A beautiful 50 foot waterfall cascades down into a deep, freezing cold swimming pool. With little pools below the main pool and rocks everywhere this is the perfect location to swim on a hot summer day. 

The coordinates for the parking area are 36.198288, -81.970137. You'll see a parking area that's dirt/gravel on the right side of the road. At the far end of the parking lot is a sign that says Elk River Falls with an arrow pointing up the hill. From this point its about a .2 mile long walk to the waterfall! Be careful as you make your way down the rocks to the waterfall. This adventure is great for all ages and especially great for your furry best friend!

I highly recommend swimming in this waterfall after hiking the Roan Highlands (if you end at 19E). The waterfall is about 10 minutes from 19E and it is absolutely the best way to cool off and rinse off after a long hike/backpacking trip!

Note: multiple people have died here from jumping into the base of the waterfalls from above. DO NOT JUMP INTO THE SWIMMING HOLE FROM ABOVE. The currents running from this waterfall are very strong and can be felt while swimming in the main swimming hole. If you bring children it is advised that you swim with them in some of the lower pools below the falls.

Pack List

  • Bathing suit
  • Water shoes (rocks are super slick in the water)
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • GoPro or waterproof camera
Show More
RT Distance 0.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 120 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Swimming, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
River
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Favorite Local Waterfall

Elk river falls so easily accessible it'd be a shame to pass up! The trail is clearly marked and new wooden walkways make getting to the bottom easier than ever. The waterfall is massive and a terrific site. I have jumped off it once and would not recommend. As noted, multiple people have died doing so due to the heavy undercurrent. Still a great place to swim, though!

Plan To Hike There In Movember

Great information and details. Will be in the area for vacation in November and plan to check it out. Thanks.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Jones Falls

78 Saves

Hike to Little Hump Mountain

145 Saves

Hike to Big Hump Mountain along the Appalachian Trail

82 Saves