Juney Whank Falls
Tom Branch Falls
Walk the bridge over Juney Whank Falls
The Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is known for its streams and hiking trails to waterfalls. In addition, you can mountain bike, picnic, fish and camp. Located on the North Carolina side of the park near Bryson City, it's about 65 miles from Asheville.
Hiking: From very short tails to a see a waterfall to longer day hikes deep into the Smokies, there is hiking for everyone. Trails to the waterfalls start from the large parking area at the end of Deep Creek Road (across the creek from Deep Creek Campground). See more hiking trails in the Great Smokies.
Waterfalls: You can see two of the waterfalls with a very short walk. See the 80-foot Juney Whank Falls via a well-marked 1/3-mile steep trail from the parking area. Also from the same parking area, take the Deep Creek Trail about 1/4 mile to Tom Branch Falls, another 80-foot cascade. Continue along the Deep Creek Trail for approximately a mile to Indian Creek Falls that spills 25 foot into Deep Creek. There are two loop trails that take you to all three, Three Waterfalls Loop (2.4 miles), and Deep Creek-Indian Creek Loop (5 miles). See Mingo Falls for another great waterfall just five miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance at Cherokee.
The Deep Creek-Indian Creek Loop to Waterfalls: Another way to see all three waterfalls is with this 5-mile hike. Just 1/3-mile up the trail is Tom's Branch Falls. Continue on to enjoy a wide variety of wildflowers, especially in the Spring, with trilliums beard tongue, Solomon's seal and jack-in-the-pulpit. At 8/10 of a mile, the loop section starts. Turn right on Indian Creek Trail. In 1/10 of a mile, a short spur trail on the left takes you to the 45-foot Indian Creek Falls. At 1.7 miles of the hike, the loop trail splits off the Indian Creek Trail. Turn left and climb up the ridge. At around 3 miles from the start of your hike is Deep Creek Trail again. Turn left to return to the parking area. Near the parking area (at about 3.7 miles) is another spur trail for Juney Whank Falls. Hike 1.2 miles to the Falls, then another 1/4 mile to the parking lot. See map below or download a PDF Map of these hiking trails.
Fishing: Pick up fishing regulations at a Great Smoky Mountains visitor center. A Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is required to fish within park boundaries. A fishing license may be purchased in Bryson City or other nearby communities or online from the states of North Carolina or Tennessee.
Picnic: Picnic area is open year-round and has restrooms and changing rooms.
Tubing: There are several tube rental companies located just outside the park boundaries on Deep Creek Road. The Deep Creek ride consists of two sections: The upper "whitewater" section for adults and good swimmers flows from Indian Creek through the narrow Deep Creek gorge with a wild, bouncy ride. The lower section is wider, easier going and more appropriate for all ages and ends at the parking lot. Tube rental companies are located on West Deep Creek Road. Bring a life jacket!
Camping: Deep Creek campground is open from early April until late October. Group camping is also available. Reservations are available by calling (877) 444-6777 or visiting http://www.recreation.gov. There are several designated backcountry campsites (camping by permit only) along Deep Creek Trail.
Historic Fact: The Deep Creek Trail was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated park in the early 1930s. The current Deep Creek Campground was also the site of the Deep Creek CCC Camp from 1933 to 1936.
Directions: From downtown Bryson City, take Depot Street east to Deep Creek Road (turn left). Drive 2.3 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance, and then another 0.5 mile to the parking area for the Deep Creek Loop hike. This is about 65 miles from downtown Asheville. From Asheville, take I-40 west to Highway 74 West/Great Smoky Mountains Expy, then exit 67 for Bryson City.