Sometimes, Mother Nature has a sense of humor. For example, the dunes in New Mexico which make up a joyous activity called 'sand sledding'. There are just some natural features that call for a bit of adventure, and there's another location in Pisgah, North Carolina, that does just that. The famed Sliding Rock has been aptly named due to its natural slip-and-slide-like properties that allow visitors to simply shimmy down its glistening rock face. The gentle cascade of water that helps to push visitors forward is something akin to what one might find at a water park, but is completely natural in form.
While this natural attraction had previously been damaged in a storm, it reopened in April 2022 once again to the public. And the good news is this - Sliding Rock is incredibly affordable, and the hike to get there could not be easier.
How Long Is The Hike To Sliding Rock & How Much Does It Cost?
The hike to Sliding Rock is less than a half-mile and doesn't require any technical maneuvering or special skill set. Visitors will only need to hike 0.3 miles into the Pisgah Forest, taking about six minutes, before they reach Sliding Rock. The hike itself is short and sweet and is clearly marked, and during the summer season, there will always be other people around. Visitors have the option to observe the fun from the main observation deck or get in line behind the railed-off area to await their turn at this thrilling natural waterslide.
The parking lot has ample space, but visitors are better off following actual map directions rather than relying on the GPS to find it. With low cell reception in the area, GPS signals are lost quite easily and can potentially bring visitors to the wrong place rather than directly to the Sliding Rock waterfall.
The cost of the waterfall for the 2022 season is $5, according to AllTrails.
The Best Time To Visit Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock is officially open, with lifeguards on duty, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The attraction is open daily from 10:30 AM until 6 PM nightly, and lifeguards usually remain on duty until the school season starts back up again in mid-August. While there's no 'bad' time to visit Sliding Rock, there are times that are far less crowded. For starters, visitors may want to avoid weekends as they tend to fill up with both locals and tourists rather quickly. The best time to visit is on a weekday, and the least crowded times of the day to visit include any times outside the window of 12 PM until 4 PM.
In terms of the best month to visit Sliding Rock, this is completely a personal preference. It should be noted that the water at this waterfall remains at a constant temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit - which is pretty chilly! So, the best times to visit might be during the hottest months of the year, when the water will feel refreshing as opposed to shocking.
Tips For Visiting Sliding Rock
The first and most important tip is to follow directions to reach Sliding Rock over an actual GPS. Since this location is in the Pisgah Forest, the GPS isn't always reliable. The directions to reach Sliding Rock are as follows:
- From Asheville: drive I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and the Asheville Airport).
- Take a right onto Highway 280 West and go 16 miles toward Brevard.
- Watch for a big shopping center on the right (with Walmart).
- Just past the center, turn right onto US Highway 276 North (Forest Heritage Scenic Byway) to enter the Pisgah National Forest.
- Go on for 7.6 miles to a parking area on the left.
- From the Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 412, take US 276 South for about 7.5 miles.
Additional tips for visiting include:
- Bring an extra set of clothes since there are restrooms available for changing.
- Be sure to wear a thick-bottomed bathing suit, as sliding down a rock is not the same as sliding down a water slide.
- The park takes both cash and credit, so either is fine.
- One must know how to swim when visiting Sliding Rock, as the pool at the bottom is eight feet deep.
- Life jackets and children's puddle jumpers are the only floatation devices allowed.
- July is the most popular time for visitors, so the parking lot does fill up on weekends during this month.
- Sliding rock is pet-friendly, but pets are not permitted to slide or swim.
- There is no Wi-Fi and very little cell phone reception in the area if any.
- Visitors should pack water and sunscreen if they plan to stay any length of time.
Sliding Rock is a must-do for those anywhere near the Pisgah Forest, and while it is a bit of a search from Asheville, it's well worth it. This natural summertime attraction is truly one of a kind, and it's definitely a bucket-list experience worth seeking out at least once.