It's short, though. TripAdvisor/Lois P. The trail itself is a mere .4 miles and this initial set of steps is the equivalent to climbing 16 stories. Mingo Falls; Ask the Community; How long is this hike in total? These oversized deer, also called wapiti, were reintroduced to Great Smoky Mountains National Park—native range for them—back in 2001. Take I-40 west and get off at the Hwys 19, 23, 74 exit. This is on the North Carolina side of the park. The steps can be slippery if it has recently rained so take your time, … No special permits are required for access to the reservation. The main body of this hike is fairly simple. It’s quick and most people can complete the trail in 30 minutes. Just what I wanted for the few ppl I had with me, one with some health issues. Report question. It’s a mere four-tenths of one mile round-trip hike to bask in this 120-foot-tall cascading beauty, but it’s on the strenuous side of things. Mingo Falls. The official name of the falls originates from the Cherokee term Mingo which means Big Bear. With only about 159-160 stairs separating you from the parking lot to the fall itself... this is a beautiful, fun, and peaceful setting that attracts crowds from all age ranges. The trail can be icy in the winter. Parking is limited, probably 15 cars max. Pigeon Creek Trail serves as the access trail to Mingo Falls. To reach the trailhead from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, drive south toward on Cherokee on US-441 and take the second left onto Big Cove Road. The hike from the parking area to the falls viewing platform is less than half a mile. No special permits are required for access to the reservation. We went 11/17 late afternoon and was only a few people there. wildcards are supported. Access Trail: Rainbow Falls Trail in the Roaring Fork area. Mingo Falls is only about 15 minutes from downtown Cherokee or about 75 minutes from Asheville. The trail is currently closed, but you can still park and walk up the mysterious steps. Mingo Falls: LONG hike to the top but worth it! -Keep an eye out for elk on your drive to the Pigeon Creek Trail trailhead. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most beautiful in the southern Appalachians. You can turn left and head toward Mingo Falls and Cherokee or turn right toward Great Smoky Mountains National Park and, of course, Clingmans Dome. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and nature trips and is best used from March until November. I opted to do Mingo Falls in Cherokee instead of this hike. The trail ends at a small wooden bridge at the front of the falls. Many locals recommend going in the morning to avoid the crowds and for the best chance to see Mingo Falls in the morning fog. It was all wonderful! Hike was beautiful, views of the falls and burney creek that was just pristine. The 5.2-mile roundtrip hike to Abrams Falls is relatively short, and is considered to be moderate in difficulty, thus helping to attract nearly 1000 visitors per day during peak season, and making it one of the more popular waterfall hikes in the park. In a mountain range known for lots of gurgling and gushing water, this horsetail falls is one of the standout liquid landmarks. The hike is well worth it though - Laurel Falls is very photogenic, and is widely considered to be one of the best waterfall hikes in the Smokies. It's located just five miles from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Big Cove Road (past several big campgrounds) near the town of Cherokee.The beautiful 1/4-mile hike to the waterfall along the rushing stream is short, but you must climb 161 steps. Mingo Falls Venture into the woods to behold the majesty of Mingo Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians, only a 10-minute car ride from us. 0.2 mi one-way. 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