Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

A refreshing, easy hike to one of the area's most favorite swimming holes

While the name may raise a few eyebrows, Skinny Dip Falls is not a clothing optional waterfall but rather one of the Asheville area's most popular swimming holes for people of all ages. This short and easy hike just off the Blue Ridge Parkway offers a chance to explore a beautiful hardwood forest before reaching a unique series of cascades and wading pools. 

What To Expect

The hike to Skinny Dip Falls begins just across the Parkway from the Looking Glass Rock Overlook at Milepost 417. There is a paved parking area at the overlook. The overlook offers stunning views of Pisgah National Forest and Looking Glass Rock, a distinctive rock feature and one of the area's most recognizable landmarks.

Look both ways before crossing the Parkway. The trail is marked with a small wooden post with a white circle (indicating the trail is part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail).

A unique tree on the trail to Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NCAs you begin your hike, you enter the woods. Within one tenth of a mile you'll come to a favorite landmark -- a uniquely shaped tree (pictured here) that many say looks like a dragon or an antelope. Just past the tree is a campsite with a fire pit. From the campsite, take the small set of wooden stairs up to the main trail.

Here the trail goes left and right. Turn left to hike to Skinny Dip Falls. You will notice a white blaze (white circles) and white arrows on the trees at this intersection.

After turning, the trail follows a gentle slope for just about three tenths of a mile. At times the trail is rocky and features wooden stairs. At 0.4 miles, you'll be able to hear the falls and you'll come to a small wooden footbridge. It's just about a tenth of a mile to the top of the staircase down the falls from the footbridge. When you reach the top of the staircase, you'll be able to see the falls and the cascades and pools below.

An upper cascade on Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NCTake the staircase down to the footbridge that takes you across the creek. There, you can explore the upper cascades of the waterfall and take a refreshing dip in the water. Do not jump into the water as there may be hazards (such as rocks) below the surface that you can't see.

When you're done exploring, return the same way you arrived. As you approach the intersection above the campsite, keep your eyes out -- it can be easy to miss the trail back to your car if you aren't paying attention.

Hike Details

Difficulty: Easy

Distance from Asheville: About 33 miles, 1 hour

Length: 1 mile round trip 

Region: Blue Ridge Parkway

Duration of Hike: 1 hour

Elevation Gain: 187 feet

Pet-Friendly? Yes

Multiple Use? No

Blazes? White

Facilities & Parking: Parking lot at Milepost 417 (Looking Glass Rock Overlook) of the Blue Ridge Parkway; no facilities

Natural Features: Hardwood forest, Waterfall, Swimming Hole


From downtown Asheville, take I-240 W to I-26 E. Take exit 33 for NC 191/Blue Ridge Parkway. Use the left two lanes to turn left onto NC-191 S toward the Blue Ridge Parkway. After 2.5 miles, turn right onto the Parkway (you'll pass the entrance to the North Carolina Arboretum. Follow the Blue Ridge Parkway 23.5 miles to the Looking Glass Rock Overlook at Milepost 417.

GPS Coordinates

N35.32229, W82.82815

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