Skinny Dip Falls is a popular waterfall and swimming hole located just off a busy section of the Blue Ridge Parkway between Asheville and Brevard. Skinny Dip Falls is one of the more popular attractions along the Blue Ridge, but does not have a sign or dedicated parking lot. We noticed the area was a popular hike due to the cars parked on the side of the road and decided to find more information online. Due to the waterfalls location between Asheville and the most popular hikes around Graveyard fields, we added the stop to our early morning adventure. After a beautiful sunrise breakfast at the Pisgah Inn, we wanted a close and quick hike. Skinny Dip Falls is only a short drive away. The best part about going early in the day is it means hikes and waterfalls become your own private escape.
How to find Skinny Dip Falls?
There are two parking areas on the blue ridge with trails leading to the trail head. The main parking area is at mile marker 417 at the Looking Glass Rock overlook. The trail is across the parkway from the overlook so be careful crossing the street. The other parking area is a dirt pullover just before the overlook on the north side of the Blue Ridge Parkway around mile marker 417 . There are no trail signs at the second dirt area but the trail is to the left of the parking and well traveled. A quick glance around the perimeter is enough to find your starting point.
A short distance into the hiking trail, there is an open intersection point where the path connects into the Mountains to Sea trail. This is also the intersection from the overlook parking spot and the dirt parking area. At the intersection, you want to head north away from the Blue Ridge parkway. The trail can be a bit rough for the littlest hikers so they may need to be carried. Young kids above toddler age should not have too much trouble. There are rock steps and log sections to navigate the more difficult parts of the path. The trail is well marked with just some occasional roots and wet areas from small crossing creeks. Overall for a non official trail, the path is well maintained and easy to navigate. A few side trails split off to different spots on the river. It is not long before you hear the falls as you approach.
Explore the Waterfall!
When you get to the falls there are plenty of areas to explore. The main swimming area and falls are spread out at the end of the trail. You can split off downstream or cross a plank bridge closer to get closer to the waterfall and the jump off rock. The water is quite cold, but in the peak of the summer there are plenty of swimmers visiting. Even with the crowds, you can find private spots on the river. On our early morning visit, we were the only hikers at the falls and enjoyed a peaceful splash zone. Be careful with your little adventurers as the bridge is open on one side and they will need assistance getting across.
The waterfall itself is gorgeous with 3 main sets of 10 foot cascades. The cascades end in a deep pool under the bridge that leads into a nice flat area of river bed. There are plenty of rock “beach” areas to sit along as well as large flat rocks to bask in the sun on. This is the perfect family friendly summer hike! And if you’re feeling very adventurous the trail past the waterfall connects up to graveyard fields about 1.5 miles away. Stay tuned to hear about our trip to graveyard fields!
If you want to plan a similar trip, our first stop in the morning was at the Pisgah Inn for Sunrise, then Skinny Dip Falls before moving on to Devils Courthouse for amazing views. The three short stops and hikes worked well and we hit nap time on the way home.