Skinny Dip Falls Highly recommended waterfall for everyone!

Skinny Dip Falls

Nikon D800, Nikon 17-35mm lens at 17mm, f/13, 0.4 second, ISO 400, polarizing filter.

Beauty Rating:
Yellowstone Prong of East Fork Pigeon River
River Basin:
Little Tennessee
4,360 feet
Type and Height:
Three individual falls dropping a total of about 30 feet
Pisgah National Forest, Pisgah Ranger District
Shining Rock
Hike Distance:
0.42 mile
Hike Difficulty:
Photo Rating:
Waterfall GPS:
Trailhead GPS:
Google Earth Waterfall Download View waterfall on Google Earth. Link is for a Google Earth file. Click file after download and Google Earth will open and fly to the waterfall. Don't have Google Earth on your computer?

Driving Directions

Park at Looking Glass Rock Overlook at Milepost 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The overlook is about halfway between US 276 to the north and NC 215 to the south.

Hike Description

After crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway on the north side of the overlook, enter the woods on the obvious trail. The trail leads 400 feet to a set of steps climbing a short bank. At the top, you’ll come to a four-way trail intersection amid a carpet of galax. Mountains-to-Sea Trail goes to the right and straight ahead. Go straight on MST, which starts out on a level grade through profuse galax but quickly begins a moderate, rocky descent on an easily followed path. You’ll come to a good view of the upper portion of the falls and then descend the steps to the bridge at the base.


No doubt, you’re wondering if it’s okay to bring the kids to this waterfall. I can’t make any promises, but I doubt you’ll see anyone demonstrating how the falls got its name. In warm weather, you’ll probably see people frolicking in the pools and sunning on the rocks, but they’ll likely be wearing swimsuits.

Skinny Dip Falls is small and nothing like the three waterfalls a short distance upstream in Graveyard Fields, but it has a relaxing and inviting charm. Not long ago, another difference was that you wouldn’t find suffocating crowds here, but that’s no longer the case. Skinny Dip Falls has become quite popular. On a sunny weekend, you’d better get to the trailhead early if you want to find a parking space.

Although the waterfall is the highlight of the trip for most people, wildflower lovers will enjoy the hike more than the falls. The trail passes through a rich cove forest carpeted with spring wildflowers.

Yellowstone Falls is less than 0.5 mile upstream from Skinny Dip Falls. I talk about creek walking between the two falls in its listing. You can also hike MST between them. On the other side of the footbridge, MST turns away from the creek and follows a course around the easternmost summit of Graveyard Ridge before connecting with the trail system in Graveyard Fields. If you utilize a shuttle vehicle, the trail hike between Graveyard Fields Overlook and Looking Glass Rock Overlook is a good one. You can also make the hike a loop by walking along the parkway, but I wouldn’t recommend it in summer or autumn when the traffic is high.

As best I can determine, all of Skinny Dip Falls is in Pisgah National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway boundary lying a short distance upstream.