Driving to and from Tahoe doesn’t have to be a slog if you’ve got a refreshing pit-stop along the way. Clarks Pool is a convenient swimming hole just off I-80, and a favorite getaway for folks around Auburn. Dramatically situated under the tallest bridge in California (730-foot Foresthill Bridge), the emerald pool on the North Fork of the American River is crowded on weekends, but on weekday mornings you can have the place almost to yourself. Back in the early 1900s, Clarks Pool was a summertime hotspot with flocks of people, a concession stand, and a lifeguard. Today the lifeguard is gone and a ¾-mile hike is the only way to reach this Gold Country oasis. Eureka!
From I-80 in Auburn, go south on Hwy. 49. After 2.5 miles you’ll be at the bottom of the canyon; at the intersection with Foresthill Rd., go straight toward Foresthill. Park after 1/4 mile on the left. Walk across the bridge and make a left onto the Lake Clementine Trail, which parallels the river. Walk on this for .75 mile, going under the Foresthill Bridge, and look for a spur trail on the left going down to the pool.