Area Info / Swimming Areas & Holes

Water-fueled excitement
While Western North Carolina is renowned for its temperate climate, it can (and will) get steamy in the summer. Lucky for us, WNC's landscape is dotted with a multitude of beautiful swimming holes were you can beat the summer heat. There's so many to choose from too - from easy to access spots just outside Asheville to remote mountain lakes. We've created this guide so you can easily find the swimming holes that suit you best. Of course many of these areas rarely or never have a lifeguard on duty so make sure to exercise caution at all times, especially with children. It's safe to assume that clothing is appreciated and or required unless otherwise noted.
Carolina Hemlock water: South Toe River view a map: Map of Carolina Hemlock
Don't miss a chance to swim in the crystal clear water that flows from Mt. Mitchell (the tallest mountain in North America East of the Mississippi). Because this river flows from a mountain expect the water to be somewhat cooler than usual and prepare yourself for a myriad of water activities. In addition to being a great swimming area, the South Toe River is also perfect for tubing offering some exciting drops and rapids. MAKE SURE you keep on the look out for those rapids if you're swimming.
Paradise Falls water: Bear Creek Lake view a map: Paradise Falls
The Paradise Falls form three tiers that house one swimming hole each. This place is very remote and it takes a short but rugged hike from the road to get down to the falls so be prepared for an adventure. Of course the hike is well worth it with stunning views, excellent water, and refreshing falls. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT that you make sure that they're not going to be releasing water from the dam upstream before venturing into these great swimming holes. Also, diving is not safe in any of the falls. Clothing is optional for all falls.
Sliding Rock water: creek, natural water slide view a map: Sliding Rock
Experience nature's own water park at Sliding Rock. The naturally occurring 60 foot water slide has thrilled generations and remains understandably popular with people of all ages today. For just $1 per person, one is hard pressed to find a more fun way to cool off on a hot summer day.
Hooker Falls water: Little River
view a map: Hooker Falls
This is an Olympic-size swimming hole that has formed at the base of a small but tranquil waterfall. Only an hour outside of Asheville, this area has become quite popular over the years, but its sheer size keeps it from being too crowded.
North Mills River Recreation Area water: Davidson River
view a map: Map of Downtown Asheville
Located in the unique and beautifully managed Pisgah National Forest, the North Mills River Recreation Area offers some of Western North Carolina's best camping and vistas.