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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
4.20 mi (6.76 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Located on the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains, the Big Creek Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a perfect destination for families, day hikers, and backpackers. The trail follows Big Creek past swimming holes and a waterfall, all while being surrounded by a rich forest that is filled with history. Long before the area was logged in the 19th century, the area was also explored Native Americans, herders, pioneers and even soldiers of the Civil War. In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp covered the old railroad grade and converted it to the trail that we know now for hiking.

On the hike, you'll walk underneath maples, hemlocks and tulip trees. In the spring, Smoky Mountain wildflowers line the trail. Trillium, Solomon's seal, spring beauty, robin's plantain, crested dwarf iris, blue phlox, and wild geranium are just a few of the flowers that you'll spot as you make your way up to Mouse Creek Falls. As you climb above the river and along the trail, you'll immediately notice large boulders and impressive geological features. If the weather is warm enough, stop by the Midnight Hole for a dip and cool off in one of the Smoky Mountain's most popular swimming holes. At the Midnight Hole you'll find a deep, green pristine pool, at the base of a 6-foot drop and surrounded by rhododendrons.

At mile 2 on the Big Creek Trail you'll reach a side trail to your left. This side trail will take you to Mouse Creek Falls, a 45-foot waterfall that runs into Big Creek. This is a perfect spot for a relaxing break, picnic, and photo op of your trip in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After your time at Mouse Creek Falls you have the option of returning to the parking area or exploring past the waterfall. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Waterfall. Swimming hole. Wildflowers and impressive geological features.

Cons

Horse trail. Large summer crowds.

Trailhead Elevation

1,750.00 ft (533.40 m)

Net Elevation Gain

605.00 ft (184.40 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Wildflowers
Fishing

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Horseback

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Comments

08/19/2018
Amazing and beautiful hike, I ran (the trail is easy enough to run) to the Mouse Falls and it was amazing though the water is moving much to fast to swim there unless you are quite a strong swimmer. On the way back I stopped at the Midnight pool and it was as much of a sensation as the falls. The water at the pool is moving much slower and my 10 year old sister was able to swim though it was a challenge. Also something to note was that I went in August and even then the water was very cold. Overall a gorgeous place
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