Mouse Creek Falls (5-23-15)
Mouse Creek Falls is tucked away in what passes for a quiet corner of the Smokies, the Big Creek access area. Located just inside the North Carolina State line not far off I-40 the Big Creek area is yet another quintessential Smokies valley of stately forests and boulder-choked streams. As 'off the beaten path' as it is, however, this is still Great Smoky Mountains National Park so you're not likely to be alone. Particularly on a warm late spring weekend day like on our visit.
The hike is a fantastic one and one I could highly recommend for anyone. The trail which follows its namesake, Big Creek, up to the falls is wide and rarely more than moderate in steepness. This is partly due to the fact that the trail wasn't originally designed as a trail at all, but a road. Built by the Crestmont Logging Company a century ago, the route along the creek was improved by the CCC in the 1930's with the intent of providing another auto route into the parks interior. Thankfully this never happened and now the Big Creek Trail is a fantastic six-mile multi-use trail. Mouse Creek Falls, just off the trail at the 2-mile mark, provides a wonderful afternoon hike into a deceptively secluded and serene location where Mouse Creek makes its final 30' plunge directly into Big Creek. If anything, this hike proved that enjoying one of the Smoky Mountains scenic wonders doesn't have to be difficult. Come along and see what we discovered...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.751795, -83.110084
Route Type: Out-and-back Difficulty: MODERATE
Mileage Hiked: 4.0 miles Hike Duration: 3:15
Trailhead Temp: 75'F Trail Traffic: 50-100 people
Min. Elevation: 1,750' Max. Elevation: 2,500'
Total Vertical Gain: 750' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 375' (one-way)
Trails Used (blaze color): Big Creek Trail (unblazed)