Swimming at the Tenino Rock Quarry in Washington

by Donny Quinn
Swimming in quarries recalls the natural frivolity of earlier years.

Swimming in quarries recalls the natural frivolity of earlier years.

Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images

Nature calls, especially in the American Northwest, where natural wonders abound. In the small town of Tenino, Washington, residents and sojourners often relax and commune with nature in a rock quarry turned swimming pool. If you plan on joining in on a weekend's festivities or relaxing under the summer sun, then you need to be aware of a few health concerns. Additionally, a better understanding of the location and history of the rock quarry can enrich your visit.

Quarry History

The community of Tenino is tied with the production of sandstone, with the first local sandstone quarry opening in 1888, according to the City of Tenino website. However, in 1915 the local market began to decline as concrete replaced the need for sandstone. Although the town's sandstone production rose and fell over the next couple of decades, the industry never picked back up. As a result the Tenino rock quarry became a local swimming hole, and now functions to attract tourists to the small town.

Swimming Hazards

Because the Tenino swimming quarry is a natural swimming hole, you must follow certain precautions that are unnecessary with traditional chlorine swimming pools. For example, illnesses can transfer more easily in the quarry, or you can expose yourself to certain bacteria. For this reason people with weakened immune systems should avoid swimming in the Tenino swimming quarry. For healthy people, Thurston county suggests avoiding large groups of swimmers, places where animals congregate and small ponds.


While most residents of Tenino can point you in the right direction, you can find the swimming quarry located right on the eastern edge of downtown, behind the Tenino Stone Company building, according to the Thurston County, Washington website.

Nearby Attractions

Even if you spend all day at the rock quarry, it's a good idea to save a little time for some of the nearby attractions. Tenino contains a wolf haven, which houses over 50 wolves, according to the website Experience Washington. Additionally, the Monarch Sculpture Park in Tenino displays many contemporary sculptures and a hedge maze, if you don't mind getting lost for awhile.

About the Author

Donny Quinn has been writing professionally since 2002 and has been published on various websites. He writes technical manuals for a variety of companies, including restaurants, hotels and salons. Quinn is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English at Georgia State University.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images