What’s the difference between a river, a stream and a creek? Actually, the U.S. Geological Survey people say there are “no official definitions for generic terms applied to geographic features, so people call ‘em like they see ‘em. Typically rivers are largest, streams mid-size, creeks are the smallest. Our BEAUTIFUL mountain creeks and waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians start as a trickle and follow gravity down the tallest mountains through the landscape between the ridges of higher land separating the valleys. Small mountain creeks eventually merge to form larger streams and rivers on their way back down into the groundwater and oceans. Watching the clear magic water flow over tiny shiny rocks and giant boulders never gets old. One of the many amazing ways to spend time relaxing in the Tryon area mountains.