The Sinks

The Sinks
Local Expert's Rating:
5.0 / 5
The Bottom Line:

This roadside stop on the scenic Little River Road offers an incredible view of a waterfall and The Sinks. We strongly advise against jumping off the rocks or swimming here due to its strong undertow and currents.

- The Local Expert Team

The Sinks area of the Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most picturesque spots along the Little River Road scenic drive.  This area, which is 12 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center, offers visitors the chance to see Mother Nature at her finest!

The Sinks formed where a beautiful mountain river makes an S-turn creating natural pools that are outlined on both sides by humongous river boulders. How was it created? Well, the Little River actually provided access to loggers back in the day. One day, the logs jammed the river and got stuck–oh no, right? So, what were the loggers to do? One solution, dynamite. Those quick-thinking loggers and their explosion blasted the bend and created a whole new route of access–therefore, creating “The Sinks.” Now, it offers crystal clear water, natural pools, and a waterfall that make this an excellent spot to get out of the car and stretch your legs.

Although this is a popular swimming hole and jumping spot on hot summer days, please be aware that this exact spot has been the location of multiple drownings and many serious injuries. We strongly advise against swimming here and recommend the calm and shallow Greenbrier section of the National Park instead.

How do you get there?

From downtown Gatlinburg, drive into the National Park. Immediately after passing the Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn right on Little River Road. The parking area for The Sinks is approximately 12 miles west of the visitor center on the left side of Little River Road.

Insider Tips:
-Do not make the mistake of underestimating the danger of this beautiful natural pool and waterfall area. There have been serious injuries and deaths at this popular National Park spot due to the strong undertow and currents around the falls. While swimming among the natural beauty of the mountains is tempting, it is imperative to pick a safe place without strong currents. At least 60 deaths have occurred here since the 1930s (when it was founded.)
-The parking area is extremely limited and fills up fast during peak times! We recommend getting there early to find a spot.