“A scenic 6.5 mile trail along the beautiful Big Creek, leading to the Mt. Sterling fire tower.
— Max Willner
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
All campsites must be registered with the Great Smokey National Park, which can be done here
Beginning at the Big Creek campground, follow the sign to the Big Creek trailhead. Roughly 1.5 miles in, visitors can find the Midnight Hole Falls and the Mouse Creek Falls at 2 miles.
This is ideal for those looking for a short journey with a nice view of the falls. The trail is a steady ascent, but the grade is not terribly strenuous and is remarkably consistent. You won't have to worry about many obstacles while on trail, so take your time to appreciate your surroundings.
It's 5.1 miles from the campground to Walnut Bottom (Campsite 37), with a moderate elevation gain. At the campsite, there is ample room for tents and hammocks and there's a water source in close proximity. Multiple fire pits can be found at the campsite and there is usually a decent supply of firewood in the surrounding area.
Flora & Fauna
As with any trail in the Smokies, you might see black bears. There are abundant salamanders (31 different species) in the creeks. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May along the entire route, with some later blooms at the higher elevations.
For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage