Beat the heat in Polk County

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It’s the height of summer here in Polk County, and it’s been a hot one. With the forecast showing temps in the 90s for the next week, what better time to head out to a local swimming hole and cool off? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Green River has a variety of recreational options to choose from. Tubing is a fun and cheap activity for all ages. Rental tubes and shuttle services are available from outfitters such as Wilderness Cove Tubing, Green River Cove Tubing, and Silver Creek Tubing. Trips range from 1-5 hours and cost $7-$14 depending on length. Silver Creek also offers a campground with a pool, mini-golf, and a pond where you can canoe and fish. You can camp at Wilderness Cove as well. Be aware the river water levels are based on Duke Power’s dam release schedule. Be sure to call before you head out to make sure the water level is high enough for an enjoyable trip!

Kayaking is also available on the Green River. Own your own kayak? Check out “Kayaking Made Easy” by Dennis Stuhaug, an illustrated handbook for beginners and seasoned paddlers. “Carolina Whitewater” by Bob and David Benner provides a detailed guide to kayaking the Green and other rivers in the Western Carolinas.

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Those without their own kayaks can take a guided trip with Green River Adventures. Float down the Lower Green in an inflatable kayak through class 1-2 rapids or take your whitewater adventure to the next level on an exciting trip down the Upper Green, a four-mile section of class 3-4 rapids. Green River Adventures also offers waterfall treks and rappels.

Little Bradley is an easy hike (1.4 miles round-trip) that leads to a beautiful swimming hole under the falls. Pack a picnic and make a day of it! Get directions in the book “Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina” by Melissa Watson. You can’t swim at Pearson’s Falls but if you happen to visit, take a short drive down Pearson’s Falls Road and find a spot to dip your toes into the Pacolet River. Kids also love to wade in the Pacolet behind Harmon Field in Tryon.

Polk County Parks & Recreation opens Gibson Pool in Columbus to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 12-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. for $3 per person. Lap swims are available in the morning for $1.50.

Have your kids signed up for the Summer Reading Program at Polk County Public Library yet? It’s not too late! The first 60 kids and teens (up to rising 12th graders) who record 10 hours on their reading logs this summer get two tickets to a private pool party at Gibson Pool on August 10.

When you’re out in nature this summer, make sure to stay safe! Wear sunscreen, stay hydrated, and be aware of your surroundings. And if you’d rather stay inside in the air conditioning, both the Columbus and Saluda libraries offer cozy nooks for reading and free Wi-Fi for playing PokemonGo!

Jen Pace Dickenson is the Youth Services Librarian at Polk County Public Library. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.