Summer Cool Spot #1 - Sliding Rock, North Carolina
A Way To Beat The Heat
It has been a brutal summer and it is not over. Much of the nation has suffered from extreme heat - heat that has exceeded 100 degrees. What is the answer to beating the heat? Well, you can stay inside and run the a/c and hope you stay cool. You can also hope that it continues to work and watch your electric bill soar. You can go the pool or the lake and "cool off" in that tepid, chlorinated water or that tepid, community lake water.
I have a better solution for you though, particularly if you live near western North Carolina. You need to pack up the kids or pack up your friends and head to Sliding Rock in the Pisgah National Forest.
Sliding Rock is operated by the United States Forest Service. It is basically a large, natural waterslide. It is about sixty feet long and at the bottom there is an eight foot pool. Technically, the rock is a waterfall but is not the vertical variety that comes to mind for most people when they think of a waterfall. Lifeguards are on duty during regular operating hours from the Memorial Day holiday weekend until the Labor Day holiday weekend. A lifeguard at the top assists sliders with getting started safely and another lifeguard at the bottom monitors the pool. It will cost you one dollar per person and you can stay as long as you want. There are bathrooms and changing facilities along with two observation decks. There is parking but at times during the summer the lot will be full and you will have to circle the lot and wait for someone to leave before you can park. You are not allowed to picnic in this recreation area or in the parking lot. I guess this is done so that you will get your fill of sliding and then move on so that others can enjoy the area after you leave. Even though you cannot picnic, there are numerous roadside areas where you can do so as you approach from either direction on Highway 276. Don't let rain stop you either. You can slide during rain but not when thunder and lightning are present in the area. Sliding in the rain is good because the lines get shorter. During the off season sliding is still permitted but you do so at your own risk since lifeguards and rangers are not on duty. Sliding Rock is located on Highway 276 about seven miles north of the intersection of US Highway 64 and Highway 276. It is close to Brevard, North Carolina.
I have been going to Sliding Rock since I was twelve years old. It has changed some over the years. It is still very much a natural area but there is a permanent handrail now and walking areas have been improved with steps, decking and paved walkways. I don't remember the observation decks but there must have been a changing area way back when unless a bunch of campers road back to Hendersonville in wet bathing suits and shorts.
One thing is for sure though. The water is just like I remember it being all those years ago. It really is refreshing and exhiliarating. It is nothing like jumping in a city pool on a hot summer day. A swimming pool provides relief in the summer heat but that is about it. This place will provide relief through the cooling waters and the air temperatures that are a good ten to fifteen degrees cooler than they are two hours to the south. The water is cool/cold but its temperature does the trick when it's hot outside. It really is a beautiful area not just at Sliding Rock but all throughout the Pisgah National Forest. Best of all, it is a happy place for young and old alike. There are no sad faces here! It is good, clean family fun at a nominal cost. So, to get through the rest of these sizzling summer days, pack a bag with some bathing suits and towels and head to Sliding Rock. You won't be disappointed and I promise you will find relief from the heat at least for the time you are there!