Top Natural Swimming Holes in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina
The most popular natural waterslide in North Carolina is Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest, near Brevard. Slide down a 60-foot smooth rock waterfall into a pool of chilly water. Bathrooms and showers are open during the summer swimming season and the area is lifeguard protected from Memorial Day to Labor Day. See photos and more in our Sliding Rock Guide.
Skinny Dip Falls
Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway via a 1/2-mile hiking trail, Skinny Dip has beautiful waterfalls, a jumping off rock and several areas to soak and wade in very cool mountain waters. See our Skinny Dip Falls Guide.
Swim in a pool below the 12-foot waterfall in DuPont State Forest. Jump from a rope swing and walk behind the falls. See our Hooker Falls Guide.
Looking Glass Falls
Drive two miles down U.S. 276 (toward Brevard) from Sliding Rock and you will come upon Looking Glass Falls. At the bottom of this 60 foot waterfall is a pool perfect for wading (but not the best for swimming). See our Looking Glass Falls Guide.
Gorges State Park
Turtleback Falls on the Horsepasture River features more wet rocks to slide on. It's near the beautiful Rainbow Falls, access from Gorges State Park. It requires a hike of approximately four miles roundtrip. See our Turtleback Falls Guide.
Nantahala River Beach & Jump Off Rock
Enjoy riverside sunning and splashing at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Just a few miles up river from NOC is Jump Off Rock (photo on right). There is a small parking area along U.S. Highway 74. If you are rafting, you can park your raft, climb and jump!
Cashiers Sliding Rock
If you are closer to the Cashiers area, enjoy the "other" and less-known sliding rock. See our Highlands Waterfalls Guide for more.
Silver Run Falls
Near Cashiers and their sliding rock is a 25-foot waterfall that cascades into a family-friendly pool with a small, sandy beach. See our Silver Run Falls Guide.
Bust Your Butt Falls
If you are in the Cashier and Highlands area, check out this swimming and sliding area along U.S. Highway 64 (also known as Quarry Falls or Bust-Yer-Butt Falls). For added excitement, there is a "jump off" rock for diving into the chilly waters. See our Highlands Waterfalls Guide for more.
Lake Lure Beach
Enjoy a sandy beach in the mountains on Lake Lure, near Chimney Rock. See our Lake Lure Guide.
Lake James Beach
This state park has a wide beach with a new pavilion, open for swimming May-September. See our Lake James Guide.
Rent a boat or take your own to explore secluded beaches and waterfalls along the 26 miles of shores near Cashiers. See our Lake Glenville Guide.
Elk River Falls
If you are in the Banner Elk or Beech Mountain area, there's a great (and safe) swimming area below a beautiful waterfall. See our Elk River Falls Guide.
Upper Creek Falls
This beautiful waterfall setting has multiple cascades and a swimming hole with a rope swing for diving! Located in Pisgah National Forest along NC Highway 181, about 13.5 miles north of Morganton. See our Upper Creek Falls Guide.
French Broad River Float Trips
Paddleboard, kayak, canoe, raft or tube the calmer waters of the French Broad River and meander through the beautiful Biltmore Estate. Read more.
Whitewater River Fun
Enjoy the rivers on a raft or inflatable kayak. See our Whitewater Rafting Guide. Nantahala River always has the coldest water!
Deep Creek Tubing
Rent a tube and float down Deep Creek on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains near Bryson City. See our Deep Creek Guide.
Green River Tubing & Kayaking
Rent a tube and set sail for a lazy day on the calm, Green River, another popular swimming hole. Head east on I-26 from Asheville to Saluda. Take exit 59 and head north on Holbert Cove Road to Green River Cove Road and turn left to the swimming area at the bottom. Read more in our Saluda Guide.
Under the bridge along route 215, not far from Cold Mountain (on which Charles Frazier’s book and the recent Miramax Films movie is based) is a popular swimming hole that appeals to families. Restrooms and picnic facilities are within a short walk. Take the famed Blue Ridge Parkway south out of Asheville to the Route 215 exit and head north about 8.5 miles.
Many of the Top 60 Waterfalls that we feature are NOT safe for swimming or even wading. Careless visitors are killed every year from falling or drowning. The current is usually much stronger that it appears. And rocks around waterfalls are often very slippery. Stay on the trails!