Trail: Mouse Creek Falls via Big Creek Trail
Type: Out & Back
Surface: Old Railroad Bed
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Foot Traffic: Not Crowded
Restrooms: Big Creek Campground (backcountry regulations)
Highlights: Waterfalls, Streams, Historical
Mouse Creek Falls via Big Creek Trail Trailhead
Access to Mouse Creek Falls is via Big Creek Trail about 7.0 miles from Hartford, TN.
From Hartford, TN: Take I-40 East to Waterville Road (Exit 451). Turn left on Waterville Drive and go about 2.0 miles until you reach Mt. Sterling Road. Cross over the intersection and proceed down Big Creek Park Road. After passing the Big Creek Ranger Station and the Big Creek Horse Camp, you will approach the campground. The trailhead is located near the entrance to Big Creek Campground on the right.
Mouse Creek Falls via Big Creek Trail Description
In the early 1900’s, logging railroads snaked through the mountains. Up to 60% of the trees in the mountains disappeared as loggers clear-cut the area for lumber. With the establishment of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, logging ended and the Civilian Conservation Corps moved in to begin rehabilitating the natural environment.
One aspect of the work the Civilian Conservation Corps performed was to convert railroad beds into trails. Big Creek Trail is one of the old railroad beds they transformed into a hiking trail.
The trail surface is packed dirt with gravel and some roots. A slight increase in elevation contributes to the moderate rating.
Mouse Creek Falls is 2.0 miles from the trailhead. On the way, the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep collection pool below a small 6 feet tall waterfall.
Midnight Hole Falls | Big Creek Trail | Photo: Alex Ford
Upon arriving at Mouse Creek Falls, hikers can enjoy the view from a bench positioned down a short trail. Mouse Creek Falls is 45 feet in height. While it is not the tallest in the park, it is impressive none-the-less.
Nearby Points of Interest
Gabes Mountain Trail leads to Hen Wallow Falls, twice the height of Mouse Creek Falls. The hike is moderate and takes about 3-4 hours. The trailhead is about 30 minutes or so from Big Creek Trail.