“A good trail for birders who are looking for a loop trail out of the Deep Creek Campground.”
— David Hitchcock
Birding · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Closed when the Deep Creek Campground is closed. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.
This trail is accessed from the Deep Creek Campground, which is in turn accessed from a 1.5 mile journey into the Indian Creek Trail
At the junction with the Indian Creek Trail
, the trail takes a left and follows a small creek as it climbs steadily uphill. The area is wet thanks to the small creek, so you may notice Christmas Fern, Virginia Creeper, and other flowering plants in the area. You climb the ridge, noticing an old stone wall around the halfway point up the climb. The forest changes character as you climb up the drier portion of the ridge. A little after .5 mile, the trail reaches the top of the ridge and the Sunkota Ridge Trail
, which comes in from the right. The Sunkota Ridge Trail
leads to the Thomas Divide Trail
further up the mountain and becomes part of the Mountains to Sea Trail after 3.8 miles. At the junction, the trail has reached the highpoint, the trail having gained 350 feet of elevation since the start.
At this point, the Loop Trail goes straight ahead, but at a descent now. Following the west side of the ridge, you'll see flowering dogwoods, sugar maples, white pines, and other varieties of trees. You'll hear Deep Creek before you see it. The trail ends at the Deep Creek Trail
junction. Turn left to go back to the Deep Creek campground (1.7 miles) and return to your car or tent.
Flora & Fauna
Deer can be seen in places along this trail.
Warblers, Carolina Chickadees, Ruffed Grouse, and other birds are seen in this area of the park.
Dogwoods, Flame azaleas, sourwood, mountain laurel, violets, and other flowering plants can be seen throughout the trip.