The Clay Banks

Hidden deep in the river trails behind William B. Pond Recreation Area is a relaxing swimming hole known by locals as The Clay Banks. There is a small section of the American River where dirt mounds protrude above the height of the flowing water. Throughout much of the year, rivergoers can hop from mound to mound and even cross over to a small island that splits the river in two. Just past the clay mounds and before the island ends, the water is calm, and you can swim around in tranquility without being pulled away by the rapids. The park, located in Carmichael at the intersection of American River Drive and Harrington Way, is open from sunrise to sunset year-round, and there’s a $5 parking fee.