Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Waynesville with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful! Stroll along the river in the lush green forest. Went for a Sunday hike in June. Went about 1/2 way due to time constraints but will definitely be back!

hiking
2 months ago

beautiful trail and area. It does have some steep grades but is well worth the walk.

backpacking
3 months ago

Very easy trail leading up to Campsite 37

River was nice to walk along. Did not have any views. Finding a friendly hunting dog made it a little more fun.

hiking
9 months ago

This is a beautiful trail along the river for the entire length of the trail. Although you gain about 1300 feet of elevation, it is very gradual.

on Big Creek Trail

mountain biking
9 months ago

AllTrails hosed us on this one: drove to the trail head to find that BIKES are NOT PERMITTED on this NPS trail. You owe me half a day of vacation Looked like a nice trail...oh well, guess I've discovered way more trails than not with this app. Please update tag - also there is a trail listed as Cuyahoga Valley NP that is really in Great Smoky Mtn NP.

Great trail. Very steep incline. Down trees over the trail in one section.

Great trail with great views.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Good hike if you want to go swimming. This trail is miss tagged for mountain biking. We came to mountain bike and mountain biking is not allowed on the trail.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Great hike for families or novice hikers. Bring your suits and go for a dip on a warm day, just know it is usually VERY busy. I rate this hike 5 stars because I can bring even my littlest peanuts and this began their love of hiking, otherwise I would have probably given 4 stars for traffic.

Friday, June 23, 2017

excellent..we went june 20, full blossom of rhododendron. beautiful!

hiking
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Only did about 2 miles or so of the trail as we arrived late in the day. You could hear the creek raging pretty much the entire time.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Very easy walking on wide trail. Gentle but steady grade. Arrived at trailhead at 11:30am, but encountered few people until heading out later in afternoon. Weather was beautiful and warm. Water was gloriously cool. Lots of great sights along the way with the roaring river nearly always near.

A real ball-buster of a trail.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Did a five day hike with a group in early March 2017 and started on this trail. It was a great trail to begin with.

hiking
Monday, February 27, 2017

Hot and dry summer of 2016.

hiking
Saturday, December 17, 2016

Very beautiful hike along the creek. However there are a lot of rocks to walk on. Wear good shoes and maybe bring a walking stick.

hiking
Monday, October 31, 2016

This was beautiful in the fall. I wouldn't go on this trail again just because the trail itself was not interesting ,it's just a wide straight trail with no real interest points,but the surroundings were very beautiful. This trail is listed as easy on all trails app,and it is indeed a very easy trail. The creek is along side the trail the entire time..we were only able to hike 7 miles as we took a lot of breaks at the creek and ran out of daylight. Mouse Creek Falls is exactly how it describes..small. So if you go only to see the falls..you might be disappointed if you are expecting a larger fall. All around,I would highly recommend this trail during fall,as the trees and colors are beautiful. The creek is a huge plus ,many access points to the creek.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Beautiful hike through lush rhododendron forests and misty pine forests. Very lightly traveled and even overgrown in some parts. One of my favorites.

backpacking
Sunday, July 03, 2016

We did the 1.3 mile climb to the spruce mountain campsite #42. It was reached by baslam mountain road which in itself is very remote. The hike is a continuous climb and I think as far as backpacking it is strenuous. This Trail is in my opinion extremely well diverse in the plant life and at the top elevation of 5440 ft very moist. There seemed to be no signs of any available water near as the bear branch had nothing to offer and is very near non existent. We tried to locate a lost and forgotten Trail that I saw on my topo that supposedly leads to a tower. We never made it due to the sunset and it was very difficult as its an abandoned trail. Trees down and in a year or so more no trace of a Trail at all. Very curious though. If you want a very secluded trail to be alone this is it. I loved it. It's so difficult to find solitude. Just carry water.

hiking
Monday, February 29, 2016

I did this trail accidentally attempting to do the Baxter Creek trail to get to the fire tower at Mt. Sterling. I accidently went on the trail on the other side of the parking lot! This trail was still beautiful and would be great to come back to and overnight camp. Perhaps even do a 15 or 16 mile loop from Big Creek connecting over to Baxter Creek for Mt. Sterling. It was fairly easy grade. I went on about a mile after Big Creek comes into contact with Low Gap trail. Trail ran on my way back and it was very enjoyable. The trail follows a raging creek which makes for great scenery and white noise. Trail is very well maintained and would be a good hike for those that are not that experienced.

hiking
Sunday, February 14, 2016

Wrong! Dogs are not allowed on any trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park. It spoils a hike to bring your dog and meet a ranger, who sends you backtracking with the dog and an unpleasant fine.

You can do an in and out hike from the Big Creek Trailhead to the tower, which is 12.4 miles and 4100 feet ascent. The trail is rocky and an ankle turner at the places where it sidelines a ridge.

There are a few nice views along the route. Initially you follow Big Creek, with its huge boulders and noisy water. There are some peeks at Mt. Cammerer, Luftee Knob, Waterville tower, and Mt. Guyot. At the top of the climb, you can climb the old fire tower steps for even nicer views.

camping
Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Amazing fall hike. The ecosystems change with the elevation and the creeks are so clear you can see the rainbow trout hunting for food. I probably won't camp on Mt. Sterling again due to the fierce wind we faced all night. But on a calmer night, I can see how it would be perfect.

Side not: zero cell service along the entire 20 miles hike

Monday, November 30, 2015

This trail was beautiful. Water was beside us the whole hike up. Not to steep. Lots of stones on path that tripped you up most of the time, so you need to wear good shoes. But overall, we would do it again. Loved it!!!!

hiking
Saturday, February 14, 2015

This is a good trip for beginning backpackers. I like starting on the Big Fork Ridge Trail, camping at Caldwell Fork #41, then passing the Big Poplars before descending Rough Fork Ridge Trail past the Woody Place. It's a nice winter trip when you just want to get out for an easy weekend.

hiking
Saturday, February 14, 2015

I did this one a number of years ago. Unfortunately it's no longer feasible, as the Park Service has closed the Polls Gap Trail which made up the second day of the loop. Great trip in spite of blowdowns and greenbriars on the soon to be abandoned trail. Spent the first night at Caldwell Fork and the second at Spruce Mountain. Idyllic campsite. Decended the Palmer Creek Trail on the last day. A shame the Polls Gap Trail was abandoned but it was gullied to seven or eight feet deep in spots.

on Big Creek Trail

hiking
Saturday, April 26, 2014

A few wilderness camping spots.. small foot path that gets progressively steeper toward the end of the valley.

hiking
Monday, January 13, 2014

Easy to moderate backpacking.

hiking
Thursday, September 12, 2013

Very nice hike. Great trees for hammockers. I highly recommend the view from the firetower at night.

hiking
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Big Creek is beautiful! The water was high and moving very fast due to all the rain and snow melt and it was so clean and clear. I spotted several places that would make great swimming holes and picnic spots and the campgrounds at the end looked very welcoming. This trail would make a nice outing for families with kids and/or older folks. I look forward to seeing what it's like during the warmer months and hopefully do some swimming and camping!

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