LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, April 27, 2009

Skinny Dip Falls

Skinny Dip Falls is a waterfall in neighboring Haywood County. Not widely known by "outsiders," Skinny Dip is a local favorite. It is not listed in most waterfall guides but the waterfall is a short moderate hike from the Blue Ridge Parkway. While not a huge waterfall, it is nonetheless impressive with three separate components to the waterfall, and many secondary falls. The sign on the lookout parking area doesn't even mention the waterfall.

The trail to Skinny Dip is part of the Mountains to Sea Trail crossing North Carolina from Clingman's Dome in the west to Jockey's Ridge on the Atlantic Ocean. This part of the trail leads to the Shining Rock Wilderness area of Pisgah National Forest.

Here is a first glimpse of Skinny Dip. The water falls into deep collecting pools. In summer, the pools are filled with swimmers, climbing in and out of the water.



The water is much deeper than it appears. This shot would not be possible in summer. In summer there would be people jumping from the rocks into the pool.

Below the second pool the water takes a sharp turn, leaving a very narrow (skinny) dip in the rocks. This is the real reason for the name "skinny dip." (What were you thinking?)


The deepest collection pool is just below the curve. A secondary falls drops into the pool like a faucet.


The water is absolutely pristine. Cold and transparent, it is lovely to behold.


Here are the rocks that serve as jumping points to the pool (which is not visible from this shot). The water is VERY cold. Sheltered by the trees and coming directly from the mountain, the water temperature rarely exceeds 65 degrees even on the hottest summer day. Yet many people plunge right in. And yes, some of the biggest showoffs do skinny dip. Perhaps that's an incentive to jump faster.
This is the view from the Parkway overlook near the trail head. Looking Glass Rock is in our county and is a beautiful formation popular with hikers and rock climbers.
Skinny Dip Falls is not terribly well know, although I think it is more interesting than some of the more popular waterfalls. Perhaps one reason is that it is located only a mile away from a very popular waterfall viewing area in Graveyard Fields. The day of our hike was a wonderful day with a nice breeze. The high mountains are beginning to awaken to the green of spring and life is good.

26 comments:

Rudee said...

I've only hiked some of the trail heads off the northern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Obviously, I have to break out of my habits when I head south this year.

I do love how you mention it's just a short hike. That's a relative when the hike is steep, don't you think? So, exactly how steep is this hike with its beautiful waterfalls?

Cedar ... said...

I've always loved the northern end of the BRP, "The Skyline Drive", I've never had the opportunity to travel farther south in that area. I can see it is a "must do!" Beautiful photos!

robin andrea said...

It is so beautiful there. What a wonderful place to hike.

Nature Lovin' Super Mama said...

Wow, beautiful falls! I am so jealous...I have always wanted to jump into a pool. We only have water falls in the Western U.P. like that. Thank you for sharing, great post too!

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

You could be a tour guide that was so well done! By the way, I never had any other thoughts about the name. :-) The water does look amazing, but yikes, that would be cold! Next time you'll have to show us a picture of you jumping in off the rocks (before you take off your clothes, of course)!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wow ---how gorgeous Carolyn. Many of the waterfalls that George and I have visited are ones like Skinny Dip--that are only known by the 'locals'... We had not run across this one--but I just found some info on the internet of it--to put in our 'waterfalls to see' lists!!!!! Thanks!!!!

Are you saying that people do NOT Skinny Dip there????? ha ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Donna said...

Skinny Dip Falls is beautiful! You must have had a wonderful day hiking. I love the Blue Ridge Pkwy.

Hugs,
Donna

Cheryl said...

I love waterfalls......and skinny dip is stunning.....

It is always so sad when you see falls and the water is polluted or has rubbish floating in it........

It was a pleasure to look at your photographs......to me it looks like heaven on earth......

Barb said...

The photos of the falls were wonderful - the water actually looks cold! Since it's snowing again here in CO, I'm living vicariously through bloggers in warm-weather climates.

fishing guy said...

Carolyn: What a beautiful place to take a dip.

grammy said...

Looks like a wonderful hike. Our mountains are not warm enough yet to want to hike much. well the youngins aren't bothered by the cold. We still have snow too.

Cicero Sings said...

Looks like a beautiful spot to walk around ... I can see why it is so popular in summer.

George said...

Thanks for bringing this waterfall to our attention. We'll have to work it into our schedule when we get to North Carolina. I think I would like to visit in the early spring or late fall however.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I saw your blog name on Carol Murdock's blog and had to come visit - of course the photos are familiar. I live in Haywood County...Maggie Valley. Haven't been to Skinny Dip falls yet though.

I saw the first paragraph of the post below this one about the Grosbeak - ours are back, too - love them. And the Goldfinch. Hummingbirds!

Leedra said...

It is a beautiful waterfall. Have not heard of it. Does seem like in the summer it is so hard to get good photos because of swimmers at most waterfalls.

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Shellmo said...

I won't admit what I was thinking when I saw the name skinny dip falls.... :-) LOL! It looks beautiful in your photos!!

Dog_geek said...

Oooh - that water looks COLD! We've done parts of the Mountains to Sea trail, but not that part!

Mary Isabella and Kiley too! said...

AWESOME!!!

Sue said...

Your pictures of the falls are beautiful!

If I were to visit and go for a swim though, they'd have to change the name from Skinny Dip to Chunky Dunk...

Kim said...

wow, just beautiful! i would love to SD in that waterfall!

troutbirder said...

Absolutely my kind of place. Beautiful. Carolyn, now you did fail to mention, with that cold water, whether I should bring my flyrod????

Jayne said...

What a beautiful place Carolyn. Thanks for taking us along on the hike. :c)

Abe Lincoln said...

Beautiful photography. You probably don't even think about bears. It just scares the daylights out of me so I try not to think.

Anyway, we considered and visited your city and Hendersonville and Tryon and did think we might move there but didn't. I wonder, sometimes, what we missed.

jayedized said...

Beautiful! The crystal clear, green and crisp, looks so refreshing, sounds wonderful, the rocks are beautiful... SO inviting - a running stream you can hear and see; always there to experience. Beautiful mountain water (and brrrr!) Lovely hike in a lovely place - thanks for the wonderful pics!

CountryDreaming said...

What fascinates me is how such wild-looking beauty exists so close, in fact within the bounds of, civilization. And that with all the swimmers who visit, the scenery continues on in good condition. Awesome series of pictures! The Blue Ridge Parkway is definitely something special.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments everyone. While I used to "swim" in trout waters like this, there is no way I would step in this water. It is COLD!

Rudee - While I don't know the elevation, the hike is definitely straight down to the waterfall, meaning straight up on the way back. I consider any hike less than an hour to be short and this one was not more than 20 minutes if that.

Cedar - My husband I want to drive the entire BRP to see the northern end.

Betsy - It's definitely worth adding to your list of waterfalls.

Troutbirder - Definitely bring the fly rod. It's THAT cold.

Abe - While there are definitely bears around, they are not the problem they are in the Smokies. They are actually more of a problem in the back yards than on the trails.

Countrydreaming - Yes, that amazes me as well. That's why we love hiking in winter and early spring. In late spring, summer and early fall there are just too many people around.