Smoky Mountain Central Area - Swim near Beersheba Springs, Tennessee
Beersheba Springs,Tennessee
35.4517, -85.6206
GPS: 35°27'6.1"N 85°37'14.2"W
Maps | Directions
State: Tennessee


Swimming places along the Little River Rd. and Cades Cove Rd. - best accessed via the Townsend entrance to Great Smoky Mtn. N. P.. For details...Courtesy of
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  2. Travel & camp on durable surfaces
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  4. Leave what you find
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From Beersheba Springs, Tennessee

  1. Head southwest on Dahlgren Ave toward Hege Ave (164 ft)
  2. Turn left onto Hege Ave (0.1 mi)
  3. Continue onto Stone Door Rd (413 ft)
  4. Turn left onto Grassy Ridge Rd
    Partial restricted usage road
    (1.2 mi)

From Knoxville, go south on RT 129 about 17 mi to Maryville. In Maryville, take RT 321 east through Townsend to entrance to Great Smoky Mtn. N. P.. (There are a number of places along RT 321 BEFORE you get to Townsend where there is both water play and tubing in the river along this road. To find one, look for pull out-parking/picnicking areas as you go along RT 321. One of the first you will come to is known as "Hillbilly Swimming Hole" and is at a dam. PHOTO of the dam , YOTUBE .) Then:

THE Y [THEY]:This is a deep, wide place in the clear Little River, very near a bridge where you will find lots of people swimming, jumping and tubing on a warm day. YOUTUBE . Large parking area. To get there, it is at the bridge over Little River just where you enter the National Park from Townsend. Just before this bridge, there is a very large, paved parking on the left, the swimming place is at the bridge. There is also a lot of tubing here - tubes can be rented nearby in Townsend. LAT, LON: lat=35.65975, lon=-83.7078(source: Measured) (accuracy: exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP . PHOTO of THE Y . Very confident. Verified.

Walden's Pond

Road Trip Dip

Turning north (left) on Little River Rd., from the Townsend entrance there are a number of swimming places, in the order below: (If you come south on Little River Rd. from Gatlinburg, reverse the directions below, beginning at the Elkmont turn off) (Be forewarned - Gatlinburg is a very congested, touristy area.)

THE STEPS [STEP]: (Our name for this place) Initially the river is on the left of Little River road. At about 1 mile past The Y, just after you go over a bridge, the river is now on the right. There are steps down to the river on the right side and a small parking area. This is a nice family swimming hole (The Steps is just our name for it.) PHOTO . LAT, LON: lat=35.670, lon=-83.681(source: measured) (accuracy: exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP Verified 4/02. Very confident

THE SINKS [SINK]: About 4.5 miles past (north of) "The Steps" on Little River Rd., you cross another bridge so that the river is now on the left. Under this bridge are a series of small falls, rapids and pools, up to 6 ft deep. CAUTION: DO NOT CLIMB AROUND THE FALLS OR SWIM AT THE FALLS - GO DOWNSTREAM FROM THE FALLS TO SWIM. THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL DROWNINGS AT THE FALLS OF PERSONS WHO WERE CLIMBING ON THE FALLS AND FELL IN AND WERE HELD UNDERWATER AT THE BOTTOM BY THE FORCE OF THE FALLS. You can see how strong the currents are at the falls in this video: YOUTUBE . To get there, cross the bridge and park in a parking area on the right side, with an information sign (there is no sign on the road itself). If the currents are low, you might swim at the Sinks (but not in the falls) themselves: PHOTO , PHOTO . If the currents are high, take the trail downstream (that leaves from the parking area) a short distance, over a hill, and you will find more secluded, slower current, swimming places: PHOTO , PHOTO , PHOTO . LAT, LON: lat=35.66917, lon=-83.66194(source: measured) (accuracy: exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP Verified 4/02. Very confident.

NEXT BRIDGE [NEXT]: (Our name for this place) About 4 miles past (north of) "The Sinks" on Little River Rd (past Metcalf Bottoms picnic area), you cross another bridge so that the river is now on the right. Cross the bridge, park at the gravel pullout on the right, and walk down to the river to a swimming hole. (Next Bridge is just our name for it.) PHOTO 1 , PHOTO 2 . LAT, LON: lat=35.669, lon=-83.626(source: measured) (accuracy: exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP Verified 4/02. Very confident

ELKMONT [ELKM]: About 9 miles past (north of) "The Sinks" on Little River Rd. is the turn off for the Elkmont Campground. This is a nice campground (though perhaps it fills up fast) and a good base to visit many of the places mentioned here. (There is said to be a swimming hole in the river in the campground too - unverified.) For swimming holes, go up this road to near the campground then keep left at a sign that says ".6 miles Little River Trail". Drive to the end of this road and park BUT DO NOT BLOCK THE GATE. Walk past the gate and up the road/trail for about 1.3 miles. The trail will go between two small rocks and about 500 feet after that you will see a fallen white log laying diagonally just off the right side of the trail. You have just passed a steep path down to the river on the left which leads down to a huge, deep swimming hole with beautifully clear water and big rocks to hang out on. PHOTO . The coordinates are pretty accurate for this first spot and may also help you find it as it is hard to see from the trail. (Continue about .5 miles further on this trail and you will come to the Husky Branch Falls swimming hole as shown in this video: YOUTUBE . ) LAT, LON: lat=35.6489, lon=-83.5600 (source: measured) (accuracy:exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP . Very confident. Verified 4/2008. Updated 1/2013.

Going back to The Y, where you entered the Park, and turning south (right) on Laurel Creek Road and going toward Cades Cove, there are swimming places as below: (The traffic at Cades Cove can be very heavy and slow and there is no way to pass anyone; try to go down here in an off-peak time.)

LYNN CAMP [LYNN]: Immediately after you turn south (right) from The Y onto Laurel Creek Road take a left onto Middle Prong Rd. toward Tremont. Drive about 5 miles to the end of this road and park DO NOT BLOCK GATE. Pass the gate and walk about .6 miles up the Middle Prong Trail. Count the log benches as you go and, at the 3rd log bench, go down to the river where there is a falls with nice swimming holes both below and above the falls. PHOTO . LAT, LON: lat=35.6161, lon=-83.6617 (source: measured) (accuracy:exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP . Very confident. Verified 4/2008. Updated 4/2008.

ABRAMS FALLS [ABRA]: This is a major falls with swimming places below (verified) and above (not verified) the falls. It is a very popular place; you will not be alone! YOUTUBE .

NOTE: We received this CAUTIONARY email in 8/2006:"I wanted to mention that swimming at Abrams Falls can be very dangerous and should not be attempted at the falls themselves. We were visiting the Smokies last month and while we were there, a young man drowned because he got too close to the falls and the force of the water drove him under. He got lodged under a overhang and couldn't come back up." SO STAY AWAY FROM THE FALLING WATER HERE!

To get here: go all the way to the west end of Cades Cove. There is parking and signs to Abrams Falls, a 2.5 mile hike each way. (You can hike between Abrams Falls and the Abrams Creek Campground on the Little Bottoms trail, about 5 miles each way, and there are swimming holes along this hiking trail at about half way, at an area called "Little Bottoms". See "SMOKY MOUNTAIN - SOUTH AREA; LITTLE BOTTOMS" swimming hole for more information about this and for directions from Abrams Creek Campground.) PHOTO . LAT, LON:lat=35.60833, lon=-83.87972 (source: Topozone) (accuracy: exact). LINK TO GOOGLE MAP Verified 4/02. Very confident.

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