The ‘Ole Swim’n Hole
For years I’d heard mention of a nearby spot where kids loved to swim and dive – this is it. Locally known as Trash Can Falls, it’s officially Laurel Creek Falls. The falls aren’t the star of the show here, it’s the hidden setting and opportunity to jump and play. We just enjoyed watching.
Students from nearby Appalachian State University mingle with local kids to scramble around the boulders and test the waters with jumps ranging from heights of 10-30 feet. The unmarked setting gives the spot a hidden waterhole atmosphere and you can just imagine Huck Finn stopping off for a swim. The river is a beautiful spot and we thought one smart couple had a great idea to hang their hammock between the trees along the shady bank.
Someone, likely unofficial, has placed a metal grate between the rocks to facilitate movement over a chasm.
One local student told me it was called Trash Can Falls because of its cylindrical shape, but further research explains that in years past a former recycle/dumpster site (called a “Convenience Center” in North Carolina), used to be the landmark for the trailhead. Today it’s hard to find.
From Boone, NC, head towards Tennessee on Hwy 421 and hang a left on Highway 321. After a few miles, just past a concrete bridge, you will see a small gravel parking area on your right (a sign for Laurel Creek Road is on your left). Park here, cross the street and enter the woods. In just minutes you’re there.