Swim in Elk River Falls



0.2 miles

Elevation Gain

120 ft

Route Type


Added by Jess Fischer

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.

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Know for

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Swimming Hole



Leave a Review


10 months ago

Perfect after Roan Highlands

Came here after hiking up at Roan Highlands. Although it was crowded, I didn't find it to be an issue. Theres plenty of space and the water feels great during the summer!

Serene but Crowded

I went with some friends and it was very easy to get to. If you have a hard time walking or with stairs it will be difficult to access as stairs are required. The parking is crowded but very close. DO NOT JUMP OFF OF THE FALLS, YOU WILL DIE. The sitting rocks by the plunge pool are nice for sunning but can get crowded so go early in the morning. Behind the main plunge pool is smaller pools that would be safer for swimming.


about 4 years ago

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!


over 4 years ago

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.

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