TUOLUMNE COUNTY, Calif. — So wild are the waters and Canyons of the Clavey River that man has yet to develop it. Not a single dam, picnic area or boat ramp were ever built along the riverbanks. Its protected by giant granite boulders and at the center of this remote Eden is a Tuolumne County wonder, a swimming hole known as Gods Bath.
Whoever said “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey?” Never try walking to God's Bath. Just getting to Riverbank requires a bit of rock-climbing skills. There’s not trail-head and don’t depend on GPS.
God’s bath is located in a cell service dead spot in the Stanislaus National Forest. It’s not illegal to visit the swimming hole, but locals have worked hard to keep the access point a secret and you’ll soon understand why.
I’m not going to tell you how to get to God's Bath.
The steep cliffs and slippery rocks have injured many who attempt this journey and rescue crews are tired of hauling out inexperienced hikers. Instead, I am going to tell you about it and share videos of God’s Bath. I’m doing this for 2 reasons. One, so you can visit virtually and two, so you can see what happens when visitors don’t respect nature.
Locals will tell you social media has ruined this place.
God’s Bath is no longer a secret and after influencers take their pictures, they leave trash and graffiti behind. God bath is truly a place of unique beauty, millions of years of erosion carved out underwater granite caves.
The Clavey is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Sierra. The native rainbow trout have no problem seeing in the crystal-clear water and until recently this place was free of pollution. It’s sad what’s happening here, but hopefully, this is a lesson to anyone visiting Tuolumne County.
If you do find this place, take your trash home. Don’t leave it.
It's easy to take the same route. There's over 50,000 miles of California State Highway and it only takes you to well-known destinations, but Bartell's Backroads will take you to some of the hidden places that you won't want to miss.