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Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest, NC: Directions and Guide

Updated on August 13, 2012

Sliding Rock Amenities

bus parking
handicap parking
picnic area
vending machines
water fountain

Sliding Rock

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

A markerSliding Rock -
Sliding Rock, Pisgah National Forest, Brevard, NC, USA
get directions

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

  • swimsuit
  • towel
  • sunscreen
  • water shoes
  • denim shorts
  • waterproof camera
  • change of clothes

What Not to Bring:

  • picnics, or any food
  • alcohol
  • glass containers
  • valuables

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

Stones are slippery!
Stones are slippery!

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!

Visiting Sliding Rock

Are you brave enough to try Sliding Rock?

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    • profile image

      Aimee 2 years ago

      We just went today it was amazing and beautiful. Water is a shocker but still so much fun. I dont know what the temp was but they say no more than 60 degrees. A must do 5stars

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hello, ChaplinSpeaks,

      I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this hub. Beautiful writing; lay-out; graphics, the entire presentation. I voted up and all the buttons. Because you deserved it.

      My name is Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Ala., a rural town in northwest Alabama that reminds you of Mayberry, the town that where Andy and Barney lived. We are little, but proud.

      Anyway. I am going now to leave you some fan mail and become a follower.

      I cordially invite you to check a few of my hubs and follow me.

      Thank you in advance.



    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Thanks, Cara. It was fun, and your kids would love it. You will have to check it out when you visit NC.

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 5 years ago from Michigan

      How fantastic! My kids would have an absolute blast doing this! I wish that we had something like this in Michigan. That was a great video!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, K9. Glad this brought back some good memories for you. I love secret water holes and hidden rock sliding zones like the one you described. Nature's own fun places!

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 5 years ago from Northern, California

      What a fun adventure, and the music in your video is so uplifting! While stationed in Del Rio, Texas (about a hundred years ago) we would go to Lake Amistad on the days we were off duty. Tucked away among some very treacherous rocks was a little rock sliding "zone" that was like a day at an amusement park! This is the wonderful memory I recalled while watching your fun video. The "zone" wasn't as elaborate as your sliding rock in Pisgah National Forest, but for a bunch off duty Air Force staff it was a dream come true! Fantastic hub!


    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, Rebecca. You are right about that cold water. I live 4 hours away and the water here now in July is warmer than room temperature! But at Sliding Rock, quite chilly!

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Well, can't say I have been there many times but a couple. The water is c o l d even on the hottest of days and it is loads of fun! Cool video!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, Robin. It really is fun and a great way to beat the heat!

    • Robin profile image

      Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

      That looks like so much fun! I loved the music and your video - it made me smile. If we are ever in NC, we will have to check it out. I think our girls would have so much fun there.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, teaches12345. Sliding Rock became part of the Federal Recreation Fee Program in 1996, so that may be when they added the facilities and lifeguards. I sort of wished I had known about it years ago when it was just a secret spot on the side of the forest. Maybe you will get another chance to stop by?

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I found myself feeling really happy watching your video and listening to the music. I'm there already! We used to pass by this area when we lived in Virginia and were traveling to Six Flags. I wish I would have known about this park then. Voted up!

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, cclitgirl. The park does not advertise Sliding Rock, because they can't handle huge crowds. Hopefully, my tips will help people plan to go early and be prepared. Have fun if you go!

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      I have bookmarked this! I can't believe I haven't heard about this, as much as I traipse around the woods in and near Pisgah Forest. This sounds awesome!! Thanks for sharing and I still can't believe that I probably live 30 minutes away from this and haven't heard of it. Geez. :)

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      ktrapp - now that is an experience I have not had yet - sledding. Just no snow around here! I will have to try it one day.

      Hi, Glimmer Twin Fan - that may be good timing for Sliding Rock. School will be back in session and the line won't be as long.

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      That looks so cool & we will be near there in the early fall. I am putting this on the list. Thanks for a great hub!

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      I did that on a sled hill once and could barely sit for months without my tailbone hurting. Sliding Rock really is an amazing place.I wish I could see it firsthand, so I'm so glad you captured it in video. It makes me wonder what other secretive "playgrounds" exist like this that I haven't seen or heard of.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 5 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      Hi, ktrapp. I felt the same way and did my best to veer over to the smooth lane. Not sure what happened, but I went left and actually caught a little air. Ouch! Still hurting today on my tailbone.....

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      Wow - what a hidden gem Sliding Rock is. I've never heard or seen anything like it. The video is fabulous because I don't think I could even imagine what this was like without seeing the sliding in action. I would definitely only be adventurous enough for the smooth lane. Voted up and awesome!