• Sarah Merrell

Swim and Slay: Swimming Holes Near The Dragon

Summer is almost officially here and with it comes hotter temperatures. Do you curse the heat as you're riding in a full leather suit or jacket? I sure do. Which is why I love riding to swimming holes during the summer. It's the perfect way to enjoy a fun ride and cool off during heat waves. Just throw a swimsuit on underneath your leathers and pack a towel. Luckily, if you're visiting The Dragon, there are lots of fun swimming holes so you can enjoy a "swim and slay". These are some of my favorites.

Indian Boundary

This is my most favorite out of all of the swimming holes, and surprisingly, a lot of people don't know about it. Indian Boundary is a 96-acre lake and recreation are located off the Cherohala Skyway, about 10 miles across the Tennessee side before you get to Tellico Plains. First off, the Cherohala Skyway is an awesome ride with panoramic views and due to the higher elevation, it's also usually cooler there. But the lake is pretty awesome too. It has a beach and is surrounded by mountain views and there are even shelters and bathrooms. So far, it's never been crowded when I've gone. The above photo is from the guided ride that I lead to Indian Boundary for last year's Women's Sportbike Rally. Check out more info on here.

Parson's Branch

It's not exactly a swimming hole since it's not deep enough to swim, but Parson's Branch does provide some nice, cold water to soak your feet and legs in. It's located at mile marker four. Although Parson's Branch road is closed, you can still pull over at the paved pull off in that corner and walk down to the water.

Magazine Branch Boat Ramp

If you're enjoying The Dragon and looking somewhere close by to cool off, Magazine Branch Boat Ramp is a good choice. Just a few miles down The Dragon, past Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort heading south bound towards Tapoco Lodge and Fugitive Dam (technically called Cheoah Dam), is the Magazine. It's shaded by trees and offers a beautiful view of the water. There's a boat ramp to wade in and enjoy the cold, crisp water after a hot day of riding.

Cheoah River Foot Bridge

Also down highway 129, but past Tapoco Lodge, is the Cheoah River Foot Bridge. While this is a cool bridge to see, there's also a nice swimming hole just before the bridge. Lori (Killgurl) and I stopped there while out riding. It's not deep enough to swim, but we sat in the water and it felt fantastic to pull off our riding clothes and cool off.

Tabcat Creek Bridge

My first time ever riding The Dragon (before I even rode my own bike and was riding on the back), my husband and I went for a dip at Tabcat Creek Bridge. Tabcat is basically considered where The Dragon ends, and there's plenty of parking in the giant paved pull off for bikes. It's technically a boat ramp, but it worked just fine to wade into the water and enjoy a respite from the heat.

A Few Tips:

- Although I wear my swimsuit under my leather suit for a little "swim and slay", I still wear my base layers over my suit. Trust me, it's pretty awful trying to take off hot, sweaty leathers without base layers underneath.

- A big beach towel is tough to bring on the bike. I just pack a small micro-fiber towel.

- Don't forget to put sunscreen on! The day Lori and I hung out near the foot bridge, I got a little burned.

Since I've visited all these swimming holes, I'm now exploring new ones. Stay tuned for a part 2!

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