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Deep Creek Trail

Difficult
 3.6 (5)

A stream-side trek along Deep Creek, complete with farmsteads and hunting camps from a bygone era.


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Map Key

14.3

Miles

23.1

KM

Point to Point

4,766' 1,453 m

High

1,834' 559 m

Low

3,314' 1,010 m

Up

383' 117 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek

Description

Travel along the Deep Creek Trail for a wonderful experience following Deep Creek to its source. Along the way, hikers will pass numerous backcountry campsites on land that previously housed farmsteads, bear-hunting encampments, and fishing outposts.

Starting at the Deep Creek Falls and Trail Parking Area, travel north along the trail, passing a junction with the Juney Whank Falls Trail as you handrail Deep Creek through lush deciduous forests dense with shrubby undergrowth. Along the early portion of the trail, keep your eyes peeled for swimsuit-clad inner tubers who frequent Deep Creek in the summertime to float its lazy, refreshing waters.

Beyond the first bridge over Deep Creek, the trail passes the western terminus of the Indian Creek Trail before continuing over three more bridge crossings to a junction with the Loop Trail. Head past the Loop Trail through beautiful woodlands rich with mixed hardwoods to Bumgardner Branch Backcountry Campsite (#60).

Past the campsite, follow the trail as it winds around the flanks of a ridge before descending gently back to Deep Creek. Appreciate this small descent if you can, as it’s the only one on the entire trail. From here on out, the trail climbs gently, passing McCracken Branch Backcountry Camp (#59) and Nicks Nest Branch Backcountry Camp (#58) before reaching a junction with the Martins Gap Trail along the southern edge of Bryson Place Backcountry Camp (#57).

From here until its end in a junction with Newfound Gap Road, the trail continues along the creek drainage, climbing past Burnt Spruce Backcountry Camp (#56), Pole Road Backcountry Camp (#55), Nettle Creek Backcountry Camp (#54), and Poke Patch Backcountry Camp (#53), as well as the eastern termini of the Pole Road Creek Trail and the Fork Ridge Trail. Near the trail's end, expect to climb rather strenuously as you switchback your way out of the Deep Creek drainage to the road above.

This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here.

Flora & Fauna

Eastern hemlock, white pine, yellow poplar, cucumber tree, American beech, yellow birch, sugar maple, ash, sycamore, white basswood, and yellow buckeye command the canopy, while rhododendron, dog-hobble, and mountain laurel occupy the understory.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ken Wise

Trail Ratings

  3.6 from 5 votes

#6

in Deep Creek

#18198

Overall
  3.6 from 5 votes
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Trail Rankings

#6

in Deep Creek

#676

in North Carolina

#18,198

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Photos

Toms Branch Falls
Sep 3, 2015 near Bryson…, NC
Enjoying the Deep Creek Trail.
Jul 27, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
A fly fisherman trying to rip some lips on Indian Creek.
Jul 29, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
Camp 56
Sep 10, 2017 near Bryson…, NC
Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains NP.
Jul 27, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
My boot prints tell you I was way too close. In fact I stepped on him. Just past camp 54. The grass is tall so watch out!
Jul 17, 2016 near Bryson…, NC

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Check-Ins

Jun 21, 2020
Tom Hanson
3 tough climbs right out of the campsite. Then down to the crusher-run trail for the last 2.5 miles to the Deep Creek campground. The trail is mo… 6.3mi
Jun 20, 2020
Tom Hanson
Hiked southbound from US 441 to Campsite 59. numerous blowouts and water crossings. Don't let the description fool you. This isn't a walk in the wo… 8mi
Jun 20, 2018
Scott Salter
Upper section above last Deep Creek crossing is in very bad shape due to a horse having been ridden on the trail. Many downed trees also. 3mi — 2h 00m
Apr 26, 2018
Bethany Irvin
1mi
Dec 5, 2017
John Findlay
Have only been as far as the first campground 5mi
Oct 29, 2017
Haley Howerin
9mi
May 28, 2017
Joe King
Apr 15, 2017
Chris Duemmel
1.7mi