Swimming in Elk River Falls


Hi all and happy Monday! So I just got back from the BEST birthday weekend ever down in the Roan Highlands State Park area (at the border of NC/TN). Dee and I swam in Elk River Falls, backpacked in the Roan Highlands and then finished the trip off by driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway and doing a little hike. This first post is obviously about our first destination- Elk River Falls. This waterfall was located a few miles down the road from our hostel in Tennessee, Mountain Harbor Hostel, so I thought we'd stop at the falls for a nice relaxing swim before we started off on our backpacking trip. The hike down to the falls is easy and short. From the parking area you follow the sign that says "Elk River Falls" with an arrow pointing at some wooden steps and in no less than 5 minutes you'll be a the base of this powerful, beautiful waterfall. We laid on the rocks to warm up for a few minutes before braving the freezing water. I would swim for a few minutes against the current (it was so strong) before floating on my back and letting the water bring me back to that big rock. We stayed at the waterfall for about an hour before heading to the hostel where I took a quick shower before we were shuttled out to Carvers Gap in Roan Highland State Park to begin backpacking.

This waterfall is perfect for all ages. While we were there we saw a few young families who came down and swam with their children below the falls (I didn't take any pictures but theres a few smaller cascades that create some shallow, gentle swimming holes), and there were elderly people as well! I apologize for the lack of picture diversity- we took some pictures when we first got there but I put my camera away once I started swimming. The coordinates for the parking lot are 36.197343, -81.970124. If you're planning on staying at Mountain Harbor Hostel and shuttling to Carvers Gap to do the backpacking trip I highly recommend working in this waterfall on the back end of the trip. It would be the perfect place to take a dip after a backpacking trip.

Over the next few days I'll be posting some pictures from our backpacking trip as well as some pictures from our hike on Rough Ridge Trail off the BRP!

I hope everyone has an amazing week :)