Sliding Rock – Pisgah Forest, North Carolina - Atlas Obscura

Sliding Rock

Pisgah Forest, North Carolina

Who needs fancy modern water slides when this giant North Carolina rock works just as well? 


Hidden away in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest is a waterfall you can actually ride down. Thanks to erosion and a gentle grade, Sliding Rock, nature’s water slide, is a perfect place to enjoy nature and have some summer fun.

Elaborate water parks and resorts bend over backwards to try and find fun ways to send people down ever more elaborate slides. But looking at the sliding rock that was so effortlessly created by simple natural processes, it really makes them seem like they are trying a bit too hard. The 60-foot slide is actually a waterfall with an really gentle grade, however locals have been using the rock as a spot to cool off and have a little fun. 11,000 gallons of water rush over the stone every minute, taking countless gleeful visitors with them each summer.

The ride ends in a 6-7 foot natural pool. The constantly roiling basin itself a creation of the cascading creek. Looking Glass Creek that feeds the waterfall continues on from there.  

The natural slide may have been a well-kept secret at some point, but it is now a well known recreation spot for locals, and is often crowded. There are a pair of scenic viewpoints built around the site, as well as on duty lifeguards most of the time, so the natural spot is increasingly becoming more like it’s overcompensating companions.  

Know Before You Go

The water is quite cold, even in the summer. Bring a towel and something dry to help you warm up after sliding. If Sliding Rock is too busy, take a quick drive over to Looking Glass Falls, which has a large swimmable basin at the bottom.

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