Mingo Falls on the Cherokee Indian Reservation, located just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a lesser-known gem! The 120 ft waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. Of all the hikes to Great Smoky Mountains Waterfalls, this one is relatively short, being only 0.4 miles in length, one-way. However, it is considered moderate to difficult, since it is all stair-climbing from the trailhead.

To reach the trail head: from Oconaluftee Visitor Center, drive south (toward Cherokee) on US-441 and take the second left onto Big Cove Road. At the first stop sign turn left and drive 4.5 miles to Mingo Falls Campground, where the trail begins. Mingo Falls is an amazingly scenic day-trip from Up the Creek RV Camp in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. One of our large, scenic full-hookup sites is a great base camp for all of your Great Smoky Mountain adventures!

Before the fires of November 2016, we went hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a cold, cloudy day in December. The Chimney Tops Trail, accessed from the New Found Gap Road, is a 4-mile, round-trip moderate to difficult trail. Hiking through the clouds for almost the entire approach, we were pleasantly surprised when we neared the summit and finally walked beyond a thick fog into sunny, clear blue skies. Only the tops of the mountains were poking out through the dense smoke, resembling islands in an ocean of clouds. What a glorious moment!