Hike to Skinny Dip Falls, a series of beautiful cascading waterfalls on a crystal-clear river, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville.

georgia hiking trails: 0-2 miles .9 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: easyeasy to
moderate
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails near Asheville for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Brevard, NC

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Asheville Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 780 Trails Illustrated Map

One mile east of the ultra-popular Graveyard Fields waterfalls is an equally popular stop on the on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Looking Glass Rock Overlook. On warm-weather weekends, the overlook at the Parkway’s mile post 417 is usually jam-packed with cars – but very few people.

So where is everyone, if they’re not enjoying the stunning view? The overlook offers beautiful, up-close views of the instantly memorable and uniquely shaped Looking Glass Rock mountain. But most of the overlook’s visitors are usually off hiking the short, relatively easy trail to the nearby Skinny Dip Falls, a gorgeous set of cascading waterfalls that ends in deep, crystal-clear pools.

Skinny Dip Falls

This kid-friendly hike follows a spur trail from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Mountains to Sea Trail, hiking just under a half mile to the series of waterfalls. It’s not a long hike, but a beautiful one, and well worth the relatively short trek: it’s one of the most popular Blue Ridge Parkway waterfall hikes near Asheville.

Hike to Skinny Dip Falls, a series of beautiful cascading waterfalls on a crystal-clear river, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. #hiking #asheville #nc #northcarolina #travel #outdoors #adventure

Skinny Dip Falls: the hike

The hike departs from the Looking Glass Rock overlook, carefully crossing the Parkway (view maps and driving directions). The hike ducks into the forest on a trail beside the MP 417 mile marker – an otherwise unmarked entrance to one of the Parkway’s most popular trails south of Asheville. The hike passes a large, twisted tree, nicknamed the “Dragon Tree,” – possibly a Native American trail tree.

Skinny Dip Falls

The hike crosss a gravel road and turns left at a trail intersection, following the Mountains to Sea Trail to the southwest.

The hike trails through a lush, fern-filled forest, descending steadily to an ever-louder rushing river set in a shady valley. The trail’s surface is rocky and rooty – though given the short distance, it’s a relatively easy hike.

The trail nears the falls, passing a large birch tree at .35 mile. (There’s a steep, heavily-worn trail just before the birch that trails to the north; follow this path, carefully, for views of the river’s rocky tumble just below the falls.)

Skinny Dip Falls

The trail rounds a corner, scoring its first views of the falls at .4 mile. The trail descends a long, rather steep set of wooden stairs to the falls, catching cross-river views of the upper falls and pool, the lower falls, and the deep, crystal-clear pool below the trail’s bridge.

The hike carefully scrambles down the curved rock outcrop for access to the lower pool and the best views of the lower falls. The lower falls cascades over an angled rock outcrop, creating a series of parallel waterfalls that spill into the deep, clear pool below. The trail carefully crosses the simple wooden bridge (it’s high, and railed on only one side) for the best views of the upper falls. Gnarly-branched rhododendrons frame the steep-walled sides of the waterfall, creating a lush, shady, cool spot to hang out trailside and enjoy the beautiful waterfall.

If you’ve hiked the nearby Graveyard Fields waterfalls (one mile west on the Blue Ridge Parkway), the river’s colorful rocky landscape here at the falls probably looks familiar. The river is the same Yellowstone Prong that flows and cascades through Graveyard Fields just upstream. There’s a great trail connection to Graveyard Fields, too – from the waterfall, follow the Mountains to Sea Trail to the northwest, connecting to the Graveyard Fields Loop near the second falls in just over 1.5 miles.

Departing the waterfall, the hike retraces its steps to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a nearly continuous (but rather short) uphill climb to the trailhead.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.


Skinny Dip Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

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Driving Directions



Parking

Free parking is available at the Looking Glass Rock parking area at MP 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville. (Before you go, check for trail updates and parkway closures on the official Blue Ridge Parkway website.)


GPS Coordinates

35.322300, -82.828183     //     N35 19.338 W82 49.691

Elevation Profile

Skinny Dip Falls Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway: Elevation Profile
 
 
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Eric Champlin
Author

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.