Explore the most popular kid friendly 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.

first trail hike in quite a log time. not too difficult and saw alot of wildlife. good hike

We were visiting the area, and several locals told us we had to make this hike. Midnight hike is the popular attraction, several people were swimming there, but the real beauty is Mouse Creek Falls. Be prepared, this hike is uphill the whole way there, and the trail gets pretty rocky.

One of the top five in the park. Many wonderful old trees and other surprises along the trail. Water shoes are useful for Caldwell Fork Trail (5 crossings).

The Boogerman Trail part of this is nothing short of a delicious journey through true old growth forest. The part of this loop that's the Caldwell Fork Trail requires either preparation for creek crossings or a sense of adventure, or perhaps both. If you love the woods and don't mind getting wet, this is a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED hike.

Good hike. The kids enjoyed it. Only drawback is the portion that is also available to horses. They make the trail muddy.

hiking
1 month ago

My partner and I hiked this trail today. It took approximately 4 hours for the entire loop. There were several creek crossings which slowed us down since we changed in and out of hiking shoes/sandals once we hit the creek crossings (there were 5 of these). The trail is in great shape and clean. We only saw two other couples so we essentially had it to ourselves. There was lots of shade, but no vistas other than the gorgeous forest and creeks. No fallen trees are blocking the path, probably the forest service has been out recently to take care of the downed trees mentioned in previous reviews. This is an excellent trail for a hot summer day when you want to be in the shade, but it'd be challenging in the colder months unless you bring waders. There doesn't appear to be any (established) campsites from what I could tell, although it could be done with some creativity (but not sure if allowed in this part of the park).

Beautiful day to hike! lots of butterfly, wildflowers blooming, mountain laural looking spectacular. Hiking along the river is just sublime. A great way to get away from the humidity as well as the hustle & bustle of everyday living. This is my happy place! Great trail!

Did 2/3 of the trail going clockwise before reversing the route to avoid the high water crossings so I ended up going about ten miles by the time I got back to the campground. After talking to another hiker who I passed when I turned around (who did the full loop and wading through four water crossings), we ended up taking the same amount of time. This hike was done in April 2018. Nice adventure.

Wide and flat trail, although you'll feel the constant gradual climb to the falls and beyond. Arrived just before noon and got the last of 20 or so parking spots. I think the parking area is shared with campers. No entrance fee and there are restrooms at the trailhead. Midnight Hole (wading area) is 1.5 miles up the trail and the falls appear at the 2 mile point. .2 miles up from the falls is a bridge that takes you to the other side of the creek, and we saw folks in the water there as well. The trail continues for another 3 miles where it meets Swallow Fork Trail and Campsite 37. A perfect trail for all ages.

hiking
2 months ago

Great loop, started thunder storming about 2/3 of the way through. Going clockwise the the trail climbs a decent bit before coming down and remaining level. Had to ford the creek 7 times, once by choice because the bridge looked more dangerous. Plan to go on a dry day after a couple more dry days or the water will be quick and high. My only complaint is a lack of viewing spots, you're in dense trees the entire time.

Beautiful waterfall and gorgeous swimming hole. The walk will take a while, especially if you have little ones, but is totally worth it.

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!

nice flat trails for the most part, very lush vegetation. unfortunately, we didn't get to see the elk. bummer.

we did see tons of wild turkeys. creeks are beautiful, a bit buggy in the bottoms.

crazy ride to get there on hairpin turns on steep gravel roads, but, very worth it.

This is the most beautiful hike and very easy. There are many springs along the trail and ways to get sidetracked and go “off trail.” Be warned. Midnight hole and the falls are NOT marked. The only way you know you’re at the falls is by the hitching posts for the horses. The picnic area is also beautiful and located near Baxter Creek. Also bring water shoes. I regret not bringing mine as the water was very inviting.

My wife and I took this hike the day before Mother’s Day. It was absolutely beautiful and we did get in to cool off in Midnight Hole. If you go about .2 past the falls there is a bridge over the water that we were told about by some other hikers. It is well worth the extra time. All in all it is a wonderful hike that basic hikers shouldn’t have any trouble with

Beautiful trail, peaceful spot to eat lunch at the falls

backpacking
3 months ago

Very easy trail leading up to Campsite 37

Wonderful, peaceful trail without dodging dogs.. Very nice!

hiking
4 months ago

Clockwise repeat a month later. With the river lower this was definitely more manageable and straighforward. Still have to shimmy or balance beam across a suspended fallen tree, and still 3 river fords to negotiate but all water crossings were quite reasonable. No need to bushwhack off trail which was just fine with me. Water level dropped 8-10 inches since March and made this trail even more enjoyable then before. Some fallen trees blocking the trail were even cleared! But you'll still be going barefoot or soaking your shoes 3-4 times to get back to the car:)

Love this hike, it is beautiful! The hiking path is clean and wide and unobstructed. The hike for the most part follows the river closely but at times the trees obscure the view of the water. I wish there were markers to let you know when arrive at the falls because I have missed it and walked right passed it and arrived at the next falls. You do have to “hunt” for it along the river if there is no crowd to tip you off. No dogs are allowed on the trail, which stinks. I’d really love to take my 4 legged child with me. We always clean up after our pet and they enjoy the outdoors and need exercise also.

I've hiked this trail many times over my life. It's a pretty easy trail, and the views are awesome. Also, on the way up, you'll find a great swimming hole with tall rocks to jump off of. Always a summertime favorite of mine!

Family hike to Davison Gap
In and out about 8miles. Plenty of stream crossings but a good and moderately strenuous trail for the early season legs.continuing down the gap would have gotten us to a few cabins for viewing, but stopped here rather than continuing.

hiking
4 months ago

Peaceful trail for the first 5.5 miles. Other reviews are very accurate. There is simply no trail over the water in multiple places and we were in the cold, fast moving water up to our calves trying to cross over slippery rocks, when we weren’t shimmying on our bum over a fallen tree that was 10’ above the water. An adventure for sure!

hiking
5 months ago

Incredible hike! Very much worthwhile, but heed Patrick's previous review. Hiking clockwise, the first 3/4 of the trail were lovely. A gentle incline and then a more moderate climb, some fallen trees but nothing crazy. After descending back into the lower parts of the trail and rejoining the creekside walking, things started to change. My girlfriend and I had to shimmy across a 20 ft. fallen tree suspended 10 feet above the swiftly moving Caldwell-Fork. That was quite exciting, but after meeting two other parties struggling to find ways across more missing bridges, we all found ourselves bushwhacking through dense foliage to find alternate ways to rejoin the trail. We eventually ended up fording the Caldwell twice, with a very fast-moving current. The only other choice was to bail back the way we came and rehike the first 5 1/2 miles going counter-clockwise. The river crossings were manageable, but definitely a bit sketchy. Be warned! As the water level subsides these crossings should become much more reasonable, but keep the levels in mind if you decide to attempt the Boogerman this spring. A potential alternative could be to hike clockwise for the time being to be sure that the section repeatedly crossing the Caldwelll is within your comfort zone. All in all, with improved conditions this is a gem of a day hike that's really quite diverse and with nice trail conditions excluding the downed trees and bridges. I can't wait to get back out there!

My wife and I started the trail around 12:30 yesterday (3/4/18). We did the loop clockwise. It was a really nice hike - until the last 2 or 3 miles. Most of the bridges on the creek were not there. I suppose they have been washed away. In addition, there are many downed trees on the trail. My guess is that the park service will try to clear them before the busy season in late spring. The water was high and the current strong to the point that trying to cross the creek was dangerous. The trail crosses the creek numerous times, so it was necessary to either find a way across on fallen trees or attempt to bushwhack through very dense vegetation to meet up with the trail farther down, which was typically unsuccessful. We finished the hike around 4pm, pants and shoes wet. I always enjoy adventures, however, this one turned out to be more than we had planned for, mainly due to the high water. I would not recommend this trip for the typical hiker until water levels are lower and/or bridges across the creek are repaired/built.

Easy 5.2 mile hike to campsite 37. Great waterfall views and great campsite. Plenty of firewood and places to get in the water.

My fault misreading that dogs were allowed on this trail. Of course, it was in January when we visited and when we got to the trail to the waterfall, we discovered no dogs allowed. We walked the creek area and still enjoyed the little rapids.

Great trail! But the waterfall is at the 2 mile mark so no need to keep going further in search of a different waterfall.

I love this easy hike, and the Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls are worth your time!
Happy New Year outdoor lovers!! :)

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