Explore NC - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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My happy place!

25 days ago

I hike this trail monthly when I want something easy with lots of great views and places to stop and chill. Midnight Hole is a staple as are the falls a half mile beyond.

1 month ago

This was a nice hike. The views at the research station are great. There are several picnic tables and bathrooms there. Don't miss the old cabin.

1 month ago

Fairly easy uphill walk on a wide graded road. Beautiful views at the top! My 1st time here so I was a little confused when you come to the fork in the trail where you can either go up the grassy trail, shorter but steeper, or continue on the gravel road. Both end at the science center and views. I missed the turn for the Ferguson cabin and didn't have time to go once I realized my mistake. But I will definitely try this one again!

wonderful panorama's at the very top. one of the few trails that I traveled that is all uphill on on the way to the top with no downs, and all downhill on the way back. great facilities at the top and the research station is amazing

Follow Garrett's directions. very helpful regarding parking and the gate at the start...loved the trail.

Such a quick trail to a fun and freezing swimming hole.

Good trail. Lake was beautiful and there were lots of birds.

Great trail!! Access to bathrooms, cute shop along the way and great views. Paved the whole way.

Very easy hike but too crowded with people.

1 month ago

This trail was okay. We went clockwise and camped at the campsite since we had a late start to our day. It was all downhill which made it go very fast. The campsite was very nice. It had a place to hang food from bears and a fire pit. It was right by the river which made it a bit chilly but it was nice to listen to. No outhouse but it was not a big deal since we had the site completely to ourselves. In the morning, we headed out on the trail towards the Hemphill Bald. When it came to the second intersection with a river, we couldn’t find the trail on the other side and there was no bridge in sight. We think that the trail was supposed to go up the mountain a bit before crossing the river, but since we couldn’t see a clear path, we decided not to risk getting lost in the woods. We turned back and did the half of the trail that we started with. There was no mountain view or wild animals which was disappointing, but the trees were beautiful and the weather was very nice so I can’t really complain. If I were to do this loop again, I would go the other direction around the loop!

Moderate-difficult. Very steep.

This is a steep uphill hike that is worth the climb.

Great hike. This loop consists of connecting a few different smaller trails but was a great route with beautiful landscapes. There were signs for active bear interactions posted on a small section of the trail and to be cautious when in this area (we didn't see anything).

Trail does not have markers thru out, only at trail intersections but the trail is well defined thru out.

Trail was pretty muddy in spots possibly due to the rains from recent storms. There are lots of alternate routes to get around the mud without too much problem. I liked the challenge of finding the path of least resistance. Otherwise it’s nicely packed with roots and stones for steps and bridges when necessary. Plenty of shade and cross winds for a pleasant temperature. To get to the very top of the falls one must climb a short path which is very steep but worth it. This is a technical trail due to some of its hazards but they are only a small part of the overall hike which allows you to keep going.

2 months ago

I don’t know what kind of joke y’all are trying to play but this trial isn’t easy or moderate. This trail is one that you have to be an expert hiker in order to climb it. Not to mention the directions in order to get there are terrible...cause there are none. Best of luck to whoever attempts this trial.

If you get a chance to hike this trail don’t pass it up.

Great hike, beautiful at the top! Seen deer, elk and turkey! Would do it again!

2 months ago

This trail was not great for kids. Due to the road, just getting to an interesting spot was a two-mile walk, so not ideal. Once we got to the meadow we did enjoy the cabin but as we were four kids (ages 8-11) and three adults in our group, only half of us made it that far.

Nice walk but not a lot of shade. Views of the lake were good. I just prefer the mountain trails and views.

Path to Upper Falls not marked well but came across other hikers who missed it too and guided us in the right direction. Make sure to see both falls. Great hike and the dogs enjoyed it. Lots of water access for them!

2 months ago

Steep and challenging, but the view from the top is worth it. I was able to get some of the best Milky Way photos of my life from the top at night.

2 months ago

Now this is a trail. Love it.

trail running
2 months ago

Big Creek Trail was completed in the middle of August! We ran into about 5 small groups, two of which had children. Big Creek Falls is an easy hike but worth going if you’re trying to start out your hiking journey! It’s a wide trail with the creek along side of you the entire time. There are many swimming holes you can get wet in plus various places to hang a hammock! We enjoyed our hike!!

Very steep on the way up.
Went to browning knob as well and to the plane crash. The kids liked to see the plane. The mud and slick rocks would make it a little rough at times for kids or older hikers.

Amazing views and very peaceful

2 months ago

This is a quick, steep hike up to the top that will get your heart pumping. Pretty heavily trafficked trail but when we went we got to see why they're called the Smoky Mountains because the mists filled the valleys below all the way to the top. Still beautiful though.

Really pretty and short - but definitely moderate (not easy) hike between the climb on the way back and the uneven surfaces. We were mostly alone mid afternoon on a Friday, but as we left we passed at least a bakers dozen of college students on their way in with (open on the trail) cheap beer, so perhaps less delightful late in the day on a Friday!

not easy. 1/2 mile but either up or down, no flat.

3 months ago

The terrain here is beautiful, and the altitude changes nicely (but be careful about loose stones and slippery wetness). If you want to see how the different faces and altitudes of the region affect the trees and local insects (open grassy fields, hickory, berries, oak, various evergreens, bees among the rhododendrons and ragweed, flies on the bear and dog scat), this is a good trail for that purpose over just a few miles. Also, there are several crossing routes and side trails so that you can modify your hike to your needs, but remember to walk the extra mile or two to catch all of the falls.

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