Boyles Swimming Hole


Rating: C

Also called Dead Man's Hole, Boyles is located just east of Lilies Beach and Mendocino Woodlands State Park, further up Big River from Lilies. From time to time, a few skinny-dippers hike or bike to Boyles, which even has a great rope swing. But it is mostly used by suited swimmers. To reach the swim spot, take the trail that begins at Lilies. The crowd here is a little noisier and more social than the more laid-back types found at Lilies.

One nagging problem is that although access is blocked to recreational vehicles by fallen trees, "motorcycles are still an issue," says Anderson. "Motorcyclists are finding a way through any inch (of space) they can."

Part of the Big River unit of Mendocino Headlands State Park, created in 2002. A park plan says that swimming at Boyles is "currently not restricted," a possible indication that it may be allowed to continue.

How to find it:

Follow directions to Lilies Beach. Park where the dirt road ends at Big River and, turning left, parking where you see other cars pulled over. "When you exit your vehicle, you'll be facing a yellow gate with a bridge viewable behind it," tells Brian, a local resident. "Take the trail that starts there and stay on it until you arrive at Boyles." For most walkers, the hike from the Lilies area and the Mendocino Woodlands Camp property will be quick. "I can walk there in 10 minutes," says Anderson. Boyles is east and slightly south of Lilies. For location, see the right side of this map


The beach:

A nice deep swimming hole with a rope swing.

The crowd:

Most of the several to dozen or so visitors on an average day will probably be suited. And on some days, the scene is downright crowded. "There's been a ton of people down at Boyles," said Anderson in August. But on days when Boyles isn't busy, a few skinny-dippers plunge into the cool, invigorating water.


Same as Lilies, plus motorcycles on trail (see above), long walk and crowd more rowdy.

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