For the past couple of years, we had heard about Skinny Dip Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but had never actually hiked down to it. On a whim, this past Saturday afternoon, we had been out to Looking Glass Falls in Brevard, NC and decided to take the Parkway home. We stopped at the Looking Glass Rock Overlook and thought “no time like the present”, and headed down the trail to see what Skinny Dip Falls NC was all about. To say we were pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Absolutely gorgeous water fall and area. We came back again on Sunday.
Here’s the view as you first reach the falls.
[singlepic id=426 w= h= float=center]
Location: Milepost 417, Looking Glass Rock Overlook, Blue Ridge Parkway in NC
Roundtrip Distance: 1 mile
Features: Waterfalls, dense forest, mountains to sea trail
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 shoes, Daypack, Dayhiker First Aid Kit, hiking 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 on the Blue Ridge Parkway
To visit Skinny Dip Falls, park in the Looking Glass Rock Overlook parking area. On weekends, the lot is often overflowing onto the grass with cars. Looking towards Looking Glass Rock, the trail to Skinny Dip Falls is on the left, across the road and behind you. Just look for the White “blaze”, which indicates the mountains to sea trail.
You’ll follow the trail in for a short distance, and arrive at an unusual tree, which looks much like a Gazelle head. Continue past the tree, and straight up the hill. You will now be on the Mountains to Sea trail, and you’ll begin a 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.
Update 7/21/2016 – New stairs have been built along the trail to make hiking the more difficult parts of the trail far more safe and easy. We’re glad to see these changes, especially due to the amount of traffic this trail gets each year.
After a about a 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 area is absolutely beautiful.
[singlepic id=425 w= h= float=center]
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.
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 lower rocks looking towards the bridge:
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:
- While still fairly unknown to most, especially visitors, the falls is increasing in popularity. As a result, there are often lots of people here.
- Photographers should arrive before 9am to get photos without people. Anytime after that is very difficult.
- The water is very cold!
- 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. Fortunately there are some “secluded” areas next to falls if you have to “go”. Just something you’ll want to consider and be aware of when staying for a while.
We highly recommend you visit Skinny Dip Falls. One of the more beautiful falls and scenic areas around.
Skinny Dip Falls Video:
Here’s a video of Skinny Dip Falls I took while we were there: