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Swimming in the Smokies: 12 Best Spots

DATE : July 1, 2019

If you are planning a summer trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, you will likely want to know of some great places to go swimming in The Smokies on hot days. There are various swimming holes throughout the Smokies that offer both fun and beauty, so you will be hard pressed to find an area that doesn't have a spot to cool down. Here are the top swimming holes in the Great Smoky Mountains.

1. Little River - Townsend, TN

If you are planning on visiting the famous Clingmans Dome for the views at the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can also enjoy the swimming hole on the Little River near Townsend, Tennessee. An area known as the 'Townsend Y' is a fork in the river that is excellent for swimming and water sports.

2. Deep Creek - Bryson City, NC

Deep Creek is located on the western side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. The pools in Deep Creek are fed by freshwater springs, so you can expect a refreshing swim on hot days. Adventure seekers can also take advantage of some nearby rapids.

3. Greenbrier - Gatlinburg, TN

waterfalls in the greenbrier areaLocated near the city of Gatlinburg on the Little Pigeon River, the Greenbrier swimming hole is a spot that is easy to access from route 321. Large stones are scattered across the area, so this is an ideal place for sun bathing. A deep portion of the Little Pigeon River also makes this a good spot for people that wish to do some serious swimming. This spot is not very well known by tourists, so you can expect a bit more privacy than other locations.

4. Cherokee Rapids - Cherokee, NC

While this area is filled with rapids that are ideal for rafting and kayaking, there are several deep swimming holes. These are located in close proximity to roads, so you can enjoy a relaxing swim after a day of touring the nearby Cherokee reservation.

5. Little Pigeon River Banks - Sevierville, TN

Located near the Dollywood Amusement park and the attractions of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the swimming holes located off the Little Pigeon River banks are easy to access. The area can get busy at certain times of the day, but it is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery. This area offers seven swimming holes and options for tubing.

6. Midnight Hole - NC/TN

Midnight Hole is a popular swimming destination on the North Carolina-Tennessee border in the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest. It is part of Big Creek and is characterized by large boulders and a small waterfall. Except during severe droughts, Midnight Hole is deep enough to swim in throughout the year. Nearby attractions include a 45-foot waterfall known as Mouse Branch Falls.

7. Abrams Falls - Cades Cove, TN

people standing at Abrams FallsLocated in the popular nature attraction Cades Cove, Abrams Falls has a deep swimming hole that attracts visitors between late spring and early fall. The swimming hole is about 100 feet wide in all directions, so swimmers have plenty of room to swim on even the busiest of days. Swimmers should take care to avoid the turbulence of waterfall. The hike to Abrams Falls is about 2.5 miles, but the incredible views make up for the effort.

8. Metcalf Bottoms - Gatlinburg, TN

Metcalf Bottoms is an area just off of the road between Gatlinburg and Townsend. While this area does not normally have any deep areas for swimming, there are various shallow swimming holes of three to five feet in depth. Large flat rocks and picnic areas also make this a good place to enjoy lunch or cool off during the hottest times of the day.

9. The Sinks - TN

According to a local myth, the Sinks is the location of a train that derailed and sank into the bed of the Little River. Since an attempt to recover this legendary train has never been performed, the myth has stuck. The Sinks is a very deep area that can be used for swimming, but swimmers should take special care to avoid the strong rapids and turbulence. The lower reservoir of the Sinks is easy to access and great for hot days.

10. Chimney Tops Trail - TN

swimming hole along chimney tops trailThe Chimney Top Trail is difficult to access, but it is suitable for hikers who are either passing through the area or are willing to make the journey to the pool from the road. The pool is very deep and is surrounded by tall rocks. This makes Chimney Top Trail a good place for people who enjoy jumping in. If you fit this category, be sure to check for debris before you start diving.

11. Indian Creek Falls - Bryson City, NC

Located near Bryson City, Indian Creek Falls is a swimming hole in Deep Creek. This pool is fed by a 25-foot waterfall and a mountain stream, so swimmers can enjoy clear waters that are cool throughout the year. If you are not in the mood for swimming in The Smokies, you can also enjoy the surroundings for photography or a relaxing picnic.

12. Deep Creek Trail - Bryson City, NC

Deep Creek Trail can be found near Bryson City. This is a good choice for swimmers that would like to enjoy some fairly deep waters while avoiding the excitement of rapids and falls. Because of this, the Deep Creek Trail swimming holes are also an excellent place for families with young children.

Come Swimming in the Smokies!

Now that you know the best places to go swimming in the Smokies, it's time to start planning your visit! Any of these spots will provide you with the perfect relief from the summer heat. If you're looking for a place to stay when you visit, our Gatlinburg hotel is the top choice! We're right at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which means you won't be far from these popular places for swimming. Take a look at all of our Gatlinburg hotel rooms and reserve your stay today!