Deep Creek is our favorite hiking area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as it offers a big variety of scenery, including three waterfalls. Located just a few miles from downtown Bryson City, Deep Creek is a popular summer spot for camping and tubing. During the other months, the crowds leave for a much quieter trek along the whitewater rapids. This is one of our top winter hiking destinations since it's a lower elevation that receives little snow. No pets are allowed on these trails. Read more about the Deep Creek area.
To see all three waterfalls, you have several options for hiking routes. The shortest option is 2.4 miles. The Deep Creek-Indian Creek Loop is 5 miles.
Tom Branch Falls is an easy 1/4-mile walk from the parking area. There's plenty of seating to watch the waterfalls and summer tubers drift by. These photos were taken after a rain, so water flow is often lower.
Go another 1/3-mile to Indian Creek Falls, with a slight uphill walk by the rushing Deep Creek. Look for the Indian Creek Trail on the right, walk a short distance and turn left on a spur trail to the base of the 25-ft. waterfall in a cove. From there, you can continue on Indian Creek Trail to the Loop Trail that takes you back to Deep Creek Trail (part of the 5-mile loop). Return to Deep Creek Trail the way you came. Or, return to Deep Creek Trail and take a right to the Horse Trail that will take you to Juney Whank Falls (part of the 2.4-mile loop). See map below.
To sit atop this bridge across the 90-ft. Juney Whank waterfall, you can include it in a loop hike or go directly there from the parking area - just 1/3-mile uphill hike. The Juney Whank Trail ends at Horse Trail on both ends, creating a short loop that takes you to the top of the waterfall also. The falls are said to be named after a Mr. Junaluska "Juney" Whank, who may be buried in the area.
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.
Find much to do! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries, or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in the Smokies features camping, hiking, trout fishing and the ever-popular tubing. Raft the Nantahala River. And that's just the beginning!
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