Skinny Dip Falls Blue Ridge Parkway

Skinny Dip Falls, was a beautiful Waterfall and popular swimming hole, and one of the most beautiful areas on the Blue Ridge Parkway, until the massive flooding that occurred on 8/17/2021.   Skinny Dip Falls was destroyed by the flooding.  The swimming holes filled up, and the jump-off area filled up as well.

While there are now a few small cascades, the larger falls are gone.  The bridge that takes you down to the swimming area and falls is gone, and the water area is currently only accessible by a very steep "scramble" and unofficial trail.  The path of the water is now completely changed on the upper portion, and both sides of the creek and the upper falls area are covered with rock and boulders.  See our video below for details.

What you need to know

Location: Milepost 417, Looking Glass Rock Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway in NC

Handicap Accessible: No

Dog Friendly: Yes

Features: Waterfalls, dense forest, swimming, mountains to sea trail (MTS), See the popular "Dragon Tree"

Directions: Located on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 417, Looking Glass Rock Overlook, between Asheville and Waynesville NC.

Recommended Gear: Good hiking boots or shoesDaypackDayhiker First Aid Kithiking rain ponchos, some snacks, water and be sure to bring a bathing suit and towels if you think you might want to swim.

Skinny Dip Falls Videos

Skinny Dip Falls Video - Before the Flooding

Hike down with us to Skinny Dip Falls in our YouTube video!  THIS video may contain some of the last footage of Skinny Dip Falls BEFORE the flooding occurred and significantly changed Skinny Dip Falls as we've known it for years.

Hiking to the Old Skinny Dip Falls

Photos and information are for the old Falls, before the flooding damage.

You'll follow the trail in for a short distance, and arrive at an unusual tree, commonly called the Dragon Tree.   Continue to the left, past the tree, and straight up the hill on some stairs.  You will now be on the Mountains to Sea trail, and you'll begin the less than 0.5 mile decent down to Skinny Dip Falls.

The trail is pretty rocky, but not too difficult.   It does require navigating lots of rocks, and some pretty large step-up and step-downs.  On the way down you'll cross a few small streams and see some really beautiful forest.  Due to the rocks, and descent on the way down, and ascent on the way up, we consider this trail moderate in difficulty.

Skinny Dip Falls NC

After 1/2 mile, the trail ends at a set of steps going down, and you'll see the above view.  This is a very popular spot for photographers.  One of the things I really love about Skinny Dip Falls is that as you walk around the corner, and see the falls and the area around you, it literally looks like a secret tropical paradise.  Much like the ones you see in the movies.   The waterfall and area is absolutely beautiful.

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls consists of basically 3 levels and is about 30 - 40 foot high overall, with a swimming hole and jumping rock.  The area is very popular with swimmers and photographers.  The water flowing through Skinny Dip Falls is the same water that flows through Upper and Lower Falls at Graveyard Fields.   The creek is called Yellowstone Prong.

Skinny Dip Falls NC

Continue down the stairs, and you can either cross the bridge to the jumping rock and swimming hole, or go down the rocks to the right to some nice shallow wading areas. Just be very careful, the rocks can be slick.  Here's a view from the bridge:

Skinny Dip Falls

If you cross the bridge, you'll gain access to the top 2 levels of Skinny Dip.  The level near the bridge has a large rock that is popular for jumping into the deepest pool.   While the water is deep enough to jump, make sure you don't lock your legs, just in case you do hit bottom.  The water here is about 15 foot deep or so.  You can continue a little further up, and wade in small pool at the base of the upper waterfall.

A few things to note:

  • This is a very busy waterfall and swimming hole, so expect lots of people, especially on the weekends.
  • Photographers should arrive before 9am to get photos without people.  Anytime after that is very difficult.
  • The water is very cold!  Yellowprong is pretty famous for its crisp and cool waters.
  • There are lots of rocks, and they can be very slick.  One bad fall could be very dangerous.  So be careful.   We highly recommend non-skid hiking boots or water shoes.
  • There are no restrooms in the area.  The nearest ones are two miles up the Parkway at Graveyard Fields.

We highly recommend you visit Skinny Dip Falls.  One of the more beautiful falls and scenic areas around.

Skinny Dip Falls NC
About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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