Best Swimming Holes near Asheville, NC

One of the most refreshing ways to escape the heavy North Carolina summer humidity is to head to Asheville! This North Carolina mountain city not only delivers a break from the humidity, but it’s surrounded by an abundance of natural swimming holes. This fresh mountain water tends to stay anywhere between 50-60 degrees, so you’re guaranteed an invigorating experience. Whether you’re on the hunt for a tranquil relaxation spot or an adrenaline-pumping plunge, Asheville and its surrounding areas offer a multitude of options. Let’s dive into some of the best swimming holes near Asheville, NC.


Always practice waterfall safety! Do not climb on rocks near waterfalls and use extreme caution when walking along riverbanks. These rocks are slippery from mist and algae. The top of any waterfall is dangerous—never play in the stream above a waterfall.

Sliding Rock

best swimming hole near asheville north carolina sliding rock

Location: Pisgah National Forest, off US-256. Approximately 40 minutes from Asheville.


Difficulty: Easy to access with a short walk from the parking area.


Sliding Rock, located about 8 miles outside of Brevard, NC is one of the most popular swimming holes in North Carolina. One reason this natural attraction draws such a crowd is it’s uncommon topography, which allows adventurous visitors to slide down a 60-foot rock face into an 8-foot plunge pool. If you’re looking to cool off during the sweltering summer months, this is the place to do it: the water here stays between 50-60 degrees (F) year round!


To access Sliding Rock, drive into the parking lot sitting directly off US-276 near Brevard. During the year between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there is a $5 per person fee (children under 3 are free). This grants you access to the restrooms, observation decks, and lifeguard on duty between the hours of 10AM-6PM.


Sliding Rock is open year round, but when no lifeguard is on duty, swim at your own risk.



Hooker Falls

Location: Dupont State Recreational Forest, approximately 45 minutes from Asheville.


Difficulty: A short hike of less than half a mile from the parking area.


The scenic beauty and shallow waters of Hooker Falls make this one of the best swimming holes near Asheville. You’ll often find families with young children here due to the wide river bank and shallow water. Families can easily spend an entire day lounging in the sun and splashing in the relatively shallow water at the base of this 12-foot cascade.


This is one of the few vertical waterfalls you’ll find in North Carolina, and reaching it is relatively easy. You can find ample parking in the Hooker Falls parking area in Dupont State Forest, where there are trash cans and restrooms. Simply follow the wide, gravel path about 0.4 miles to find yourself in the midst of untouched nature.


Hooker Falls is the only waterfall in Dupont Forest where you can safely swim, but for a full waterfall experience in this area, consider booking the Wonderful Waterfalls Tour!

best swimming hole near asheville north carolina hooker falls

Midnight Hole

Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Approximately 1 hour from Asheville.


Difficulty: Easy. 2 miles round trip


Midnight Hole is a hidden gem that promises a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg and Asheville. Located on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, this is one of the best swimming holes in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Fed by Big Creek, this deep swimming hole has some of the clearest water imaginable. The sandy bank is wide enough for families to enjoy a picnic, and the gradual decline into the deepest section makes it ideal for children of all ages to test out the waters before plunging in. For the daredevils in the family, large boulders provide the perfect platform for cannonballs!


To access this secret swimming hole near Asheville, you’ll need a parking pass. You can grab one at any of the park’s visitor centers before heading to the Mouse Creek Falls trail. You’ll come across this oasis about half way through the hike.

Graveyard Fields Second Falls

graveyard fields waterfall easy waterfall hikes near asheville nc

Location: Graveyard Fields, Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 418.8. Approximately 50 minutes from Asheville.


Difficulty: Easy. 0.3 mile hike to Second Falls from parking area


While many visitors gravitate towards Graveyard Fields off the Blue Ridge Parkway for it’s relatively easy hiking experience, few people know that this area offers one of the best swimming holes near Asheville, NC. If you’re looking for a way to gain relief from the summer heat, all you have to do is walk down a mostly paved path to this deep swimming spot located beneath one of the most scenic waterfalls in North Carolina.


The water at the base of Second Falls offers a deep pool to fully emerge your body, while the surrounding boulders offer a landing pad to sunbathe between swims. While swimming at the base of this waterfall is relatively risk free, please be advised to never play in the water above Second Falls. There are opportunities where you can easily access the river before it plunges over the granite cliff, but doing so increases your risk of injury or death if you get swept over the falls.


For a full guide on Graveyard Fields and both of the waterfalls found in this area, check out Graveyard Fields Hike, North Carolina.


Helpful Hints

Asheville, NC, and its surrounding areas are home to some of the best swimming holes in the Southeast. There are options ranging from thrilling waterslide adventures to peaceful mountain oasis’, so you’re guaranteed to find a swimming hole that suits your needs. However, always remember that these are natural landscapes with inherit risks. Never swim or play on top of waterfalls! North Carolina’s swimming holes can also gain large crowds between the hours of 10AM-4PM, so plan accordingly for parking. Enjoy your time while enjoying these natural landscapes, but remember to carry out any trash and personal items that you brought with you!

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