Mouse Creek Falls: Easy Trail, Good Swimming Hole

Mouse Creek Falls stands at 45-feet high, and showcases gentle cascades of mountain water coming down an impressive rock face. It features an easy trail and a nice swimming hole along the way. You’ll be treated to some spectacular views of this natural beauty, so be sure to bring a camera to get some memorable shots.

Mouse Creek Falls

A tranquil waterfall a little off the beaten path

Every waterfall in the Smokies is a unique experience, and many of the most highly-trafficked falls draw throngs of visitors for good reasons. But sometimes it’s good to check out a spot that doesn’t get quite as much attention, and Mouse Creek Falls is an excellent opportunity to see a waterfall just over the border on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains.

A hiking adventure for practically everyone

Mouse Creek Falls is a very accessible waterfall, thanks to the relative ease fo the Big Creek Trail that leads there. The trail is a moderate 4.2 miles in round-trip length, and one of the most interesting things about it is that it follows an old railroad grade which was built as a part of the early 20th logging boom in the mountains, and was used to transport lumber out of the region. The elevation changes are fairly gentle, so you definitely don’t need to be an experienced hiker in order to make it safely to Mouse Creek Falls and back. Don’t be afraid to bring the family, but you should ensure that everyone has appropriate footwear because of the rocky terrain in some parts of the trail. Serious hiking boots aren’t necessary; just bring some solid shoes with good structure—your feet will thank you!

Unique sights of the Smokies

Mouse Creek Falls is a worthy destination all its own, but the journey on Big Creek Trail offers a host of other interesting sights to enjoy on your way to the star attraction. Throughout the trail you’ll be able to see parts of Big Creek flowing alongside you, providing a wonderful aural and visual accompaniment during your trip. Also note that this is one of the prime areas in the park for viewing wildflowers, so you will be in for a colorful treat if you are hiking this trail in the spring or early summer.

Midnight Hole

Near the 1.5 mile mark you will see a deep swimming area known as Midnight Hole. This is a popular spot for a dip, so don’t be surprised to see a lot of people hanging out here when the weather is nice. The crisp mountain water keeps this swimming hole cool even in the warmest months, so wade in if you’re up for it.

To reach Big Creek Trail and Mouse Creek Falls, head into North Carolina on I-40, and take the exit for Waterville Road. The trailhead is only a few miles off the interstate, so if you are staying on the Tennessee side of the Smokies you will have an easy trip back to your cabin.

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For more outdoors adventures in the Smokies, see our Gatlinburg Hiking Trails, and our Smoky Mountains map page. You can find more great outdoor things to do in our Smoky Mountains Activities guide. And for even more tips, see our Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains guide, and especially Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids.

We have cabins all over the area, so pick your vacation headquarters from our Wears Valley cabins, our Pigeon Forge rental cabins and our Gatlinburg cabins – and if you’re bringing a pet, review our lists of pet friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.