisy. Running into people having sex in the woods is not uncommon. If this is not your scene, just stay near the water. It's known to have a good social atmosphere and everyone seems to look after each other. A popular activity is taking the rocks and building beautiful cairn structures. It's between Brattleboro and Newfane, VT, and has several natural pools. The first pool you reach is the largest, and users may nude, clothed, a mix of both. As you walk further upstream, you'll come to a second pool, which has probably nudity, but is made up of mostly straight folks. Further upstream, you will come to a third pool, which tends to be all nude and all gay.

Directions: From Brattleboro, take State Route 30 north. After 7 or 8 miles, when you see the turnoff for Maple Valley Ski Are, continue north on SR-30 for another 1.5 miles, until you reach the Williamsville Road turnoff on the left. The turnoff is just before a large bridge over Rock River. Pull over and park on the east side of SR-30 just before the bridge. Cross to the west side of SR-30, then walk up Williamsville Road a short distance until you see the first spur trail on the right that heads toward the river. Take this road to the river, then hike upstream about a mile to reach the gay area. Along the way, you should pass two natural pools in the shallow river that is usually where the straight folks hang out. The third swimming hole is your destination.

WISCONSIN

MAZO BEACH

Mazo Beach is between Sauk City and Mazomanie. This large sandbar on the Wisconsin River, is part of the Mazomanie State Wildlife Area. It is the most popular nude beach in the Midwest. This beach will have have several hundred people on warm days, with upwards of 500 nude bathers on hot summer weekends. It has a fun atmosphere.

A large number of gay nudists come here. More men than women hang out here. Everyone is nude. The beach is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Conservation Road is closed to auto traffic which means you'll have to walk 1.25 miles to this beach. But that's a good thing since it keeps families with kids away.

Directions: Take US-12/14 west from Madison to the suburb of Middleton. In Middleton, the two highways will split. At this point, continue on US-12 for 15 miles, then turn left onto County Road Y.

Head west on CR-Y for 5.25 miles, then turn right onto Laws Drive. (Laws is a loop road that intersects CR-Y in two places. Take the second Laws turnoff). Go about 0.25 mile on Laws Drive until you see a gravel road to the left. Park in the parking lot across from the gravel road. Walk 1.25 miles down the gravel road (Conservation Road) to reach the beach. Once at the beach, walk downstream to reach the nude area.

NEW YORK

MOHONK PRESERVE

Mohonk Preserve in near New Paltz, in the northern Shawangunk Mountains. There are signs posted along Coxing Kill Creek that inform folks of nude use. There are several pools for skinny-dipping and rock areas for sunbathing. A small number of bathers are in the nude area, that includes some gay men. This area is very popular on those hot, hazy, and humid summer weekends.

Officials are quite vocal about cruising and having sex in the woods. This is not the place to test this out. Parking at the Coxing lot fills up quickly on summer weekends. If the lot is full, try returning to the Trapps lot (mentioned in the directions below). From the Trapps lot, a half-mile walk along the Shongum Path will connect you to the Coxing area.

Directions: From Interstate 87 in the Poughkeepsie area, take Exit 18 and head west on State Route 299. Continue about 7 miles through the town of New Paltz all the way to the end of the route at the junction with US Highway 44. Turn right on US-44. The highway will head north and then turn westward. Stay on US-44 about 3 miles to Trapps Bridge where you'll see a turnoff.

After you go under the Trapps Bridge, you will reach the Trapps parking area on the right. Turn right onto the next road. After about 0.25 mile, bear right at the fork. You are now headed north on Clove Road. Count the bridges. After the third bridge, turn right into the Coxing parking area. You’ll have to pay a day-use fee here ($5 per person on weekdays $7 on weekends). Near the parking lot, there is a bridge over Coxing Kill Creek at Split Rock swimming hole (where swimsuits are required). Cross the creek and turn left. Hike downstream about 5-10 minutes. Look for a sign posted on a tree that says "Beyond this point you may encounter nudity."

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