Midnight Hole And Mouse Creek Falls (Midnight Hole Falls) – Must-Have Experiences In Great Smoky Mountain National Park

shyski family at Midnight Hole Midnight Hole Falls Mouse Creek Falls
Midnight Hole Falls (technically called Mouse Creek Falls) are majestic!

Are you looking for a family-friendly adventure in the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Look no further than the beautiful Midnight Hole trail. This hike is the perfect opportunity for you and your loved ones to immerse yourselves in nature’s beauty and create cherished memories together.

As you step onto the trail, you’ll be surrounded by lush forests, babbling streams, and a rich array of plant and animal life.

Big Creek near Midnight Hole in Great Smokey Mountains National Park
You’ll be hiking along soothing Big Creek nearly the entire time!

The best part?

This hike is suitable for all ages and skill levels, making it an ideal choice for a family outing.

woman and boy hiking on the family friendly trail to Mouse Creek Falls Midnight Hole Falls
The entire trail to Midnight Hole and Midnight Hole Falls (Mouse Creek Falls) is mellow and family-friendly.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or introducing your little ones to the wonders of nature, the Midnight Hole trail offers a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. The same can be said for the pristine and seldom crowded waterfalls near Sylva NC.

Family posing for selfie near mouse creek falls
We are always happy when the terrain is family-friendly and scenic!

The main attraction of this trail is the legendary Midnight Hole itself. Picture a hidden gem with its emerald waters inviting you for a refreshing swim.

Midnight Hole in Great Smokey Mountains National Park
We were excited to be here on a day when no one else was!

It’s a true oasis, perfect for escaping the summer heat and creating joyful moments with your family. It was so serene, even our normally busy body Kai-Kai, sat still for a moment!

boy sitting near midnight falls

And don’t forget to marvel at Midnight Hole Falls, also known as “Mouse Creek Falls,” as it cascades down the rocky landscape, captivating young and old alike.

family resting at the base of midnight hole falls
We took a break and ate some snacks at the base of Midnight Hole Falls.

Get ready to embark on an unforgettable family adventure as you explore the Midnight Hole trail. This trail guide will provide you with essential information and tips to make your journey even more enjoyable. So grab your loved ones, pack your sense of exploration, and get ready to create lasting memories in the natural wonderland of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Let the family-friendly fun begin!

And as always, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave us a message below!

Trail Information – Fast Facts

  • Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance: ~4 miles (6.5 km) round trip
  • Elevation Gain: 1100 feet
  • Duration: Allow 1.5 to 2 hours for the complete hike, depending on your pace and breaks.

Trail Description and Points of Interest

As you venture along the trail, immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The path meanders through lush forests, alongside glistening streams, and offers glimpses of vibrant flora and fauna. Nature enthusiasts will be captivated by the sights and sounds that surround them throughout this enchanting hike.

swallowtail butterflies along big creek near midnight hole
We were lucky to see this group of Swallowtails right along Big Creek.

After hiking for about 1 mile, you’ll reach the legendary Midnight Hole. This natural swimming hole is a hidden gem, known for its crystal-clear, emerald waters that beckon weary hikers to take a refreshing dip. The Midnight Hole is a mesmerizing spot, where you can escape the summer heat and experience the joy of nature’s embrace. Take a moment to soak in the tranquility of the surroundings before continuing your adventure.

family playing near midnight hole swimming hole

Continuing on, you’ll encounter another marvel of nature, Midnight Hole Falls, also known as “Mouse Creek Falls.” This magnificent waterfall cascades down a rocky face, creating a picturesque scene that will leave you in awe. Feel the mist on your face as you marvel at the raw power and beauty of Mouse Creek Falls.

mother and two sons walking towards Mouse Creek Falls
The rocks weren’t slippery, but as you approach the falls, watch your step!

Recommended Gear

To make the most of your hiking experience to the Midnight Hole swimming hole, we recommend you bring the items we include in our day hiking packing guide. You might need all the sun protection items we mention in there, but some will definitely be a good idea. More briefly, however, we recommend you bring:

  • Sturdy Hiking Shoes: Ensure your footwear provides good traction and ankle support for uneven terrain.
  • Backpack: Carry a comfortable backpack to store essentials like water, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
  • Swimwear and Towel: Don’t forget to pack your swimwear and a towel to enjoy a dip in the Midnight Hole.
  • Camera: Capture the memories and the stunning scenery with a camera or smartphone.
  • Extra Layers: Depending on the season, it’s wise to bring extra layers of clothing to stay warm during cooler temperatures.
  • Snacks and Water: You know how much you’ll eat and drink, and what you’ll eat and drink. So, as long as you have enough of your favorites for this easy 4-mile round-trip hike, you’ll be good to go.

Family Hiking Safety Tips

  1. Stay on the Trail: Stick to the designated trail to avoid getting lost and minimize your impact on the ecosystem.
  2. Stay Hydrated: Bring ample water for everyone in your family and drink regularly to stay hydrated.
  3. Keep an Eye on Children: Children should always be supervised and kept within arm’s reach, especially near water bodies. Also, keep in mind there are black bears in the area. While they are not known to be aggressive, it’s still best to keep children close, especially if you encounter a bear.
  4. Be Mindful of Wildlife: Respect the natural habitat of the wildlife and maintain a safe distance from any animals you may encounter.
  5. Leave No Trace: Practice Leave No Trace principles by carrying out all your trash and leaving the environment as pristine as you found it.

Trail Head and Route

To embark on an enchanting adventure to the Midnight Hole swimming hole in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, begin your journey at the Big Creek Trailhead.

Make sure you buy a parking pass – we recommend the buy online and print option. They are required starting March 1, 2023.

Once you’ve parked your vehicle, follow the well-marked path that leads you into the heart of nature’s tranquility.

As we’ve said in many of our other posts, such as the one about Pinnacle Park in Sylva (and the fantastic but challenging hike you can do there) we highly recommend you download GuruMaps (our favorite mapping app for offline navigation). Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can download our route from the GuruMap below, and then you can upload or route into your GuruMaps app. Bam, you’ll have a map to follow while you hike to Midnight Hole, and the best part, it works offline when you have no cell service or WIFI.

Route Map

If you’re more comfortable with a Google Map, here is one as well, but unfortunately, it won’t work offline.

Elevation Profile

midnight hole elevation profile


Ultimately, the Midnight Hole trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a remarkable hiking experience that promises adventure, natural beauty, and unforgettable memories for the whole family. From the serene forests to the refreshing Midnight Hole swimming hole and the awe-inspiring Midnight Hole Falls, every step along this trail reveals the wonders of nature in a unique and captivating way.

By choosing the Midnight Hole trail, you’re embarking on a journey that will ignite a sense of exploration and discovery within each family member. The well-maintained path ensures a safe and enjoyable hiking experience, allowing you to focus on the breathtaking surroundings and the quality time spent with your loved ones.

As you traverse the trail, the lush forests envelop you in a peaceful and serene atmosphere, providing a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Listen to the gentle rustling of leaves, breathe in the fresh mountain air, and let the tranquility of nature rejuvenate your spirits. This is your opportunity to reconnect with your family and with the natural world around you.

This family-friendly hike is not only about the destination but also about the journey itself. Along the trail, you’ll encounter a myriad of flora and fauna, each adding its own touch of magic to the experience. Encourage your children to marvel at the vibrant wildflowers, spot a curious woodland creature, and embrace the opportunity to learn about the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

In conclusion, the Midnight Hole trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an invitation to embark on a memorable and enriching adventure with your family. It’s a chance to disconnect from the noise of everyday life and reconnect with nature and each other. So seize this opportunity, gather your loved ones, and let the Midnight Hole trail guide you toward moments of joy, wonder, and togetherness. The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains awaits, ready to weave its magic into your family’s story.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Is the Midnight Hole swimming hole suitable for all ages?
A1: Yes, the Midnight Hole swimming hole can be enjoyed by people of all ages. However, it’s important to exercise caution, especially if you have young children, and always supervise them near the water.

Q2: Can I camp near the Midnight Hole swimming hole?
A2: Camping is not permitted directly at the Midnight Hole swimming hole. However, there are designated campgrounds nearby in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where you can set up camp and explore the area during the day.

Q3: Are dogs allowed on the trail to the Midnight Hole?
A3: Yes, dogs are allowed on the trail to the Midnight Hole swimming hole. However, they must be kept on a leash at all times and be mindful of other hikers and wildlife. Also, make sure to bring your dog-poo bags, and pack them out! Leave No Trace is something we always strive for.

So, gather your gear, embark on the trail, and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Midnight Hole swimming hole in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s time to create memories and discover the true essence of nature’s beauty.

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