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A scenic 6.5 mile trail along the beautiful Big Creek, leading to the Mt. Sterling fire tower.


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Map Key

5.9

Miles

9.5

KM

97%

Runnable

3,098' 944 m

High

1,740' 530 m

Low

1,358' 414 m

Up

0' 0 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

9%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

All campsites must be registered with the Great Smokey National Park, which can be done here.

Description

Beginning at the Big Creek campground, follow the sign to the Big Creek trailhead. Roughly 1.5 miles in, visitors can find the Midnight Hole Falls and the Mouse Creek Falls at 2 miles.

This is ideal for those looking for a short journey with a nice view of the falls. The trail is a steady ascent, but the grade is not terribly strenuous and is remarkably consistent. You won't have to worry about many obstacles while on trail, so take your time to appreciate your surroundings.

It's 5.1 miles from the campground to Walnut Bottom (Campsite 37), with a moderate elevation gain. At the campsite, there is ample room for tents and hammocks and there's a water source in close proximity. Multiple fire pits can be found at the campsite and there is usually a decent supply of firewood in the surrounding area.

Flora & Fauna

As with any trail in the Smokies, you might see black bears. There are abundant salamanders (31 different species) in the creeks. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May along the entire route, with some later blooms at the higher elevations.

For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage.

Contacts

Shared By:

Max Willner

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 11 votes

#3

in Big Creek

#8271

Overall
  4.1 from 11 votes
5 Star
27%
4 Star
55%
3 Star
18%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#3

in Big Creek

#284

in North Carolina

#8,271

Overall
18 Views Last Month
6,893 Since Sep 4, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Mouse Creek Falls © Ryan Jones
Jan 16, 2016 near Cove Creek, NC
Midnight Hole © Ryan Jones
Jan 16, 2016 near Cove Creek, NC
Mouse Creek Falls
Jul 28, 2015 near Cove Creek, NC
Walnut Bottom (Campsite 37)
Nov 3, 2015 near Cove Creek, NC
Standing on the bridge. Easy hike.
Feb 18, 2018 near Cove Creek, NC
One of the 31 species of salamanders found in the Great Smokey Mountains.
Nov 3, 2015 near Cove Creek, NC

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Aug 8, 2019
Rich M
Beatiful trail
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