From the main parking area, Mouse Branch Loop starts with doubletrack. Head out the main road and continue in a clockwise direction. Mouse Branch Loop may be a little rough in places, but overall it is very similar to the other trails in the area.
This trail is over 8 miles when using the overlook section and ~6 without it. To loop this extra section, stay right on Mouse Branch Loop at the intersection then follow it back around counter clockwise. The overlook is a spectacular view of the lake and surrounding mountains, and very close to the highest point of the Mouse Loop. After snapping some photos, get ready to descend the trail. Take a left again and overlap the same small section of trail you used to pass through the first time. This time at the top of the climb, stay right on the Mouse Branch Loop again.
Following the lakes contours for another 3.5 miles will take you back to the intersection with the entrance road and the Thompson Loop
at Murphy Gap.