The large emerald pool below Fish Falls might be the best summertime swimming hole on the frontside of the Santa Ynez Mountains in Santa Barbara County. It’s deep enough to dive into from the top of the waterfall, if you’re good, and wide enough for several people to comfortably swim around.
Even in the current severe drought in the middle of summer the perennial pool remains clear cool and clean, and home to a number of decent sized rainbow trout or steelhead.
Prior to man-made obstructions in the lower watershed which bar access to the upper reaches of the creek, I believe this waterfall stood as the natural end point for native trout swimming in from the Pacific Ocean into the mountains to spawn. It must of been like a sandstone barrel ‘o fish back then.