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Swimming the Smokies

Townsend Wye

The Townsend Wye is a popular spot for playing and wading in the creek, but caution must be exercised.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park does not recommend swimming in the streams.  Visitors can explore at their own risk. 

Stay away from fast currents and areas under waterfalls. Do not climb to the top of waterfalls. Deaths have occurred doing this. Cold mountain streams provide an increased risk of hypothermia, if you fall in. 

Do not dive and take chances on getting a head injury.  Severe injuries and deaths occur each year in the park by guests trying to explore rough and dangerous waters. 

If you do get in a situation where you are being swept away by a fast current, try and float on your back, going with the flow.  When you drag your feet, you risk getting them caught under something and having the force of the water shove you downward.

To be safe, only wade in very shallow pools with little if any current and no large rocks. Large rocks are extremely slippery.  The Townsend Wye (pictured above) is a popular place to wade into a stream.  However, you must watch the weather and be aware of flash flooding risks. Rivers and streams may rise quickly without notice, even if it's not raining where you are.

Try sticking with local area tubing services and the routes they provide.  If swimming in natural surroundings isn't your thing, you can take a journey to a Smoky Mountain Waterpark (listed below) or enjoy the pool and hot tub at your local hotel or cabin.

Whatever you do, don't be stupid.  Think smart! 

For more swimming information in the park, visit this link.

You can check out some of the Smoky Mountain area waterparks if you need a water fix!