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Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest, NC: Directions and Guide
Sliding Rock Amenities
Sliding Rock is one of the most popular natural waterslides in Western North Carolina, yet some details of the attraction remain elusive. For a visitor, it is difficult to even track down the exact location in the vast Pisgah National Forest. Since there is not any official written literature on Sliding Rock, one may wonder about hours, parking, admission, and rules. This guide will shed light on everything you need to know for visiting Sliding Rock.
Winding through the forest-covered mountains, Looking Glass Creek spills into a 60 foot long waterfall that families have been enjoying for generations. Years ago, locals would just pull over on the side of the road to visit this secret spot - a gently sloping rock that was smooth and flat enough to slide down in the rushing water. Many referred to this summer cool-off spot simply as "The Rock."
Sliding Rock is now operated by the US Forest Service. Two viewing decks, railings, restrooms, a parking lot and a fee station were built. The current admission fee is $1.00 per person, though an increase to $2.00 per person was recently proposed. Parking is limited to avoid overcrowding.
Map of Sliding Rock, North Carolina
Directions to Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock is located in the Pisgah National Forest, but does not have a street address to conveniently plug into a GPS. The park staff will tell you to travel to the Pizza Hut in Brevard, which is located at the entrance of the forest. Follow US-276 into the forest for about 8 miles, and the entrance to Sliding Rock is on the left. There are several signs that guide the way. A common problem with these directions is that the Pizza Hut address may be a little off on your GPS.
Another way to find Sliding Rock is to know that it is along US-276 between Brevard and Waynesville. This will help if you are travelling on US-276 from the North and will not pass by the Pizza Hut in Brevard. From the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is 8 miles south down US-276.
The Google map to the right is accurate, so you can determine directions from your own starting point. Cell phone service near Sliding Rock is spotty, so you may want to print out the driving directions or write them down.
What to Bring to Sliding Rock
- water shoes
- denim shorts
- waterproof camera
- change of clothes
What Not to Bring:
- picnics, or any food
- glass containers
Pets must be on a leash and may not enter the swimming area.
Admission to Sliding Rock
The official season for Sliding Rock is from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Lifeguards are on duty daily from 10:30 a.m until 6:00 p.m. Once school starts back up in mid-August, lifeguards are on duty only on weekends until Labor Day. Fees are as follows:
- General admission: $1 per person (children 16 and under must be accompanied by an adult)
- Children 6 and under are free
- Season Pass: $25 per vehicle
Groups are allowed, but may not exceed 50 people. There are only 4 parking spots for buses, so plan accordingly.
Sliding Rock will be closed if there is bad weather or if the creek's water level is too high.
You may visit Sliding Rock in the off season, but you will be swimming at your own risk and the bathrooms will be closed. The water also will be colder!
Sliding Rock Wading Area
Tips for Sliding Rock
- Go on a weekday when it is less crowded.
- Arrive before 11:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m. to avoid the crowds.
- If the parking lot is full, the park will close the entrance to additional visitors.
- There are cubbyholes for belongings in the restrooms, but they cannot be secured. Most people just place their bags or towels near one of the viewing decks.
- The wooden viewing platform at the base of the waterfall also gets very slippery.
- Some families spend more time, but 1-2 hours is a typical amount of time to enjoy the area.
- There are several picnic sites and viewing spots down the road from Sliding Rock, along US-276.
North Carolina Waterfalls
Experiencing Sliding Rock
Sliding Rock is for the adventurous! To access the slide, you must walk up a wet rock path to the top of the waterfall. The path has a handrail, but water shoes are helpful. There usually is a lifeguard at the top of the slide to direct you to the starting point. If not, it is easy to follow the lead of the people in front of you.
Though the slide begins as a slight slope, it becomes steep towards the end. The fast-moving water carries you into a very chilly rock-bottomed pool that is 8 feet deep. These are some rules to keep in mind:
- You must slide sitting down and facing forward.
- Children 6 and under must ride with an adult.
- Standard life-jackets are allowed, but not any other floatation devices or boards.
- Tight-fitting water shoes are recommended. (Crocs will fall off.)
- Denim shorts are recommended to protect yourself from the sometimes bumpy ride.
If you just want to watch the thrill-seekers slide, there are two observation decks - one at the top of the waterfall and one at the bottom. It is fun to watch the facial expressions as the sliders spill into the cold water. There are often families or groups of teens that ride all together like a train. I am sure my last descent triggered a few snickers as I bumped down the wrong lane and coughed up a bunch of cold water!
Near the bottom of the waterfall is a shallow wading area that kids like to play in and around. The bottom floor is covered with slippery rocks and loose stones, so water shoes are a good idea. Small children should be led by the hand.
There are not any telephones at Sliding Rock, but for more information you may call the Pisgah Ranger Station Visitor Center at (828) 877-3265. If you visit the center, they still may have a few of the Sliding Rock tee-shirts available. (The last time I checked, they had some in the Adult-Medium size.)
Enjoy your visit!