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Deep Creek Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (21) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

If you're hoping to see the highlights of the park in a shorter loop, this route is for you!


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Map Key

5.1

Miles

8.2

KM

Loop

2,379' 725 m

High

1,828' 557 m

Low

847' 258 m

Up

854' 260 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

21%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly This route is fairly mellow to navigate, and if your youngsters are up for the distance, they'll enjoy seeing waterfalls along the way!

Overview

This lovely loop is perfect for visitors who have an abbreviated time schedule or who want to see some of Great Smoky Mountain's highlights in a shorter loop. In this route, visitors will be able to enjoy three scenic waterfalls and take in the quiet forests that have made the park famous.

Description

The route begins from the Deep Creek Trailhead, where visitors will find ample parking. Visitors spending the night at the Deep Creek Campground will also have close access, as heading north toward Tom Branch Road will bring you shortly to the trailhead.

Start your journey on the Deep Creek Trail. The beginning of this trail is fairly relaxed, and you'll find yourself meandering through dense forests that closely follow Deep Creek. Before long, the babble of the creek will turn to a roar, and you'll know that you're approaching Tom Branch Falls. This first waterfall is 60 ft. in height, and the sight is one that's well worth stopping for. Enjoy the views and the cacophonous sound of the waterfalls before moving on.

As you continue down the Deep Creek Trail, you'll notice that crowds begin to thin. Take in the lush forest around you as you continue on to an intersection with the Indian Creek Trail. Take a right onto the Indian Creek Trail, where shortly after you'll be able to see Indian Creek Falls. This waterfall is about 25 ft in height and is more of a cascade than a single fall. This creates an equally dramatic scene as the Tom Branch Falls, and offers something different for hikers working their way along the full route. Once you've thoroughly enjoyed the falls, continue on the Indian Creek Trail.

As you continue, you'll notice that the crowds melt away, and you'll be left with serene Great Smoky solitude instead. Take your time and enjoy the sounds of Indian Creek as you continue on your way. Soon enough, you'll come to an intersection with the Loop Trail, where you'll turn left to being heading northwest.

While the bottom portion of the Loop Trail is lush with creek-side vegetation, you'll notice that the local flora begins to change as you climb away from the creek. Take note of the beautiful wildflowers along the way before the area becomes too dry to support them. You'll be climbing through this portion of the hike, so expect your heart rate to rise. The trail is well maintained, however, so footing won't be a problem.

Eventually, the trail will dead-end at an intersection with the Deep Creek Trail. You'll again be nearing Deep Creek, and you can expect the vegetation to change accordingly. Descend the Deep Creek Trail by turning left and heading southwest. The trail will continue to be easy to navigate, and this is an enjoyable route. Take in the sounds of falling waters.

When the trail comes to an intersection with the Deep Creek Horse Trail, take it as it heads west (to the right). This wide doubletrack is quite pleasant to navigate, and you'll be able to enjoy hiking along the way while also taking in the forest around you. Especially spectacular in the fall, you won't have to keep such a close eye on your footing, allowing you to take in sweeping views. Soon, you'll come upon the Juney Whank Falls. This loop saves the best for last, and you won't be disappointed by this spectacular waterfall! With two main drops, Juney Whank Falls is nearly 90 ft in total. There is a scenic footbridge located at the juncture of the two portions of the fall, and this is an excellent place to stop for photos.

Once you've had your fill of the waterfall, continue heading south on the Juney Whank Falls Trail, which will end at the trailhead and your vehicle.

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

Visitors will see many local residents, ranging from low-growing shrubs to towering deciduous trees.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ken Wise

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 21 votes

#3

in Deep Creek

#1134

Overall
  4.0 from 21 votes
5 Star
24%
4 Star
62%
3 Star
10%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Deep Creek

#1,134

Overall
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4,404 Since Aug 4, 2016
Intermediate

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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
Some log hopping!
Jul 27, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
Heading to Juney Whank Falls on a perfect fall day.
Jul 27, 2016 near Bryson…, NC
Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains NP.
Jul 27, 2016 near Bryson…, NC

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May 21, 2021
Allison K
5.1mi
Feb 19, 2021
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JTRFSK Morning.
Jan 14, 2021
Gerald Marku
Nov 16, 2020
Peter Frumoff
Nov 2, 2020
Danielle Reino
Oct 7, 2020
Garrett S
Sep 26, 2020
Carter Abel
5.4mi — 1h 57m
May 21, 2020
Jason Duncan
3h 30m