Living in Asheville not only provides access to incredible hiking but also proximity to some of the most incredible natural swimming spots you’ll ever find. If you’re considering buying a home in the western NC mountains, you can skip the swimming pool amenity for the carefree enjoyment of one of western NC’s natural swimming holes.
Perhaps the most iconic locale for local mountain dips is Sliding Rock, located less than an hour from Asheville. Basically a natural water park, this wonderfully popular spot includes a long water-covered descent, culminating with a drop into a breathtakingly refreshing pool. Nationally ranked as one of the top 10 natural swimming holed, Sliding Rock gets crowded on hot summer days so plan to have some company when you take the plunge!
For something a less known, head over to Whaleback Swimming Hole, just a few more miles away from Sliding Rock. Accessible from the Cove Creek Falls hiking area, this cooling off spot is more about wading and resting than sliding. Regardless, however, it still manages to cool you down from the summer heat. It’s also a great location for some terrific hiking while you’re there.
A little further from Asheville in that same direction is Turtleback Falls, a natural sliding area that concludes in a swimming hole. Recommended only for strong swimmers, it is not recommended for young children and requires strong swimmers. Also, only a little further down the river is Hidden Falls, a more family-friendly swimming spot. All are accessible from within Gorges State Park.
Hooker Falls, located within DuPont State Park, provides a peaceful cooling off spot, and again the watering hole is part of a series of waterfalls making it a great hike/swim combo spot. The other falls are not conducive with swimming so plan to cool off at Hooker Falls but enjoy the various waterfalls before you take a dip.
And speaking of dipping, another great option is Skinny Dip Falls, which contrary to its name is not clothes optional! With a jumping off rock and plenty of places to wade, this area is worth a trip for the scenery year round. For something with a more dramatic waterfall, head over to Looking Glass Falls which features a waterfall with a 60 foot cascade. You can wade into the water and near the waterfall and is a bit more easily accessible than some of the other spots.
And for anyone seeking a larger swimming area than these waterfall areas provide, take advantage of the numerous local lakes including Lake Lure and Lake James. With sandy beaches and ample swimming areas, these lakes provide a chance for more swimming with less hiking.
Yes, living in western NC means hiking and incredible access to natural swimming holes. This provided list is only the beginning for residents looking to cool off from the summer heat in a natural setting. If you have some summer favorite cooling off spots, we would love to hear about them! And if you’re ready to live up this way, whether it’s year round or seasonally, Greybeard Realty would love to welcome you to the area. Take a look at Greybeard’s exclusive listings and contact us. And, please, if you head out to one of the numerous swimming holes and waterfalls, please use extreme caution. Most places do not have lifeguards, and wet rocks can be extremely slippery. Use good judgement and have a safe time making the most of western NC’s beauty.