Sometimes Mother Nature has a sense of humor. For example, the dunes of New Mexico that make up a fun activity called “sand sledding.” There are just a few natural features that call for a bit of adventure, and there’s another spot in Pisgah, North Carolina that does just that. The famous Sliding Rock is aptly named for its natural sliding and slipping properties, allowing visitors to simply slide down its glittering rock face. The gentle cascade of water that propels visitors is similar to that of a water park, but is completely natural in shape.
While this natural attraction was previously damaged by a storm, it reopened to the public in April 2022. And the good news is, Sliding Rock is incredibly affordable and the trek to get there couldn’t be easier.
How long is the hike to Sliding Rock and how much does it cost?
The hike to Sliding Rock is less than half a mile and requires no technical maneuvers or special skills. Visitors just have to hike 0.3 miles into the Pisgah Forest, which takes about six minutes before they reach Sliding Rock. The hike itself is short and sweet and clearly marked, and there will always be other people around during the summer season. Visitors have the option to watch the fun from the main observation deck or queue behind the cordoned off area to wait their turn on this exciting natural waterslide.
The parking lot has ample space, but visitors are better off following the actual directions on the map rather than relying on GPS to find it. When cell phone coverage is poor in the area, GPS signals are easily lost and could potentially take visitors to the wrong location rather than directly to the Sliding Rock waterfall.
The cost of the waterfall for the 2022 season is $5according to AllTrails.
Best time to visit Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock is officially open, with lifeguards on duty Memorial Day through Labor Day. The attraction is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and lifeguards normally remain on duty until the school season starts again in mid-August. While there is no “bad” time to visit Sliding Rock, there are times that are far less crowded. For starters, visitors should avoid weekends as they fill up with locals and tourists fairly quickly. The best time to visit is on a weekday, and the least crowded times of the day include all times outside the window from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
In terms of the best month to visit Sliding Rock, that’s a very personal preference. It should be noted that the water at this waterfall is a constant temperature of 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit – which is pretty chilly! As such, the best times to visit are during the hottest months of the year, when the water feels refreshing and not shocking.
Tips for visiting Sliding Rock
The first and most important tip is to follow the directions to reach Sliding Rock via real GPS. As this location is in the Pisgah Forest, the GPS is not always reliable. Directions to Sliding Rock are as follows:
- From Asheville: Take I-26 East to Exit 40 for Highway 280 (and Asheville Airport).
- Turn right onto Highway 280 West and drive 16 miles toward Brevard.
- Look for a large mall 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.
- Continue 7.6 miles to a parking lot on the left.
- From Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 412, take US 276 South for approximately 7.5 miles.
Other tips for visiting are:
- Bring an extra set of clothes as restrooms are 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 be able to swim when visiting Sliding Rock as the pool is 8ft deep at the bottom.
- Life jackets and children’s puddle jumpers are the only flotation devices allowed.
- July is the busiest time for visitors, so the parking lot fills up on weekends this month.
- Sliding Rock is pet friendly, but pets are not allowed to slide or swim.
- There is no Wi-Fi and very little, if any, cell phone coverage in the area.
- Visitors should pack water and sunscreen if they plan to stay for a long time.
Sliding Rock is a must-see for anyone staying near Pisgah Forest, and while a bit of a hassle from Asheville, it’s worth it. This natural summer attraction is truly unique and definitely an experience worth seeking out at least once.