Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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Thanks for Sticking With Me - Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole

Monday August 13, 2018                                                Most Recent Posts
Great Smoky Mountains National Park                           Hiking a Trail Under Construction-Rainbow Falls
Tennessee                                                                      Off Road, Off Trail and Bears in the Trees

Many thanks to those of you sticking with me through all the waterfalls including Sue who commented that the trails all look alike.  Of course they don’t look that way to me but I can see how others might find constant posts about waterfalls tedious.  I intended to hike to as many as I could in my two months here and I’m sticking to it.  I love being out here and am sorry I am heading for the home stretch at this point.  It won’t take me two months to do all the ones that have known trails to them.   They are each so unique and beautiful.  I want to remember every one.

IMG_1216I seem to have left the longest drives for my last two weeks here.  Today I take another one, this time to the Big Creek Trailhead which is not terribly far from I-40 and the Tennessee/North Carolina Line that runs through the park.  

It takes me nearly 2 hours, longer than planned, as I had trouble following the detailed directions over curvy mountain roads in order to avoid going out of my way and spend more time on the interstate.   I don’t like interstates and have been putting this hike off because of that. 

But after I got lost twice on my way to the interstate,  I take a short piece of I-40 and find myself in the middle of no where at what looks like a very lightly used entrance to the park though that’s probably an illusion since it is so close to I-40 and thus to many conjested places near by. 

Though the trailhead has a Chataloochee address and I’d hoped to be able to visit the Chataloochee Valley, I find the valley is actually quite a distance  way since there is no way from here to there through the park.  Same problem I had getting here today.


I left at 7am but don’t arrive here until 8:45,  so I’m clearly not the first one on the trail   I’m here to hike the Big Creek Trail up to Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls.  Where do they get these names?  Mouse Creek, Hen Wallow.  

Big Creek looking bigger than a creek to me , is beautiful and running fast. This trail like many others in the park follows an old railroad grade.   The Crestmont Lumber Company built the rail in the early 1900s.  It was turned into a trail in the 1930’s by the CCC.  Because of the heavy logging both before and at the beginning of the creation of the park, the woods are second growth of perhaps 80 years now.


The trail proved muddier than others I’ve been on in the park.  Given all the rain, the mud is not surprising.


The creek sings along beside the trail for most of the way.



When I arrive at what is a very popular swimming spot known as Midnight Hole, two guys are here.  I just hang around until they leave.  We chat some but at this distance from the hike, I don’t remember anything about them, only about the place itself.


In not too long, I have this lovely spot all to myself which is amazing when I see the huge number of people who are here by the time I return back down the trail.   The high is predicted to be 83 today but this mountain stream water is way too cold for me to be interested in swimming.  No pictures of the crowds.  This is how I want to remember Midnight Hole.

Really does look like fun though being able to swim right up to these little falls.



Once you get through the beginning climb, the trail is a very gentle grade.  This would be an excellent trail to bring young children on.  Wish Celia were here.



The two young men are at Mouse Creek Falls when I arrive.  Then two more people show up.  Then a group of about 10.   I climb down to the big rocks at the river’s edge and scramble all around taking pictures from every angle.   It’s a really wonderful waterfall.


Look up stream from a boulder in Deep Creek at the foot of the falls.


The 45 foot waterfall emerges from the dense forest on the far side of Big Creek and tumbles over sever tiers of rock before crashing into Big Creek.



Little by little everyone leaves and I have some time alone at the falls before another 2 show up.  At about 11:20 I start back down.  

Here’s one of several videos I took while I was enjoying the falls.  The sounds are so much a part of the wonder


Mouse Creek Falls and Blue Hole are among the prettiest spots I’ve seen in the park and I really wish I’d been here earlier in the day.  “Next time” I’ll plan my trip to the park better so I can stay at the campgrounds in different sections of the park and visit all the things I want to see that are nearby.  With this campground in particular,  I can visit these spots often and easily.  But that means making reservations probably six months in advance which I wasn’t able to do this time.

Deep Creek looking downstream from the foot of Mouse Creek Falls.


I pass a number of people on my way back down the trail but these are the only two on horseback.


What a beautiful waterway!


Other than the horses, this was the only wildlife of this great day.


It’s about noon when I reach the car so I’m not surprised to find the parking lot nearly full on this mid August day. 

Even though the drive here and back took as many hours to do as the hike did, I’m not at all sorry that I came.  I would not have wanted to miss these two lovely spots.  They are ones I would return to again and again if I lived nearer.


  1. Good for you for sticking with it, Sherry. I know we love readers and comments, but in the end it is to remember what we did and when, right? And no, I didn't find the posts tedious, but I could no way tell one from the other without being there in person. I would bet without your blog, over time, the memories might even get mixed up for you, and you were there! Kudos for managing all those hikes and for sticking with the blogging process. Actually, the hikes aren't tedious, but as I know from experience, recreating it all on the blog can get a bit tiresome sometimes.

  2. The video particularly brings that waterfall to life. Lovely!

  3. You found a GEM!!! The water shots are wonderful!!! These posts will be very special when our time comes to do armchair hiking;-))

  4. Nice area to explore, enjoyed the pics and video. Doubt I could stand the 83 degrees though. Happy Halloween!

  5. You sure have found some beautiful waterfalls this season. And the watch the videos and hear the sounds make it that much more real for the readers. Thank You

  6. Good for you for sticking to it! I've always said that blogging is for myself, not necessarily readers. I still love going back and reading what I did last year at this time, and beyond. Nice hike and waterfalls once again!

  7. A goal to see as many waterfalls as possible is a worthy goal. :) Although it's a lot of work to create such a detailed post, there's also the joy of walking those trails again in your memory as you write the post. Mouse Creek Falls is lovely. Did you dip your feet into Midnight Hole? I always enjoy taking off my hiking boots and soaking my feet in cold water on a hot day.

  8. Maybe I should think about applying to Smokey as it sure likes like endless opportunities to hike and listen to the lovely flow of water. Which I haven't gotten tired of listening to yet.

  9. Little bit of a late start for you and a LONG drive to get there, but it seems to have worked well for a nice private viewing of the beautiful Mouse Creek Falls & Midnight Hole. And to add to the fun Deep Creek and Big creek - my what a day! I have always thought the names were old and known to locals who had lived there long enough to have learned them from the "old timers".

  10. Don't worry about me, I'm sticking with ya, there won't ever be enough waterfalls to wash me away from reading about your hikes! :c)

  11. Water, rocks, trees - the hikes ARE all the same. And so very, very different! We often comment as we drive from state to state that the subtle differences in forests is something we're sure we never would have noticed in earlier, working years. Now, they're what make our travels so unique and wonderful. The amount of water you've seen in these full creeks and falls is really special. Mouse Falls is really spectacular - I love all those giant boulders that give it such diversity. The beautiful waterway pic is magical!

  12. Your selfies show how satisfying these hikes are to you . . . and that is all that is important !!! ;->

    Virtual hugs,


  13. The times we have visited that area, the expresson "you can't get there from here" was pretty common:))

  14. I've enjoyed the waterfall hikes as we haven't seen many of them in the last few years.

  15. When we were there for just a week I wanted to hike it all! but now thanks to you Sherry, you have hiked and showed us what we are all missing, waterfalls or just a simple hike. You are a prolific writer and you enjoyed what you do as long as you enjoyed it. But then again we blog for our own keepsake.

  16. Gorgeous!! Those falls are really beautiful. I love how the one literally does fall out of the forest. Being a water lover myself, I enjoy all your waterfall posts and admire your goal to experience them all. These blogs capture your journey wonderfully. I'm with you all the way (even if I am very behind in reading) :)


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