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Big Creek Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 4.1 (11)

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

Point to Point

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

#7892

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

#250

in North Carolina

#7,892

Overall
28 Views Last Month
6,890 Since Sep 4, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

31%
38%
23%
0%
8%
0%

Photos

Midnight Hole © Ryan Jones
Jan 16, 2016 near Cove Creek, NC
Mouse Creek Falls © 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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 30 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jun 12, 2022
Bethany Girtler
First hike on vacation. Hiked 2.0 miles in and back. Stopped and the kids went in the water at the swimming hole on the way back. Water was cold! 4mi — 8h 00m
Oct 3, 2021
Alexey Makarov
Jun 4, 2021
Karen Quilliams
May 30, 2021
Laura Bowshier
4.5mi — 2h 15m
Sep 12, 2020
Private User
Aug 8, 2020
Dude Duder
Mar 11, 2020
Mason Smith
Hiked to Midnight Hole Falls. Nate & Crew
Jan 9, 2020
Shawnee Reller
4.2mi — 11h 30m