With Great Smoky Mountain National Park covering 522,427 acres of land, it can be nearly impossible to decide how to make the most of your time there. The massive State Park straddling North Carolina and Tennessee is abundant in trails, campsites, flower fields, waterfalls and more. On your next visit to the park, follow the trail to this hike trail with a waterfall in North Carolina for the ultimate adventure. 

Mingo Falls is an enormous feat of nature that stands at 120-feet high. It's easily one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians. The cascading waterfall is framed by fall foliage this time of the year, so you get equal aquatic and flora and fauna views. 

The waterfall is accessible through Pigeon Creek Trail, and it's a must climb trail if you're on the North Carolina side of the park. The hike has been deemed easy for some and moderate for others, as you have to climb up 160 steep steps to catch a glimpse of the falls. 

Despite the stairs, it's less than one-mile roundtrip. It's been estimated that you can complete the hike in as little as 30 minutes or up to an hour. 

If you really want to see the waterfall in all its glory, make a trip after the area experiences some major rainfall. The excess water will seamlessly fall down the waterfall, making it even more majestic to look at. 

You don't get to simply admire the waterfall from afar, but you can stand directly at the base of the waterfall and let the water rain over you. 

For more magic falls, you can catch views of Whitewater Falls in North Carolina and Duke Creek Falls a short road trip away. 

Mingo Falls 

Price: Free 

Address: Eastern Cherokee Reservation, Cherokee, NC 28719

Why You Need To Go: This waterfall is just one piece of the collection of nature you can witness at Great Smoky Mountain National Park


We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.