Big Creek Trail to Midnight Hole
LENGTH: 3 MILES
DOGS: NOT ALLOWED
FACILITIES: RESTROOMS AT PARKING LOT
This out and back hike will take you to the crystal green rushing waters of Midnight Hole surrounded by large boulders and a plethora of wildflowers in the Spring and Summer months. The water is very cold year round.
GPS: Big Creek Trail, Cataloochee, NC 37821
From North Carolina take I-40 West to the border of Tennessee and get off at the first exit 451, Waterville Rd. Left at the end of the exit ramp taking you under I-40. Left at the stop sign the take the first left. Continue right on Waterville Rd. River will be on your left. Continue straight at stop sign entering Great Smoky Mountain National Park on Big Creek Rd. * The first parking lot on the right has maps of the GSMNP for $1 if you would like to snag one before continuing all the way to the end of Big Creek Rd. * Road ends in a parking lot and you have arrived!
The trailhead for Big Creek Trail which leads you to Midnight Hole is back up the road a little from the parking lot. This trail will take you to Midnight Hole as well as Mouse Creek Falls if you would like to extend your hike. There are several other trails in the area. Bent Creek Trail is well traveled with a slight inclination and a few rocky sections. Some spots offer a great aerial view of the river down below.
There are several side trails on the left that take you down to the river if you want to explore. A well traveled side trail about 3/4 of a mile in takes you to a decent swimming hole but this is not Midnight Hole. .8 miles up the trail is a fallen tree to the left. If you are daring you can walk across this to get to a wider section of the river riddled with boulders and loud rushing water that looks sky blue.
At 1.5 miles begin looking for a small white circle painted on a tree to the right of the trail. This is the only mark that you are at Midnight Hole. Just look to your left and you will see a large green pool. Here the river is squeezed between two massive boulders to make a 6 foot waterfall with a deep pool beneath it.
**If you decide to enjoy this hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, please leave your dog at home, they are not allowed on the trails.