With temperatures that often rise into the 80s and 90s accompanied by 90 percent humidity levels, the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg water holes offer a pleasant retreat during the hot summer months. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a great place to start when looking for the perfect spot for a refreshing dip.
From Gatlinburg, drive north on US-441 for about 8.4 miles and turn onto the Wears Valley Road. Drive for another 12 miles until reaching the TN-73 and turn left. At the intersection of the Little River and Laurel Creek roads, take the Laurel Creek road to the Cades Cove Loop Road. The 2.5-mile Abrams Falls trail lies here. Named for a Cherokee chief who once had a village in the area, the scenic site remains worthy of a photograph. Here visitors encounter a stunning 20-foot cascading falls that flow into an immense 100-foot swimming hole. For safety’s sake, do not swim near the falls at this Gatlinburg water spot.
Venture north on highway 321 from downtown Gatlinburg until you come to the Conley R. Huskey Bridge. Turn right before the structure. On the right side of the road, stands a sign displaying “Great Smoky Mountains, Greenbrier entrance.” The scenic route follows the Little Pigeon River. Along the way are various parking areas featuring Gatlinburg water holes.
Metcalf Bottoms Swimming Area
Drive along US-441 into the park and to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Make a right turn onto the Little River Road. Six miles further, visitors find the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. The Little Greenbrier River forms a variety of shallow swimming spots in this location.
The Townsend Y Swimming Area
Leave Gatlinburg on the US-441 heading north and drive for around 8.4 miles. Turn left onto the Wears Valley Road and journey another 12 miles. Make a left onto TN-73 and head toward the Little River and Laurel Creek intersection. The Little River and the middle prong of the river form the Y, which attracts visitors of all ages. Swim, sunbathe and enjoy a picnic at this Gatlinburg water hole.
Also known as the Douglas Reservoir, the lake lies at the foothills of the majestic mountains. Located approximately 20 miles from Pigeon Forge, the dam area offers a swimming beach and various secluded coves that provide a bit of privacy.