Arroyo Seco


Rating: B

Nudists at Arroyo Seco, between Soledad and Greenfield, walk, wade and swim in what's sometimes called a "full immersion canyoning trip" to get from one end of a dozen swimming holes to the other and past several waterfalls, including one that some naturist groups climb down.Located off Highway 101, the wilderness isn't designated clothing-optional, but some hikers like to remove their tops and bottoms anyway."I hiked and swam for two hours," reports reader Franz Gall. "It's a beautiful place."Being nude is best, says Rob van Glabbeek, "as any clothes you choose to wear will be soaked."Threading through the amazingly clear water, which is as much as 40 feet deep, requires repeated swims of up to 50 yards per time.The canyon walls form 100 foot towers.The bottom line: don't even think about attempting the trek unless you are in top condition.To avoid hassles, don't go nude on weekends, when families tend to be present.

Legal status:

Part of the Ventana Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest.

How to find it:

From Salinas, take Highway 101 south past Soledad to Arroyo Seco Road. Follow Arroyo Seco west to the U.S. Forest Service campground in Arroyo Seco Canyon. The entrance fee is $7 a car. "A lot of picnic people are at the entrance of the canyon," says Gall. "But you won't see them after 10 minutes of walking. Go through the picnic area right along the river. There aren't any signs or maps. You can walk for about an hour until you come to a point where you have to start swimming every 10 minutes. The water's crystal clear. The stones aren't covered with anything slippery, so it's a really easy hike. But you should use sneakers."

The beach:

See above for description. Along the lower stretches of the canyon, you will have your pick of numerous pools.

The crowd:

Arroyo Seco's lower four miles of swimming holes are visited by only a few hardy hikers during the week. On weekends, clothed users take over.


Users must swim and hike and be in good physical shape; mornings often cool; lack of precise directions; no easy way out in emergency; entrance fee; after heavy rains the river covers access, so don't come during or just after the end of the rainy season.

Your rating: None Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

Select an Area:


It would be really helpfull if you could explain how to get to this waterfall in more detail. I went there and there is a day use area, but everyone there thought the waterfall was on the path to the george. If someone could post the various spots to get to the river would also be helpful. Is the waterfall a steep drop type or a slow rolling type? Well, I went up to the top parking lot and started my hike along the paved road that quickly turned to dirt. There is a spot to hike down to the river after about 45 minuets of hiking. The second spot i found was about 1 1/2 hours up the path I came to two silver garbage cans. the last spot was at the sign marker about a 2 hour hike. all 3 spots had basically the same look to them. Small pools , some large enough to swim in. some large and small boulders in the water to climb around and over. But at all 3 spots on a weekday all people were clothed. I never found any naked beach or naked people frolicking about, which was a shame since the whole place seem to be about getting back to the basics of nature ... ie no clothes. oh well, I hiked so far that finally i found no one else and Finally disrobed!! ah, finally, much better. Also there was a Fish and Game Ford at the entrance to the third spot, although, I never saw anyone in a uniform. I did assume though that when I saw the ford I figured i had found the naked spot for sure. lol, but no such luck. So i never got to see any waterfall either but the pools were nice to swim in. watch for rattle snakes when you hop from rock to rock I saw one on my hike, it was sunning itself to get warm and i startled it... rattles went up I slammed on brakes and let him slip away. I also saw a couple of water snakes, these guys always creep me out because they are in the water with you. If you watch along the shoreline you can usually see them with only there heads above water and when they see you they usually turn and swim off (about a foot long in size). Also day use was $8 and camping was $15, if you day use they say you must be out at 6pm... I left at 9 with no hassles. Campground looks to be a party type campground.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 16, 2010 @ 5:51 pm

Also from this author


    From Bonny Doon to Supermoons: our 39th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun

  • Monterey County


    Our 38th annual survey of Northern California naked fun in the sun