Virginia's Best Gay Nude Swimming Holes
By Mike Boisvert
Gay swimming holes is not another term for gay sex outdoors. Such behavior closes these areas down and spoils it for the rest of us. It also gives our community a bad name.
Texas Beach, Northbank Park
This swimming hole is a riverbank beach in Richmond. This is a popular summertime hangout visited mainly by gay men. Vice cops have conducted sting operations here in the past in response to complaints about sex, but their presence seems to have diminished over the past several years.
Directions: Northbank Park is located along the James River south of downtown Richmond, between Robert E. Lee Bridge (US Highway 1) and Boulevard Bridge (State Route 161). If you make your way to the river level from the entrance of this park, you'll reach a secluded and little known sandbar sometimes called Texas Beach (because access is from Texas avenue) Beyond the sandbar is an area of rocks where men often sunbathe in the nude.
Starting from the intersection of South Meadow Street and West Main Street in downtown Richmond, about 1.5 miles west of the state capital. Go south on Meadow, toward the James River, for 1.3 miles to its end, then turn left (east) onto Kansas Avenue and go 4 blocks. Turn right (south) onto Texas Avenue, which will almost immediately end at the entrance to Nortbank Park. Find parking and follow the park walkway across a pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks and then down about 70 steps. Once at river level, go upstream (right when facing water) a few hundred feet to a sandbar and continue to the rocks beyond.
Fall Hole, North Anna River
This swimming hole is a riverbank beach north of Richmond. Skinny-dipping and nude sunbathing are long established at a scenic spot on the North Anna River. Crowds here are small (maybe just you), and sometimes textiles visitors show up to swim or to fish, but apparently nudists and non-nudists co-exist peacefully here.
Directions: The access trail leads to a natural pool on the river commonly called "Fall Hole." There is a small sandy beach area nearby, and just upstream there are large rocks that are great for sunbathing.
Starting from Exit 98 (the Doswell exit) from Interstate 95, about 20 miles north of downtown Richmond. Go west on State Route 30 about 0.5 mile to its terminus, then turn right (north) onto US Highway 1. Proceed 3.2 miles. Immediately after crossing the North Anna River, turn left (west) onto Oxford Road. Go 1.3 miles, turn left (south)onto an unmarked dirt access road. (If you reach Fall Hole Drive, you've gone a little too far). After a few hundred feet, the dirt road will narrow, and there is a small clearing where you can park. A short trail lead to a skinny-dipping hole on the river.
This above two swimming holes was researched with the help of Michael Boyd's book, Naked Places, A Guide for Gay Men to Nude Recreation and Travel.
The following swimming holes are remote and crowds are small (maybe just you), but here are some places to go skinny-dipping with other guys. Maybe by posting this other guys will show up so you can meet up with each other.
Campbell Creek Falls
Campbell Creek cuts a deep gorge of boulders and waterfalls as it drains the northwest corner of of the Three Ridges Wilderness. The highlight of the gorge is the 40-foo Campbell Creek Falls, and the canyon's enchanting nature along with its many cascades and pools is a bonus. Combining the Appalachian Trail with the Mau-Har Trail, this 6.5 mile one-way hike has a net elevation loss of about 1700 feet from Reeds Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Tye River at VA Route 56.
Despite its downhill profile, the steep and rugged terrain descending into and climbing out of the gorge adds some difficulty to an otherwise moderate hike. Start with a 2.6-mile hike along the Appalachian Trail to Harpers Creek, where the water gurgles through the large rocks. One of the highlights is crossing the hand-built swinging bridge over the Tye River in Nelson County. Hikers then begin a moderate climb towards a three-side trail shelter, along the way passing the Mau-Har trail heading up Harpers Creek. The continue another 1.5 miles up the Mau-Har trail will bring you to a 40 foot waterfall on Campbells Creek.
Bring plenty of water [ a minimum of 2 liters], snacks and lunch. Sturdy trail shoes are recommended.
Directions from Route 56 at Crabtree Falls: Take Rt. 56 east approximately 3-4 miles. The AT crosses Rt. 56, a parking lot is available on the left.
This is an out-of-the-way spot tucked away in the Jefferson National Forest near Fort Blackmore, Va. Perfect nude swimming hole for gay men! Start at the circular parking area for the Devil's Fork Loop Trail.
This is a place to be savored, to soak up the region's rich natural beauty and let the stresses of everyday life slip away. The Devil's Fork Loop Trail takes hikers through an old-growth hemlock and rhododendron forest filled with towering rock formations, cascading waterfalls and crystal-clear swimming holes to the main attraction, the Devil's Bathtub, about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. There's plenty to see and do along the way, but you'll want to keep an eye on the trail, which can be pretty rough and rugged in spots, with more than a dozen stream crossings depending on the seasonal water levels. Yellow blazes lead the way.
Arm yourself with plenty of water and snacks (there are no facilities anywhere near the trail), and set out on the western leg of the loop that follows Devil's Fork Creek, which you will cross for the first time about a quarter-mile from the trailhead. The rocks are slippery, so good shoes are a must - just pick a pair you won't mind getting wet. After the crossing, the trail forks; stay left and follow the yellow blazes.
All the ferns and moss-covered stones will make it feel as though you have traveled back in time and are hiking through a prehistoric paradise; a rusty old coal car will be the only reminder that you are actually walking along an old rail bed, where locomotives once hauled coal and logs down from Little Mountain.
The trail gets a little tricky to follow after the sixth creek crossing, where you will have to walk 50 or 60 yards up the dry, boulder-filled creek bed before spotting the yellow blaze on a tree on the right. You will climbing in elevation now.
After about an hour and a half of hiking - and one particularly narrow, steep stretch of trail - you will see one of the most beautiful swimming holes you'll ever see, however Devil's Bathtub is still up ahead. Water cascades down a small fall into a crystal-clear pool around 12 to 15 feet at its deepest. This is another option to take a dip in the icy cold water!
After yet another creek crossing, the 13th, you'll see the sign for Devil's Bathbub.. You'll see the creek plummet down a rock chute and swirl through the tub - a beautiful pool of blue-green water shaped just like a bathtub - before racing downstream. Hang out here to sunbathe and take a dip to cool off.
Head back toward the parking area the same way you came and be sure to pack out your trash with you.
To get to the Devil's Bathtub, take VA-72N to Fort Blackmore. From the intersection of Route 65 and Route 72, follow Route 619 (Big Stony Creek Road) about five miles to the intersection of Route 619 and Route 657. Go left on Route 619 (High Knob SC) over a small bridge; continue on Route 619 for about another 0.4 miles, then turn left onto a narrow gravel road beside an an old, abandoned white house. Follow this very rutted gravel road for about another half-mile, keeping right when the road forks. The road dead ends at a circular parking area; from there, take the wooden stairs to your right, out of the parking area and onto the Devil''s Fork Loop Trail.
This is a small waterfall small waterfall nestled between Brushy and Flat Top Mountain.. It's a welcome sight on hot day. Dismal Falls is roughly 15 feet high and with the muddy buttom it is perfect for jumping off. If your looking for a quick hike to a swimming hole and a place to relax then this is the for you. However, do not expect to be alone at this swimming hole. If gay men claim it first, then it's yours for the day! There is an access road only 20 yards from the falls. In the heat of the summer it's a great place to cool off and it's clean.
Directions: From I-81 near Pulaski, Exit 98, take RT 100 north. Go 11.5 miles then left on RT 42. Go about 10 miles then turn right on RT 606. In 1 miles, turn right on RT 671 (FR 201). The pavement ends in about .5 miles then go another .5 miles to the wide place in the road (brown trash bins on the right) where there is parking for a limited number of cars. The (short) path to the Falls of Dismal begins here. There is a wooden sign set back in the trees saying "Dismal Falls". There is a pool under the upper falls big enough to swim.
Little Stony Falls
If you're looking for an easy trip, the Little Stony National Recreation Trail in Jefferson National Forest is the perfect alternative to the nearby Devil's Bathtub swimming hole. Devils Fork Loop is gorgeous, but it includes a strenuous and often wet climb. Little Stony, on the other hand, offers similarly beautiful views within a mere 2.8 miles, and its footbridges save you from cold, slippery water crossings. You can also take breaks from the trail's 600-foot ascent by resting at the bridges high above the rushing currents and below the hemlock canopy.
Starting at Hanging Rock Picnic Area, follow the yellow blazes marking the trail, which snakes along Little Stony Creek. The trail is rather narrow in areas where it climbs in elevation and travels over boulders, and the slope is steep for a rail-trail, but the exhilarating views are worth every step. Within a half-mile of the northern trailhead, you will find a viewing platform across from a 40-foot waterfall.
Continue uphill to find two more impressive waterfalls. Several hundred feet beyond these, you will arrive at the Little Stony Falls parking area, where the 16-mile Chief Benge Scout Trail picks up from Forest Road 701.
Directions: To access the Hanging Rock Picnic Area from US Alternative Hwy. 58, head south on State Route 72 near Coeburn. Travel for approximately 7 miles to the Hanging Rock Picnic Area. A sign marks the trailhead.
The upper trailhead, north of Hanging Rock, is a bit more complicated to find. Fortunately, the forest roads that you need to take are peppered with signs to Little Stony Falls. From the junction of SR 72 south and US Alternative Hwy. 58, travel south on SR 72 to the minor SR 664. Go west on SR 664 for about 1 mile to Forest Road 700. From there, follow signs to Little Stony Falls.
Fridely Gap Hole
Forget about cliff jumps and natural waterslides. At Fridley Gap, you’ll find something that’s even more rare: solitude and tranquility. The small plunge pool is situated at the base of a tiny cascade, all of which is surrounded by medium sized boulders and smaller rocks. The swimming hole isn’t going to make the cover of a magazine, but it’s cold, refreshing, and stuck in the middle of the Massanutten trail system, some of the best hiking in the George Washington National Forest. The pool is typically six feet deep and three times as wide, with crystal clear water that would probably be a hot spot for trout if you weren’t splashing around. The fastest hike to the swimming hole is to pick up Fridley Gap trail from the parking area at the end of Airey Lane. In less than a mile, you’ll find yourself at the swimming hole. But you’d be remiss if you didn’t take the time to explore the trail system that branches off of Massanutten South Trail while you’re in the area.
Directions: From Shenandoah take Route 602 for four miles and turn on Runckles Gap Road. Drive two miles to Cub Run Road. Drive 1.5 miles on this gravel forest road to Fridley Gap Trailhead.
Aprox 5 miles North of Victoria on Hwy 49 is the Nottoway falls located on the Nottoway River. A man made fishing reservoir/lake and water supply for the Town of Victoria. On the east side of the dam under the bridge are foot paths along the river that take you to natural falls. Large beautiful rock structures, natural water falls and nature await you. Once you walk all the way to end, you have probably descended a few hundred feet below the man made fall. Great sunbathing on the large rocks. .
Directions: From Petersburg, go west on RT 460 for about 40 miles to Crewe. In Crewe, take RT 49 south and go about nine miles to a bridge over the Nottoway RIver (look downstream to see the top of the falls). Continue about 1/4 mile and turn west (right) on an unpaved road to the river. Park in the parking area and walk downstream to the path leading to the falls. The swimming place is in the falls or at the bottom.
One of Shenandoah National Park's most popular destinations is Whiteoak Canyon and its six waterfalls, with heights from 35 to 86 feet. There are swimming holes at the bottom of each waterfall, but do not expect much privacy because they are quite popular. The adventurous, physically fit hikers can take the steep hike to the Upper Falls, Whiteoak's highest waterfall. This is where you'll most likely be able to do some nude sunbathing and swimming.
Start on a gentle grade downhill on the White Oak Canyon Trail and cross the Limberlost Trail in 0.3 miles. Continue downhill and re-crossing the Limberlost Trail and coming to the first footbridge footbridge in another 0.3 miles.
White Oak Run is now off to your left. As you get closer to the main falls, 1.0 miles after crossing the footbridge, White Oak Road will come in from your right.
Turn left over the footbridge and continue downhill for another 200 yards to arrive at the best waterfall overlook in the park, Keep hiking up and you'll find some secluded areas for nude sunbathing and swimming.
Click Here For Trail Map and Directions
Rip Rap Hollow
Riprap Hollow is very scenic, and has a 50ft wide swimming hole fed by a mountain spring.
From the Ripwrap parking area walk the 50 yards along the blue blazed trail to the intersection of the white blazed Appalachian Trail. Turn right uphill on the white blazed trail for 0.4 miles to the intersection of the Riprap Trail.
Turn left on the blue blazed Riprap Trail as it descends through a hollow on the ridge before climbing and arriving at the first vista poing in 0.7 miles. In another 0.3 miles reach the second vista and Chimney Rock. From Chimney Rock the trail will begin to descend into Cold Springs Hollow. In 1.7 miles from Chimney Rock the spring fed stream that has come in on the left of Riprap Trail you'll start seeing the carved rock swimming holes. All told, it is 8-9 miles round trip to go down and back. so it's a full day.
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