Boy, oh boy, is summer heating up. The Northeast is melting, the Midwest is sweltering, and the Southwest may as well be inside an oven. Things are not quite that bad in our neck of the woods, but the heat and humidity are definitely taking their toll, not only on our sweat soaked shirts, but also on our collective psyche. Oppressive summer warmth tends to boil the brains of the living into an irrational, easily irritated soup of bad vibes. If there ever actually is a zombie apocalypse, I’m betting it will be caused not by a virus, but by an increasing heat index (or, if you wanted to extend the thought: GLOBAL WARMING CAUSES ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!). But I digress.

The only way to stop the coming brain-eating day of reckoning is to cool off, literally. It’s time to grab the kids, your honey, your dog, and head for the high country and all the crisp, refreshing, natural swimming holes they offer. The best way to access the best, and coldest, swimming holes is the Blue Ridge Parkway, because more elevation means cooler water. One of our favorites off the BRP in North Carolina is at milepost 417 and the Looking Glass Overlook: Skinny Dip Falls.

There is a lot to love about Skinny Dip Falls: it’s easily accessed via a short hike, the water is always ice cold – even in July and August, and there is a great rock to jump off. Despite its name, Skinny Dip Falls is no nudist sanctuary, so keep those drawers on until you get home. You may only be able to stay in the chilly water for a few minutes, but it will be worth it: think about how many brains you will save from getting eaten.

Directions to Skinny Dip Falls:

The short half-mile trail to the falls is directly across the Blue Ridge Parkway from the Looking Glass Overlook at milepost 417. Follow the obvious trail until you hit the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and take a left to the falls.


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