If you’re on your way in or out of Yosemite, take a break and cool off at Rainbow Pools off Highway 120 in Stanislaus National Forest. This is a little oasis with a picturesque waterfall, an inviting rock, and refreshingly cool water. The water level was a tad lower than the last time I was there, but still swimmable and jumpable. I thought it would have been engulfed in flames from last year’s Rim Fire, but things are still lush and green!
During hot summer and fall days, it gets pretty packed with people swimming and jumping off the rocks. At night it’s a little more quiet, save for the sound of bats swooping around above the water.
This is a destination you can’t miss if you’re in the area, even if you’re only stopping for a little while.