Remember finding that random rope swing that hovered over a wonderfully secret lake as a kid? Well, Sliding Rock is that fantastic childhood find on a grander scale, bringing out the kid in all of us!
The 60-foot-high natural slide nestled in the beautiful National Forest, is one of the most popular outdoor recreation spots in the forest and in Western North Carolina. The natural water slide ends in an 8-foot-deep pool of water. Does it get any better than that?
Fueled by 11,000 gallons of icy-cold water flowing down the rock every minute, this creates an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind, naturally occurring thrill ride. Despite the water flowing over the smooth rock face being nippy, it is so popular there is often a long waiting line to get in, especially during the hotter months. So if you aren’t up for waiting, or freezing, there are plenty of areas to relax on rocks or observation decks and enjoy it on without getting wet.
Sliding Rock is open year-round, seven days a week for viewing from two observation platforms. Lifeguards are present and restrooms are available from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend and is is staffed from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and costs $2 per person (cash only); ages 2 and younger are free. While it t is free to visit during “off” hours, be sure to not slide during high water or thunderstorms.
If you happen to get hungry from all that sliding, unfortunately, no picnicking is allowed at Sliding Rock. However at nearby Pink Beds, four miles away, you will find designated picnic areas as well as riverside tables lining the highway. If you’re looking to purchase snacks, the nearest location is at Cradle of Forestry Cafe – turn left from Sliding Rock and go four miles.
Thinking of taking an adventurous dip? Here are a few tips on enjoying Sliding Rock safely:
- Know how to swim! The pool at the bottom of the falls is eight feet deep so it’s not safe for those who are unable to handle the plunge and depth.
- Slide in seated position only
- Children younger than 7 years old must slide with an adult.
- Sliding Rock will be closed when lifeguards determine it is unsafe to slide
- Picnicking, glass containers, and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
- Lifejackets are the only flotation device allowed, leave your instagramable unicorn floaties at home.
- Water shoes are recommended for sliding on the rock as are swim shorts (or for ladies, a swimsuit you don’t mind being snagged or soiled by the rock face)
- Pets are allowed in the area, but they must be on a leash and cannot slide down the rock.
- No running
- No throwing or moving rocks
So what to do when you’re all sliding rocked out? You can visit the Cradle of Forestry in America Heritage Site and enjoy nearby Looking Glass Falls. The Blue Ridge Parkway is just a short, scenic drive away. For outdoor adventure enthusiasts, there is plenty of hiking, swimming, and camping at nearby Davidson River Campground and for those who seek the thrill of the retail hunt, you can shop in Brevard, just 8 miles away.
- During peak use, the parking area fills up and closes intermittently. Be prepared to wait or visit other nearby areas.
- Restrooms are open only when staffed.