It was recently brought to my attention that there is a swimming hole in Wissahickon Park called Devil’s Pool. As I began researching the specifics of this urban watering hole, I became more and more intrigued by the mystery, beauty and legend of this questionably-legal spot.
I’m not a Philadelphia native so as I was searching for information—and even as I write this post, I feel like I might be crossing a line and revealing information reserved only for those “in the know.”
But I’ll continue on.
The pool is located where the Cresheim Creek runs down through Mt. Airy and Germantown and spills into the Wissahickon Creek. It's become a favorite spot to cool off in the late spring through early fall. Apparently a few especially-dedicated fans of the pool pay no mind to the temperature and will plunge into the water all year round. Perhaps the group that writes the, seemingly retired, Devil’s Pool is Really Cool blog…?
The pool is also a thrill seekers' paradise. Although at its deepest its no no more than seven feet, many brave souls will jump from the rocks that surround it. A travel blog post on Matador Travel warned that feet first is the way to go. Swimmers who have attempted to display their acrobatic skills with fancy dives and flips have been injured, even paralyzed.
Perhaps what struck my interest most was a comment on a PhilaStories post about Devil’s Pool. While the poster did say that Devil’s Pool is a great place to hang out, any swimming in the pool should be avoided. According to he/she, waste from treatment plants and pharmaceutical companies flows downstream into the “hidden oasis.”
So what is the truth about Devil’s Pool? Is it the perfect secluded spot to cool off on a hot summer’s day? Or is it a dangerous spot that is better for looking at than plunging in?