Deep Creek Waterfall Hike

Indian Creek Falls - GSMNP

Three wonderful waterfalls on one Great Smoky Mountains National Park hike

Deep Creek is one of the most beloved areas in the Smokies, known for offering the opportunity to see three beautiful waterfalls. Take a 5-mile loop hike to see them all or craft a shorter hike. Deep Creek is also known for its popular tubing sections -- one of which passes directly in front of one of the waterfalls!

The Deep Creek trail was an old logging road used around the turn of the 20th century. Splash dams were built along the creek to float timber down to the sawmills in the area.  

What to Expect

From the trailhead, you’ll see a sign indicating the distance to Tom Branch Falls (.2 mile), the Indian Creek Trail (.7 mile) and the Loop Trail (1.7 miles) that cuts through a ridge and valley to bring you back to the Deep Creek Trail.

Tom Branch Falls Deep Creek AreaThe main trail is generally wide and flat, following Deep Creek directly most of the way. The first point of interest is 80-foot Tom Branch Falls, to the right of the trail after about a 5-minute walk. Continuing on, you’ll reach the Indian Creek Trail at around .7 mile. Turn right onto the trail. After a brief walk, you’ll see a spur trail to Indian Creek Falls on the left, which is worth the brief detour. These 45-foot falls are wider and more impressive than Tom Branch falls. Head back to the Indian Creek Trail after viewing the falls.

Juney Whank Falls Deep Creek AreaAfter about another mile, you’ll come to the Loop Trail on your left. This is the only part of the trail that contains any significant elevation rise and would be considered moderate to strenuous for some. It’s a fairly narrow trail with some roots and rises. You’ll pass the Sunkota Ridge Trail and start descending back toward the Deep Creek Trail, at which point you’ll turn left onto it, over a footbridge. At this point, the trail is once again wide and flat. You’ll have the option to take a spur trail to Juney Whank Falls (an 80-foot falls) or continue back to the parking lot.

Directions

Take I-240 West to I-40 West. Take Exit 27, US-74 Great Smokies Expressway. Take Exit 67 toward Bryson City. You’ll be on Veteran’s Boulevard. Take that to downtown and turn right onto Main Street. Turn right onto Everett Street, then right on Water Street which will turn into Toot Hollow Road. Take Toot Hollow Road about 4 miles to the Deep Creek Falls Trail and parking area, past the campgrounds (which are on the right)

Know Before You Go

The Deep Creek area is very popular for visitors and locals and can be very busy during the summer. Trail (and parking lot) traffic eases up in all other seasons. If you do visit during the summer, you’ll note a drop off in foot traffic once you reach the Indian Creek Trail.

Hike Details

Difficulty: Easy to Moderately Strenuous

Distance from Asheville: About 65 miles, 1 hour 25 minutes

Length: 5-miles loop (or shorter if only doing sections) 

Region: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Duration of Hike: 2-3 hours

Elevation Gain: 847 feet

Pet-Friendly? No; Pets are prohibited on trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Multiple Use? Camping, horses, bikes allowed where indicated

Blazes? 

None

Facilities & Parking: Parking lot at trail head with facilities

Natural Features: Waterfalls, wildflowers, hardwood forest

GPS Coordinates
35.464349, -83.434607

Photos by Jason Tarr of ExploreAsheville.com

 

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