Where to Swim When You Visit the Smokies

What is something we all look forward to when it comes to vacations? Swimming! Unfortunately, that usually means bobbing around a tiny hotel pool. But when you come to the Smokies, it’s a whole different ball game. You’ll have the chance to swim in some of the cleanest and prettiest swimming spots around—right here in the Great Smoky Mountains!

The Great Smoky Mountains are full of waterfalls, creeks, rivers, and natural swimming spots that will provide you with privacy, beauty, and outdoor fun during your vacation. Some spots are more crowded than others—especially the swimming holes that are easiest to access. But there are plenty of others that, if you’re willing to do a little hiking, will make it worth the time and effort it took for you to get there!

Check out our list of a few popular swimming holes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Keep in mind that swimming in these locales is completely at your own risk. You should keep small children in your sight at all times and take precautions (like avoiding steep drop-offs and slippery rocks) to avoid injury. Other than that, pack your swimsuit, grab your camera, and get ready to make a splash during your Smoky Mountain getaway this year!

Abrams Falls Swimming Hole
Below the 20-foot waterfall known as Abrams Falls is a picturesque swimming hole that’s been a favorite spot for decades. The water rushing over the falls plunges into a large, 100-foot pool, where you and a group of friends can enjoy an outdoor swim under the Smoky Mountain sun.

Because the trail to Abrams Falls is considered moderate to difficult, this may not be the best swimming hole for families with small children. Also the undertow, strong currents, and rocks around the falls (they are extremely slippery and should not be climbed on) pose serious dangers. For these reasons, if you do bring your kids, you should keep them close to you at all times.
Directions: The turnoff for the trailhead can be found past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road. The trail to the falls is Abrams Falls Trail, and you’ll have to hike 2.5 miles before coming to the falls.

Chimney Tops
While one of the most popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Chimney Tops Trail isn’t one of the easiest. This 2-mile hike gains 1,400 feet in elevation, so you shouldn’t attempt this climb if you have a fear of heights or if steep trails would prove too challenging for your health. But if you’re in decent shape and want to make the climb, you’ll love the chance this trail affords for a refreshing dip in the Little Pigeon River.

With plenty of rocks to jump off (when the water levels aren’t too low), you’ll have fun in the great outdoors with your buddies or your sweetheart at Chimney Tops. Again, this is probably not a great place to bring young kids as the trail will likely prove too challenging. Along with your swimsuit, take your camera on the Chimney Tops Trails. The stunning mountain vistas at the end of your 2-mile hike are definitely worth capturing!

Directions: Drive about 7 miles south from the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road (or 22 miles north from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center). Park in the large lot that’s located on the west side of the road between the lower tunnel and the loop.

The Townsend Y Swimming Area
If you’re looking for a family-friendly swimming hole in the Smokies, Townsend Y is the right place to go. This area is where the Little River and the Middle Prong of the Little River join, and that makes for a wide pool that’s great for swimming and tubing—one of the more popular outdoor activities in Pigeon Forge during the late spring and summer.

The Townsend Y Swimming Area is easy to access, making it one of the most popular areas for tubing and swimming in the Smokies. Plan for a relaxing swim, an afternoon of sunbathing on the bank, or a family picnic on the sloping hill surrounding this swimming area during your getaway to the Smokies.

Directions: This swimming hole can be found just beyond the Townsend entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cabins With Pools
Don’t forget that at Cabins For You, we have plenty of Gatlinburg cabins with community pool access and even private indoor pools. You can swim in the Smoky Mountains during the day, and keep swimming in your very own private pool at night. You can also spend the evening warming up in your outdoor hot tub—an amenity that comes with most of our Smoky Mountain cabins.

If you have questions about any of our amenities or would like help booking your rental for your next Smoky Mountain vacation, don’t hesitate to contact our reservation specialists today. They are available to assist you with booking and any questions you might have.

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