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Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole Waterfalls

  • 05/01/2021
  • 7:30 AM
  • Big Creek Campground GSMNP


  • Members and visitors are invited to register.

Registration is closed

SANP Field Event

Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole Waterfalls

Saturday, May 1st, 2021


Leader: Dale Potter    Phone:  (865)-773-8114      E-mail:

Meeting place: Big Creek Campground GSMNP

Time:  7:30 am

Registration available:  Beginning today 

Description:  Big Creek area is one of the most photogenic areas in the streams.  There are options all around the campground to photograph. We will be walking up the Big Creek Trail from the parking lot. Our goal is Mouse Creek Falls, however we may make it to the bridge just past the falls. We will stop at the Midnight Hole as we move up the old road bed toward Mouse Creek Falls. It is about 1.5 to the Midnight Hole area. Mouse Creek Falls is a short walk up the trail.  The entire walking distance is about 5 miles round trip. 

This entrance no longer exists as of 2020. In an early morning fog this entrance was magical and one of the nicest entrances to a campground in the entire GSMNP.  It no longer exists due to people ignoring the fence for a parking spot last year.

The water will be cold. The water was cold in July 2010.  Yes, it is deep enough to jump in at the Midnight Hole. You may even see a trout or two.

Learning opportunities: 

This is a good location to work on your technique for getting pleasing images of waterfalls and fast water.

How to meter for the best exposure

How to interpret the histogram for the best exposure.

What shutter speeds to use for the look you want

How to use polarizers and neutral density filters

Lenses of any focal length from 20mm to about 300mm will be useful. Tripod…..mandatory.

What to bring: Since some of the best shooting positions on this stream are in the water, you may want to wear waterproof boots. Hip boots or waders work for some. Another option is the trail runner shoes are great for wading streams. 

Bring water and snacks.  

An overcast day would be ideal for this trip.  Even if the sky is clear, leaving at 6:30am will allow us enough time to work at both Mouse Creek Falls and Midnight Hole before harsh sunlight comes over the mountain, probably around 10:30am.  

Walking required: The trail is an easy to moderate 5 mile in and out trail.  It is an old road bed for most of the way.  We will be in and out before most of the crowds arrive.

COVID-19 precautions:

We will practice social distancing and wear masks to mitigate the risk of virus transmission.  


Driving directions: Best is to use Google Maps for Big Creek Campground in the GSMNP. From I-40, take the Waterville Road Exit (#451). Turn left after crossing the Pigeon River and proceed 2.3 miles to an intersection. Continue straight, past the ranger station, to a large parking area at the end of the road.

Contacts:     Jerry Whaley, President       Julie Glibbery, Membership Manager       General Information

Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
Mailing address: 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Ste 107A-231, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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