Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 4.2 miles round trip
Highlights: gorgeous creek views, Midnight Hole, Mouse Creek Falls, history
If you’re on the North Carolina side of the Smokies, the hike to Mouse Creek Falls is short, but sweet, and has something to offer year-round. In the summer, this trail offers plenty of opportunities for cooling off in the Big Creek, and you can even take a dip in the Midnight Hole, a pool that is about 1.5 miles in and sits under a pristine, six-foot waterfall. You might even find yourself swimming next to a trout or two.
There are blooming wildflowers in the spring, and vibrant hues in the fall. It gets quieter and much less crowded—yet equally as gorgeous—in the winter. Mouse Creek Falls in particular is breathtaking at all times of the year, but especially on the coldest of winter days when the water is turquoise and ice forms on the edges. So, don’t let the frigid temps keep you inside this year—bundle up and hike out to see Mouse Creek Falls!