“A smooth and inviting hike along stream-sides with a gentle grade.”
— Ken Wise
River/Creek · Waterfall
The gentle grade makes this a good outing for older kids who are comfortable on longer trails.
The Indian Creek Trail affords one of the easiest and most pleasant stream-side excursions in the park. From start to finish, it follows a smooth, wide roadbed over a slight grade. The trail begins from a wide intersection with the Deep Creek Trail
close to the confluence of Indian and Deep creeks and immediately alongside the concrete bridge where the Deep Creek Trail
crosses Indian Creek.
A hundred yards above the trailhead, an access path on the left descends sharply twenty yards to the base of Indian Creek Falls. Here, the stream thunders over ledges arranged like steps of a colossal stairway before reaching a sharply pitched incline of smooth rock. Below, the water collects in an agitated boil before surging down through a channel to join Deep Creek. Because of the inherent attractiveness of the display of cascading water, the area is heavily worn by visitors.
A hundred and twenty-five yards above the access to Indian Creek Falls, the trail crosses the stream on a wooden bridge and begins following an old wagon road. Three-quarters of a mile in, the trail intersects the eastern terminus of the Loop Trail
. A little more than a half-mile beyond this intersection, the Queen Branch flows into Indian Creek just below the trail to the right. Just opposite, the Laney Cemetery Access
path leads to the left.
From here, the trail passes along the upper side of an extended bottomland. Along the way, a few faint foundations and discarded household items are all that remains of previous homesteads. Just before the second of three bridge crossings, an access pass to the right leads 400 yards up to the Upper Indian Creek Cemetery (also know as Queen Cemetery). Shortly after the third bridge crossing, the trail intersects with the western terminus of the Deeplow Gap Trail
. Here, the grade appreciates noticeably, rising steadily into a forest of yellow buckeye and white basswood.
The trail continues just shy of three-quarters of a mile, making three additional bridge crossings before entering a wide turnaround that marks the trail’s upper terminus. The top of the turnaround intersects the eastern terminus of the Martins Gap Trail
. To the right, an access path leads to the recently established Backcountry Camp 46, Estes Branch.
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
Various tree species surround the trail including: eastern hemlocks, yellow buckeyes, dog-hobble, and white basswood.