Deep Creek Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Distance12.1mi
Elevation Gain5,767ft
Trailhead Elevation4,760ft
Top4,760ft
Elevation Min/Max1952/4760ft
Elevation Start/End4760/4760ft

Deep Creek Trail

Deep Creek Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Swain County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 12.1 miles long and begins at 4,760 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 24.5 miles with a total elevation gain of 5,767 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. The 59 (elevation 2,316 feet), 56 (elevation 2,438 feet), 54 (elevation 2,582 feet), and 58 (elevation 2,346 feet) camp sites can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Martins Gap Trail, Pole Road Creek Trail and Fork Ridge Trail.

Deep Creek Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This is an exceptional and relatively short hike that offers something interesting at any time of year. In autumn the colorful foliage is superb. From late autumn through early
spring, the lack of foliage exposes Tom Branch Falls, among the more picturesque waterfalls in the park. Wildflowers grow in profusion in the spring. In summer? Ah, summer. In warm weather the first 0.7 mile of this hike is possibly the most popular walk in the entire park.

You’ll see countless people, young and old, hiking along the easy roadbed to Indian Creek Falls. Many of them carry inner tubes to float Deep Creek back to the parking area. You can’t miss the roadside rental businesses vying for your attention as you approach the park’s entrance. Bicycles are allowed along the first couple of miles of Deep Creek Trail and the lower section of Indian Creek Trail. So in summer you’re likely to encounter backpackers, day hikers, fishers, tubers, baby strollers, scooters, and bicyclists."

"This truly great, longer circuit hike starts with what may be the park’s easiest (no doubt handicapped accessible) walk to a spectacular waterfall, Toms Branch Falls, not to mention Indian Creek Falls.

Just driving in to the Deep Creek area conveys an important Smokies’ impression— these summits may not tower like the Tetons, but you sense that there’s a vast wildland ahead that stretches ridge after ridge beyond the park boundary."

"Deep Creek is also a popular spot for waterfall aficionados. About 1000 feet into your hike, you encounter your first waterfall, Toms Branch Falls, which drops 60 feet over several ledges on the opposite side of the river.

The park has even installed a bench so you can sit and watch the action. Because of this and other falls in the area, and because it’s an easily accessible trail, this is also a popular winter hike. It’s also a popular spring hike as well, due to the trillium, Solomon’s seal, false Solomon’s seal, violets, Jack-in-the-pulpit, and assorted other wildflowers along the way. And come autumn, there’s always the fall color in this rich hardwood forest."

"The Deep Creek that most people see is more like a little river, but then most people never venture as far into the headwaters as you will on this hike. Actually, you start on
the headwaters and follow the creek downstream, watching it grow by the mile.

By the time it reaches the Deep Creek Campground area, it’s a major stream, though not any deeper than other park streams. If you like streams, wildflowers, lush forests, and a hike long enough to make you feel that you’ve accomplished something, this is about as good as it gets in the Smokies."

Deep Creek Trail Reviews

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6/8/2018
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2/19/2018
A very picturesque easy to moderate (climb) would gladly return, This time of year (lack of foliage) actually allows you to visualize the cascading water throughout most of the hike which is absolutely beautiful waterfalls and all
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4/15/2017
Great hike to see waterfalls. We also went up the Indian Creek Falls trail a bit to see the Indian Cemetery - definitely worth it.
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11/23/2009
Fantastic! A pleasant hike with beautiful waterfalls, this is why you go to the Great Smoky Mountains.
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6/20/2008
Very enjoyable and easy hike. Can be very short or extensive depending on the loops you take. The entire family can find something on this one.
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Deep Creek Trail Photos

Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Parks
Swimming, Hiking, Camping, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding
Additional Use
Waterfalls, Views
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, (865) 436-1297. www.nps.gov/grsm
Local Contacts
USGS Bryson City; TOPO! North Carolina, South Carolina
Local Maps