It’s hot this summer in Gatlinburg, TN. Mountain people looking to beat the sweltering summer heat usually know of a great swimming hole tucked between mountain hollers. The cool and clear mountain water refreshes and invigorates all whom splash and swim in these pristine mountain streams and swimming holes.
For those who prefer to just dip their toes, there is always basking on a warm rock and letting the babbling water sooth and calm you. And most are just a short drive from Elk Springs Resort, 1088 Powdermill Rd., Gatlinburg TN 37738 865-233-2390 Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals.
This summer don’t miss your chance to cool off on your Great Smoky Mountain Vacation. Spend a lazy vacation day visiting one of these famous swimming holes to experience the majestic mountain streams of the Great Smoky Mountain in all their splendor.
Midnight hole is one of the best-known swimming holes in the Great Smoky Mountains. Located at Big Creek on the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, just inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this swimming spot is formed where the creek flows between two large boulders. With the sun streaming through, the dark hue of this pool takes on dark shimmering light. The sparkling dark hue of these waters entices onlookers to take a cool dip.
The trail to this swimming hole follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom. The hike to the Midnight hole is 1.4 miles. Before or after your dip, hike the extra half-mile up to view the spectacular Mouse Branch Falls. Located at the far side of Big Creek, these falls stand an impressive 45 feet high.
Directions: From Sevierville take I-40 East to Waterville Exit; Turn R then veer L onto Waterville Rd. Follow straight to Big Creek entrance. Pass ranger station and park in lot just beyond Big Creek trailhead. Follow Big Creek Trailhead 1.4 miles and you will see Midnight hole on your left.
Abrams Falls Swimming Hole (see photo above)
This waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram, or Abrams, whose village once stood several miles downstream. Located in Cades Cove, this swimming hole is a Kodak moment waiting to happen.
Although Abrams falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over the falls makes up for its lack of height. The water plunges into a large 100-foot pool at the base that sparkles with laughter and light.
While there is a bit of hike to this swimming hole, 2.5 miles from the trailhead, viewing Abrams Falls and lounging in the swimming hole make your arduous hike worth the effort. Don’t forget your camera and swimsuit for this picture perfect spot!
Directions: The turnoff to the trailhead that will take you to Abrams Falls is located past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road. To get to Cades Creek Loop Road from Gatlinburg head north on US 441 for 8.4 miles. Take a left on Wears Valley Road and follow for 12 miles. Turn left on TN-73 and follow into the park. When you reach the intersection of Little River and Laurel Creek Road turn right onto Laurel Creek Road and follow until it dead ends into Cades Cove Loop Road.
Metcalf Bottoms Swimming Area
This picnic area located between Gatlinburg and Townsend offers great access to the Little Greenbrier River. Several shallow swimming holes are scattered along this picnic area. This is a perfect spot to throw a tube water and relax. It’s also the perfect swimming area to have a nice picnic.
Directions: Take US-441 into the park. At the Sugarlands Visitor Center turn right onto Little River Rd. toward Elkmont. Travel about six miles to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area on the right.
Greenbrier Swimming Holes on the Little Pigeon River
One of the clearest mountain rivers in the park, the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River flows through the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains. This is a favorite spot for tubers and swimmers to splash and play in the pristine pools that collect below small rapids.
Directions: From Gatlinburg at light #3, head east on Hwy 321. Travel for approximately 7 miles and turn right on Greenbrier Road. Swimming pools are located on your left along the road before you reach the ranger station.
The Townsend Y Swimming Area
The Townsend Y is where the Little River and the Middle Prong of Little River join Probably the most easily accessed and popular swimming hole, this wide pool is located provides fun for the whole family. Located just after the Townsend entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this swimming area provides plenty of water to play in. Visitors can also sunbathe or enjoy a great picnic on the sloping hill above the pools and watch as sightseers enter the park.
Directions: From Gatlinburg head North on US 441 for 8.4 miles. Take a left on Wears Valley Road and follow for 12 miles. Turn left on TN-73 until you reach the intersection of Little River and Laurel Creek Road.