Scenic Drives

Firehole Canyon Drive to Waterfall & Swimming Area in Yellowstone

Firehole Canyon Drive is a 2-mile, one-way road off the Grand Loop south of Madison. The drive has a waterfall overlook and swimming area. Watch the time-lapse video.

On Firehole Canyon Drive, you will pass the Firehole River, Firehole Falls and a natural swimming hole.

Firehole Falls

Firehole Falls. Photo by Gloria Wadzinski
Firehole FallsGloria Wadzinski

Firehole Falls is a 40-foot waterfall amidst 800-foot thick lava flows forming the canyon walls. There is a small parking area available near the falls and several small pull-offs along the road.

Firehole River Swimming Area

Firehole Swimming Area in Yellowstone
Firehole Swimming River.NPS/Jacob W Frank

The swimming hole in Firehole Canyon is one of two swimming areas inside Yellowstone National Park. The other area on the Boiling River has no facilities and is only open in late fall through winter because of water levels.

There is no parking lot at the Firehole Swimming Area, but there are several locations to park on the side of the road. You can use the changing rooms at the road to put your swimming suits on. Then access the rocky beach area by climbing down wooden stairs. The beach is roomy enough that you can sit and watch the swimmers if you don’t want to swim yourself.

Firehole Canyon Drive road past Yellowstone's Firehole Swimming Area
Firehole Canyon DriveNPS/Jacob W Frank

Sorry – it’s not hot. The name “Firehole River” may lead you to believe that this is heated by hot springs, but the swimming area is a cool temperature similar to an unheated swimming pool. Those used to swimming in rivers and lakes will not see any difference in this water temperature.

There is no lifeguard on duty, but the beach is relatively calm and safe. Swim at your own risk. There are many small boulders and rocks in the river, making it fun to explore. To safely maneuver, some type of footwear made for water sports is recommended. Climbing on and jumping from the cliffs is illegal, unsafe and strictly prohibited.

The beach is closed during high water in the spring, and during the winter season. Inquire at the park’s visitor centers for dates that swimming is allowed.

Swimming in the Firehole River off of Firehole Canyon Drive
Swimming downstream in the Firehole River and exploring the rocksGrant Ordelheide