Best Waterfalls in Virginia that You Can Swim In

Waterfall swimming is both invigorating and satisfying. For many years, adventurous travelers have engaged in exceptional activities that could refresh them and make remarkable memories that they will gladly get back to in later years.

Virginia offers a grand selection of refreshing waterfalls swimming adventure.

Virginia’s known character as the destination for water-enthusiasts adventurers. The truth is there are Best Waterfalls in Virginia that You Can Swim In.

But before you go on to your waterfall adventure, you might want to check out some of these useful tips to make sure you are safe as you swim in the waterfall:

Be Aware of White Waters

What are white waters you ask? White water is water mixed with air that causes the water to be less dense. Due to the lack of density in the water, gravity affects it and makes it easier for amateur swimmers to sink in it. So be aware of these white waters, to identify whether or not the water in the waterfall you want to swim in is regular or white water, look for bubbles and foam on the surface of the water. Bubbles and foam identify white water and signifies lost buoyancy. If you fail to spot the signs of white water and start swimming in a pool of it, don’t panic, panicking is only going to make your situation worse, try to calm down and swim against the sinking current and resurface.

Unexpectedly Cold Water

If you find a waterfall that you decide you want to swim in, check the temperature of the water before you cannonball in. If the water is colder than your expected temperature, take a moment first. If you think you can handle the cold and you’re used to it then go ahead, if it’s too cold for you, you might want to look for a different waterfall or come back to the same one on a different day, preferably when it’s hotter. Risking a swim in a cold waterfall pool can be very dangerous. Coldness is a big factor in drowning. Swimming in a cold waterfall pool can cause hypothermia which is quite a common cause of death.

Rocky Bottoms

Before you jump into the first waterfall pool you see, take a moment to inspect it first, especially the bottom. Check if the bottom is rocky, accidentally jumping into a rocky waterfall pool can be fatal for you could hit your head on one of them or hit a different important part of your body. Even if it isn’t your first time swimming or diving in the same pool, check it again because the water level might have changed and become shallower or big rocks might have landed in it and can be dangerous.

A Strong Current

Some waterfall pools are larger than others, the danger with this is that the bigger the waterfall pool, the stronger the current can be. If you’re an amateur swimmer, don’t swim in these large bodies of water alone yet, if you do, you might get swept away by the strong current and be in grave danger. If you’re an experienced swimmer, you still have to be cautious because water currents can be unpredictable, the current might change depending on the weather or climate so you must be aware of these changes. 

If you have all these in mind, then you might just be ready to take on one of the best adventures of your life.

Check out this list of Best Waterfalls in Virginia that You Can Swim In:

Stiles Falls

There is a 2.5 miles round trip hike that you will have to go through when you decide to visit the Stiles Falls. It is not yet a well-known falls around Virginia, which is quite an upside because there will be times when you have the falls just to yourself and your group to enjoy.

This waterfalls is, however, situated within the Alta Mons Summer Camp.

The best time to come here anytime especially when summer camps are not in session. So it will be helpful for you to check in beforehand and ask the management about availabilities. Once in the camp, you would be asked to sign your name into the wooden kiosk.

There are other available amenities in the camp that you can use but you would have to check with the management and ask about fees or other extra requirements for you to enter the camp if you wish to. When summer or winter camp is in session, you could still visit around the weekend.

Falling Spring Falls

This waterfall is right within reach; which means you do not need to go through long hikes before you can enjoy the refreshing water.

Those who have visited Falling Spring Falls remember how the environment around the waterfalls gives a feel of being in a tropical oasis.

Apart from the waterfall itself, there are also some swimming holes at the top of the waterfall. No need to worry about falling into the waterfall because these swimming holes are not that close to the edge of the falls.

Another reason why the Falling Spring Falls is so popular is the camp at Lake Moomaw. If you want to camp in the grounds to enjoy the bright night sky, then this is the perfect destination for you and your friends or your family.

Remember though that when visiting the Falling Springs Falls, the camp is usually full during the weekends.

Cascade Falls

Before you reach the Cascade Falls, you need to go through a 3 miles roundtrip of hiking through the trail.

Groups often hike towards the Cascade Waterfall; perhaps it’s just more fun to go through that long hike along with groups. Students, friends, families, and even company teams pick this destination for a relaxing weekend and for team building as well.

After a long hike, you would reach the gorgeous and deep waterfall. There is also a neighboring waterfall at the Barney’s Wall which gives you a chance to be swept with awe on the grand scenic views in the area.

The best time to visit the Cascade Falls is during the weekdays. The whole area is usually packed during the weekend.

Saint Mary’s Falls

Are you up for a long hike? Going to and going back from Saint Mary’s Falls accounts for at least 4.4 miles of hike.

The great thing about this waterfall is that it is much less crowded than the others included in this list of best waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in.

However, take note of the fact that the trail to the waterfalls is unmarked. This means that it is easy for anyone to be lose off the trail along the way. It is best for you to confirm directions before you attempt to go into the height.

GPS directions might actually help in keeping you in the right path.

Another great factor about this waterfalls is that there are several breweries and wineries around the area.

The Blue Ridge Parkway is also right off the trail making it easier for you to get back to your vehicle whenever you feel like to. This day-long adventure should be planned. It’s best to look for other interesting places in the location to enjoy the time you spend during the hike and have somewhere to relax as you come down after your adventurous waterfall swim.

White Oak Canyon

If you happen to be exploring the Shenandoah National Park and would like to have a splurge in a waterfall swim hole, then you might want to check the White Oak Canyon. There is a total of 2 miles roundtrip hike to the lower falls. An exceptional feature of this swim hole destination is that there is not just one waterfall in the area, but several others that are worthy of a great swim.

Because of the exceptional features of the White Oak Canyon, many people visit the area and could be crowded during the weekends. If you want to enjoy the waterfall swim, you might as well visit during the weekdays.

Here are other tips you might want to remember:

Look for and observe warnings and instructions before you reach your target waterfall:

There are warnings that are usually posted along the way. Make sure to observe them. These warnings are posted for the sake of the visitors’ safety and protection. Sadly, many among those who decide to go to these locations forget to observe the rules properly end up responding to the law enforcers. These policies are not just made by the management; often, they are guided by the basic environmental and public safety rules that are imposed by Virginia’s local government.

Remain within Public Land and Marked Trails

Remember that not every space in the trail towards the waterfalls are public. Entering private spaces will certainly put you in trouble. Often there are marks that will tell you not trespass in some paths.

Even when you are adventurous, you need to avoid the urge when it comes to entering private properties. Visitors of areas in the wilderness often find areas with great views of scenic natural destinations. However, many times, these views are within private properties. Take note to stay aware of the different marks that are posted along the way.

Be Aware of Restricted Areas

Given the length of hike along the road that directs towards the best waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in, it is evident that there will be several areas where policies will be posted. Take note to not climb fences and barriers. There is a reason why they are placed there, and most of the time, there are repercussions to the actions of those who chose to defy these rules.

Stay within the observation platforms

Even when you feel like it is best to go beyond the limits, staying within the observation platforms is safe and wise. They were created for a reason and you could better enjoy your trip if you would stay within your limits.

Be Careful within the Trail and Be Careful Around the Waterfall

Waterfalls trails are often slipper with moss. Be careful and look where you are treading. From rocks to mud to gravel and exposed roots, make sure you avoid everything that may put you in danger.

Avoid leaning on ledges

In the hope of taking great pictures around the area, many visitors in these waterfalls go at the edges, often leaning on unprotected ledges. These are dangerous locations and must be avoided at all times.

Do not dive from one neighboring waterfall to another

Sure you want to have an exceptional adventure but this does not include putting your life in danger. Remember that at times waterfall swimming pools may look deep from above when they are actually shallow. Diving in may endanger you as rocks and moss that may not be visible to you may actually cost your life.

This little fun have caused death among many visitors. Here are some reasons why you must consider these dangers seriously when you choose to swim in waterfalls:

  • There are instances when divers lost their footing because of a slippery base
  • Loose rocks, debris, tree branches, and tree roots often come into the territories surrounding the waterfall. Many have fallen and have lost their lives on waterfall edges because of not giving enough attention to the surrounding spaces.
  • Because of the aerated water that comes from the water falling from
  • It’s harder to swim in aerated water created by water falling into the pool below a waterfall. The lower resistance of this aerated water makes it more difficult to swim and to resurface after jumping.
  • Water currents can force swimmers under the water, ledges around the waterfall, or trap them in or under debris. The power of water can be a deadly force since it will make it harder for you to resurface once you dive down really deep.
  • Bottom current in the waterfall is strong and it can drag you into the deep swimming hole.
  • Not all swimming holes are safe to swim in. Make sure to look for marks that say “safe for swimming”.
  • Polluted waterfalls are dangerous. Make sure to look around and pick areas that are unpolluted for your own safety.
  • Always bring an emergency medical kit especially because of most the ones included in this list of best waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in are far from hospitals and emergency healthcare facilities.
  • Always go with a hiking buddy when you travel towards the waterfall of your choice. With a hiking buddy you are safer. If anything happens, someone will be able to help you or call for help in case serious emergencies occur.
  • Wear proper hiking gear and safe swimming attire especially if the water is too cold to swim in. In some cases wearing a bodysuit may be necessary to keep your body warm and avoid other emergencies from happening.
  • Don’t forget to bring extra clothes for changing as you get back home from your waterfall swimming adventure.
  • Don’t ever get drunk when you go out for a waterfall swim. No matter how romantic you think it is, drinking even a small amount of alcohol can put you in danger.

Key Takeaways

The best waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in will surely give you a great chance to enjoy nature at its best. Nonetheless, when you pick your waterfall swimming destination, make sure you take into account the different policies and rules that surround the areas where you want to visit.

Keeping your safety in mind is important. Enjoying the days of your adventure is best when you can actually finish it alive. Having the right perspective and the right attitude when it comes to safety is critical to having fun.

From the hike to the swimming to going back home, make sure you have someone with you. It is evident that when it comes to engaging in the best adventures of your life, safety in the hands of those who care for you still defines the best experience ever.

Lastly, as you visit the best waterfalls in Virginia that you can swim in, remember to give attention to the laws that surround the area. There are government issued rules that are designed to protect your safety while also protecting the private properties of families and individual who reside in the areas leading to the waterfalls.

When campgrounds are available, it is best to take pleasure on what nature offers. Resting after a great waterfall swimming adventure under the serene night sky is always the best way to conclude an invigorating experience.