Summer in the Smokies can get pretty hot! If you need to cool off, check out one of our top 5 favorite swimming holes in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg! 

  1. The Sinks is a beautiful location; perfect for a day of family fun! The rushing waterfall leads right into a relaxing pool that’s not too deep. Please be careful of the currents, though! 

From the Townsend national park entrance, drive 5.8 miles of the Little River Gorge Road towards Elkmont. From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 11.5 miles towards Cades Cove. The waterfall is located right by the road, so this swimming hole is easy to access.

  1. The Greenbrier Swimming Hole is located just near Gatlinburg on the Little Pigeon River. The still waters and deep water are perfect for swimming. Not to mention this swimming hole is ‘off the beaten path’ and more peaceful than most! 

From Gatlinburg, drive 6 miles on US-321 N (Gatlinburg’s East Parkway). On your right, you’ll see a sign for the Greenbrier entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Turn onto this gravel road and look for a pull-off spot in the first two miles before the ranger station.

  1. The Midnight Hole is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Its name comes from the midnight waters that reflect shimmer in the sunlight. The waters here are mostly calm and make for a great day of play or relaxing! 

There’s a 1.4 mile hike to reach the Midnight Hole. Simply take the Big Creek Trail from the Big Creek campground area in the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you hike another .5 miles, you’ll reach Mouse Creek Falls, a 45 ft. tall, multi-tiered, waterfall.

  1. Metcalf Bottoms is located between Townsend and Gatlinburg. In the river you can swim or relax on a tube and float! We recommend bringing a picnic for your time on the river bank. 

Starting in Gatlinburg, drive towards Cades Cove by taking a right at Sugarlands Visitor Center. You’ll find the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area on the right after 12 miles.

  1. The Townsend Wye is a well-known spot for a reason! Jump off rocks, float, and swim your day away at this fun swimming hole just between Gatlinburg and Townsend. 

The Wye is located less than a mile from the Townsend Entrance of the National Park. You’ll find a parking lot and lots of roadside parking just before the Townsend Entrance Road splits to go to either Cades Cove or Gatlinburg.

Warnings: Please click this link to learn more about safety in the natural pools of the Smoky Mountains area. Thank you, and stay safe!