Around six miles down US 64 West near the Highlands, NC is the cleverly named swimming hole and natural rock slide called Bust Your Butt Falls. This natural slide that flows into the Cullasaja River is also known more formally as Quarry Falls. The brave visitor can even jump off a boulder into the river below instead of taking the natural slide down.
Be aware that this area is full of slippery boulders, so be sure to be careful when walking through the area. The waters are also chilly as one might expect from a flowing river, but that can be a welcome retreat in the heat of the summer. It’s also very important to check the depth of the water before jumping off into the river below or before sliding. Thankfully, the many large rocks that are surrounding the area are ideal areas for sunning or picnicking, which makes it a fun trip even if the water level isn’t ideal for diving, sliding, or jumping.
When the water of the Cullasaja River is particularly high, then it’s not safe to slide down the natural waterslide. However, you can still enjoy the swimming hole by splashing around or even jumping off the boulder into the river if you are brave enough.
Access Bust Your Butt Falls along a particularly scenic stretch of Highway 64 Waterfalls Byway, moving through the Cullasaja River Gorge and into the Nantahala National Forest. This section of the road has been nicknamed the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway. Keep in mind that in certain places throughout this scenic drive, you are driving right along the edge of a cliff, so be prepared for some amazing views and take it slow.
If you want to check out nearby waterfalls easily accessible when visiting Bust Your Butt Falls consider adding a stop to Cullasaja Falls, Dry Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls to your day’s adventure. Cullasaja comes from the Cherokee word that means honey locust place. The small trail that leads from the road (US 64 about two miles from Bust Your Butt Falls) to Cullasaja Falls is not an official trail and is therefore fairly steep; this 250-foot waterfall is best enjoyed by experienced hikers.
Dry Falls, another nearby scenic destination, is a 75-foot waterfall located in the Nantahala National Forest. Guests can enjoy the thrill of walking safely behind the falls while staying dry (hence the name). Keep in mind that when the water volume is high after heavy rain, the spray behind the falls might prevent you from staying truly and completely dry.
Bridal Veil Falls, also located near Bust Your Butt Falls, was named because it was the only waterfall in North Carolina that you can drive behind, creating a veil-like cascade of falls you can experience in a unique way. Unfortunately, the roadway is now closed off for vehicles but is still accessible on foot. Bridal Veil Falls is a 60-foot waterfall that boasts roadside parking and is easily accessible for strollers, scooters, and wheelchairs.
Now getting back to Bust Your Butt Falls, guests claim that this is truly a great way to have an adventure you will never forget. Visitors state that this is a fun trip and the area is beautiful and worth visiting. There are even some nearby bouldering opportunities if that interests you.
Although this area is especially fun to visit in the heat of summer when a slide down the cascade feels refreshing and welcoming, you can visit Bust Your Butt Falls even in the wintertime to enjoy some amazing views and an ideal picnic location. When in the Highlands, it is a must-add to your itinerary.
-Although the swimming hole is easily accessible from the roadway, that ease of access does bring a level of popularity making this a fairly crowded natural attraction.
-The river itself is not handicapped accessible, but since the natural cascade is so close to the roadway and pull-off, former guests claim that you can see the beautiful area from the roadside via a wheelchair.
-Be sure to check the water level before visiting, so you know if your trip will be sightseeing or swimming/sliding!