The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to many waterfalls and beautiful cascades. With many areas of the Smokies receiving more than 80 inches of rain each year, it's no surprise. Many are in very remote areas. Fortunately on the North Carolina side, we have several to visit that are easy to find near Bryson City and Cherokee. Photo above: Juney Whank waterfall in the Deep Creek Area
All of these waterfalls require a hike or short walk to view. Usually, it's not safe to go in the water near a waterfall. However, in the Deep Creek area, you can tube or wade by one for a very unique experience.
Great Smoky Mountains Waterfalls, North Carolina
Great Smoky Mountains Waterfall Drive
- From Maggie Valley, drive south on U.S. Highway 19 toward Cherokee. In just a few miles, you will pass an entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway. In 1.5 miles past the Parkway, look for a small parking area on the left for Soco Falls (no signs there!). It's a short walk to an observation deck.
- Turn around and go back to the Blue Ridge Parkway and head south toward the Great Smoky Mountains. Drive the Parkway for about 13 miles to the end near the Park entrance. Turn left on US 441 South, then left onto Big Cove Road in about 3/4 mile. Drive about five miles to Mingo Falls.
- Go back toward Cherokee and left onto US 441 South. After you go through Cherokee, turn right onto U.S. 19 South to Bryson City. Before you reach downtown Bryson City, turn right onto Deep Creek Road to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's only about 2.5 miles to the Deep Creek Campground inside the Park, with the parking area for the hiking trail along the creek to Indian Falls, Toms Branch Falls and Juney Whank Falls.
- Drive back to downtown Bryson City for some great restaurants and shops. To return to the Asheville area (60 miles by faster freeway), take U.S. Highway 74 east to I-40 West.
Dogs are not allowed on trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park boundaries - including the Deep Creek area. The other waterfalls featured above allow dogs on a leash.
Be safe near waterfalls since currents can be much stronger than they appear. Never climb on the cliffs by a waterfall since they can have surprise slippery spots that cause you to fall. See out Waterfall Safety Tips for more.