Height: 150 feet
Trail Type: Dirt and steps
Hike Distance: A few hundred yards
Mingo Falls would probably have a higher beauty rating if A) there were fewer people visiting and B) if Mingo Creek, which feeds the falls, was a little stronger. This is a falls that needs to be seen either in early spring with the ice melt for right after a very heavy rain. On a normal day, all you’ll see is a thin white stream snaking its way down a bulbous rock face. Add in the shrieks and screams of several children with their families, and this is easily a falls that’s only worth going to if you’re marking it off your list.
From the intersection of US 19 and US 441 in Cherokee, head north on US 441 for a little over 2 miles and turn right on the unnamed access road directing you to Big Cove Road. Turn left onto Big Cove Road and drive for a little less than 5 miles. Turn right onto Sherrill Cove Road. You’ll see signs and the parking area for Mingo Falls here.
Alternatively, if you want to avoid the logjam of traffic in downtown Cherokee, you can take Acquoni Road from US 19, which is on the other side of the river from US 441. Big Cove Road intersects Acquoni Road just before the bridge over the Oconaluftee River.
The trail begins at the end of the parking lot and ascends several steps before leveling out and leading to a footbridge over Mingo Creek, giving you a relatively close view of the falls.