Sunburst Swimming Hole

Sunburst Swimming Hole is a popular Swimming Hole, located near Bethal, NC and just below Cold Mountain along Highway 215 in Western NC.   The Swimming hole is easily accessed and has a small “beach like” area.  Sunburst is very popular with both local and tourists during the summer months.

Sunburst Swimming Hole

Sunburst Swimming Hole

Sunburst Swimming hole is a natural mountain water swimming hole, so the water is crisp, clear, fresh and cold.   Sunburst has two primary swimming areas.

  • One has a large rock that you can jump off and plunge into the deep cool waters.  There is even a rope here you can use.
  • The second area is more beach like, with a shallows that slowly transitions into deeper waters for swimming.

Sunburst Swimming

The shoreline for Sunburst Swimming Hole is unique as well, as it has a very beach like feel to it, and makes for a great place to spread out a blanket, take in some sunshine or even have a picnic.

During the summer months, Sunburst is a very popular location for both local families and vacationers to hang out and swim.  On a typical weekend from June – August, you’ll often find Sunburst very busy and parking on the roadside parking lot can be a challenge.  If all of the parking is full, drive down to Forest Srv. Rd. and park on the side there.

Sunburst NC


Tips when visiting:

Here’s a few tips to make you visit to Sunburst Swimming Hole more enjoyable:

  • We recommend getting there early, or arriving later in the afternoon/evening to avoid the crowds and parking issues.
  • There are no restroom facilities here, but there Sunburst campground is just down the road (south of the swimming hole).  The campground has full flush toilets, and often has portajohns as well.  You can use these.
  • Bring some chairs and/or a blanket – There aren’t many rocks to sit on, so chairs and/or a blanket will come in really handy.
  • Bring a cooler with water and drinks.  If you think you’ll get hungry, bring some food too – There aren’t really any stores nearby.
  • Dogs are allowed, but need to be on a leash per national forest rules.


Sunburst swimming hole is located just off Highway 215 near Bethel NC.  From the Parkway, take Highway 215 north for about 8 miles.   Just before the bridge you’ll see the swimming hole parking area on your right.


The map below is to Sunburst Campground.  The actual Sunburst swimming hole is north of here, just past Forest Srv. Rd.   There is roadside parking on the right just before the bridge over Right Hand Prong if you are coming from the The Blue Ridge Parkway.

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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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