For a longer but still gradual walk, Big Creek is great as an out and back waterfall hike of 4 miles. Take a left up the gated road just back from the picnic area parking. The old railroad grade rises easily its entire length along one of the park’s most scenic streams. At 1.4 miles, Midnight Hole is a perfect swim spot on a hot day. Mouse Creek Falls cascades spectacularly from the left at 2 miles (an easy 4-mile roundtrip day hike).
Directions: Take I-40 east from Tennessee, west from North Carolina to exit 451 just west of the state line. Turn west across the Pigeon River (requires turning left under the interstate from North Carolina, then left across the river). Across the river, turn left on Waterville Rd. and go about 2 miles to a crossroads in the village of Mount Sterling. Go straight through the intersection and the Big Creek Ranger Station is 0.2 mile ahead on the right. The Big Creek Picnic Area trailhead is another 0.6 mile beyond on the right.