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Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Big Creek Loop

nc

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 16.4 miles


Climb Mt. Sterling and hike through history on this 16.4-mile loop through the eastern Smokies.
  • Great Smoky Mountains

In a park know for abundant and beautiful creeks, they don't get any better than the one called Big. And the first part of the route follows an old railroad grade—used to transport trees during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century—making for a gentle entry into the deceptively steep Smokies. Allow plenty of time for frequent stops at swimming holes and a waterfall in the first few miles of the hike: Midnight Hole is a deep blue gem just 1.4 miles in; Mouse Creek Falls is a 45-foot cascade just a bit farther. (Tip: Camp along the Big Creek Trail just beyond the old logging camp at Walnut Bottom.) Spend the second night atop 5,760-foot Mt. Sterling, where there's a small glade with prime tent sites and a lookout tower with magical views.

Trail Reviews & Comments

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Aug 04, 2014

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Star Star Star Star Star
CWFAR
Dec 30, 2013

It's a great trail, but the climb up Mt. Sterling is indeed relatively steep and will definitely take a while. We hiked the entire trail up to the Mt. Sterling campsite in 1 day starting at bout 10 in the morning, it's definitely much tougher than it sounds. Really great, great trail though!

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