Sliding Rock is a 60 foot natural waterslide located within the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina that is fun for all ages.
Sliding Rock is an extremely popular destination in the summer so you will want to use these tips for your first visit.
Gas up before you head into Pisque National Forest
I know that this tip can seem pretty obvious but we were really excited to visit the park and forgot to stop on our way in. We almost had to learn this lesson the hard way when we entered the park with 1/4 of a tank of gas. Thankfully the 2017 Kia Cadenza loaner we were driving got great gas mileage and was forgiving of our wrong turns on the way to additional waterfalls. We made it to a gas station with 14 miles to spare but not without unnecessary stress and bickering.
Admission to Sliding Rock is $2 pp for sliders and observers during peak season and they don’t take credit or debit cards. (Children 6 and under are free)
Stop by the Visitors Center first
The Pisgah National Forest Ranger Station and Visitors Center is located 2 miles within the Bevard entrance. There are over 500,000 acres to explore and you want to make the most out of your visit. Take the opportunity to take a bathroom break, check out the educational exhibits. I also highly recommend talking to the rangers and asking for their input with your interests and time constraints. They are your best resource and they will show you everything on the map which is good because your GPS will be sketchy at best. I’ll be sharing more about the hidden gem he told us about later.
Get to Sliding Rock as early as possible
Peak times are between 12-4 and the parking lot can fill up fast.
Wear something that you don’t mind damaging
Even though the giant rock is smooth, you can still snag your swimsuit or shorts. My younger son’s swim trunks ripped a few days later after his wear and tear.
Wear Water Shoes
You will climb on and over rocks on your way to the Sliding Rock line which will give your first taste of the chilly 50-60 degree temps. ( I don’t like cold water and it’s still totally worth doing) The most challenging part of the natural waterslide is climbing over the rocks at the end back onto the observation deck. I would highly recommend wearing water shoes or sandals with straps.
Pack a bag
Make sure that you bring towels to dry off, sunscreen, a few snacks, and drinks.
Look for nearby parking if the Sliding Rock parking lot is full
Make sure that you are parking in the area that is paved for parking on the side of the road. It took us about 5 minutes to walk into the park. There is not much margin on the side of the road so you will need to walk single file and keep small kids extra close if you choose to park outside of the Sliding Rock parking lot.
Take pictures and video in shifts
If you want to get pictures and video during your slide, I would suggest taking turns so that you can get the footage…unless you have someone in your party who doesn’t want to go. We also brought a waterproof camera for another perspective down the slide. I wanted pictures with my phone but I was not willing to risk losing it so my husband and I took turns going down with our boys while the other took pictures and video. There are two observations areas perfect for filming. My favorite part as an observer was watching the grandparents have a blast going down the rock.
There are lifeguards on duty during the season. The lifeguard at the top will tell you when to go and there are other lifeguards toward the bottom to ensure safety at the bottom. All riders have to go down facing forward, sitting up.Families with younger kids tend to stay closer to the side of the railing for a slower decent and shallower end of the pool. (Children under 7 must slide with an adult and life jackets are the only floatation device permitted) If you want more of a thrill ride, go to the opposite side that ends in 7-8 feet deep water.
You can slide year round during the daytime but lifeguards are only on duty during the peak season from 10-6.
Do not slide during a storm or high water and call the hotline for up to date closure information 828-885-7625.
Don’t leave Pisgah National Forest without stopping to view some of the gorgeous waterfalls along the way. Some of the waterfalls have a longer hike than others so bring a bag and enjoy a swim at the bottom. If you are limited on time, I would ask the Park Ranger for your best options…which leads me to….
A Local Hidden Gem
A Park Ranger and volunteer firefighter told us about Living Waters Ministry. I was told that the ministry is gracious to allow people to enjoy the waterfalls on their property but they do have signs posted stating that it is private property so if you do get injured it’s on you. You also need to park on the side of the road.
If we had more time we would have stayed even longer. There are several waterfalls within a fairly short hike and there is even a very small natural slide. One is located steps away from the road behind the main building.
Check out the Pisgah National Forest website for more information.
Thanks to KIA for providing our roadtrip vehicle, the 2017 Kia Cadenza.
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