Visitors have been traveling to the Western North Carolina mountains during the summer months since the 1800s to enjoy the cooler temps and outdoor recreation that the area is known for! With summer officially here and temperatures beginning to rise, find the perfect spot to cool off in one of Jackson County’s many waterfalls, lakes, rivers and more.
A natural swimming choice
If you’ve never experienced a dip in a natural swimming hole, head to Jackson County to experience two of nature’s most refreshing adventures.
A favorite amongst visitors to the area, Silver Run Falls (pictured above) is known for its easy access, sandy beach and picture-perfect falls. It’s also accompanied by a large swimming hole where you can get right up to the falls. It’s a great place to cool off after a long day of hiking around the area or to spend a sunny day. Pack a picnic and enjoy the perfect summer day.
Another popular swimming hole in Jackson County is located at Sliding Rock in Cashiers. Spend time wading and floating in the water or make the short climb up the rock to slide into the pool. While fun for all ages, do take care when visiting with small children.
Down on the river
Flowing through almost all of Jackson County, the Tuckasegee River remains a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With many access points throughout the county, it’s quite easy to reach the river for several activities. Given Jackson County’s reputation for quality fly fishing and being the NC Trout Capital®, the Tuckasegee River is often sought out by anglers.
The Tuck, as it is affectionately known, is also a popular spot for kayaking, paddling and rafting as well. With Class II rapids, the river provides enough of a challenge to make your trip exciting but remains gentle enough for kayakers and floaters of all skill levels. Looking for more of a challenge? During the summer months, the Lake Glenville Dam releases whitewater into the west fork of the Tuckasegee River, creating class IV rapids over a 5.5-mile stretch. This event draws paddlers from all over the Southeast to experience the thrill.
Lounging by the lake
Jackson County is filled with many lakes, several of which are perfect for a day out in the sun. The largest of these, Lake Glenville, offers visitors plenty of action or none at all, depending on your preference. You can rent a boat, kayak or jet ski from Signal Ridge Marina or Lakeshore Marina & Sea-Doo Rentals to spend your day adventuring on the water and exploring all that the lake has to offer – including three beautiful waterfalls right along the lake’s edge!
If you prefer to laze in the sun, you can enjoy the view from shore as you relax on the sandy swim beach. Unlike oceanside beaches, you don’t have to worry about sharks, jellyfish or riptides while working on your tan.
Located in the Roy Taylor National Forest, Balsam Lake is as beautiful as it is serene. For a calmer, quieter getaway, this is the less traveled lake to visit. Accessible trails and fishing piers surround the lake and are perfect for a leisurely hike or to test your fishing luck.
On Bear Creek Lake, set out on a kayak or pontoon boat for a ride to Sols Creek Falls, which is visible to boaters from the water. For those who want to get closer, take a foot trail to the falls. Bear Lake is also known for fishing and swimming, both of which are popular with locals and visitors alike. Bear Creek Lake is part of East Fork Lakes, which also includes Wolf Creek Lake, Cedar Cliff Lake and Tanasee Creek Lake.
Falling for fun
It’s no surprise that Jackson County is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Southeast. In fact, there are dozens of waterfalls, each of which are worthy of a visit. Some are easily reached by a short, quick path, while others are the final destination at the end of a longer, sometimes more challenging hike. Regardless of which you choose, all will be worth the time and effort you spend to get there.
Make your getaway
After relaxing by or in the water all day, enjoy a great meal at our many farm-to-table and open-air restaurants. Indulge in the locally sourced, organically produced selections at City Lights Café in Sylva, which features a dog-friendly outdoor patio. Or you can grab a seat on Cashiers favorite porch at Cornucopia, where you can relax over lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. Likewise, in downtown Dillsboro, take in the fresh air from the streamside patio at Foragers Canteen as you have breakfast, lunch or dinner.
When searching for a cool escape this summer, remember Jackson County features plenty of fun in the sun – or shade, if you prefer. You’ll find a great selection of accommodations throughout the area, whether you want a breathtaking view of the mountains and valleys or something in town that is convenient to all the action. The local temps are cool enough to even enjoy leaving the windows open at night.
To help you plan your own itinerary, order a free Visitors Guide and get started today.