Deep Creek Waterfall Loop (12-17-11)
The Deep Creek area sits on the "quiet side of the Smokies", although in the Smokies 'quiet' is a relative term. Deep Creek flows out of the mountains emerging just outside the small town of Bryson City. After passing a half dozen or so rafting businesses on the drive in and with the knowledge of a developed campground and some of the most popular horse trails being up ahead, we had no illusions about solitude on this hike. At Deep Creek, however, it can almost be tolerated as the area is home to no less than three unique waterfalls that you can visit along a very family-friendly 2-mile loop.
Starting at the main parking area the Deep Creek Trail heads upstream passing Tom's Branch Falls and, soon thereafter Indian Springs Falls a short ways up Indian Creek Trail about a half mile from the parking area. From Indian Creek we'd loop back to the car via the 1-ish mile Deep Creek Horse Trail and Juneywhank Falls (a name my spell check hates:). We hit the trail on a cool December morning that had seem some snow in the higher elevations. No worries down below, however, as the warm morning sunshine and the excitement of a return to the Smoky Mountains after a 5-year hiatus fueled our steps for a pleasant couple of hours in the hills...
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 35.464728, -83.433686
Route Type: Loop + spur Difficulty: EASY
Hike Length: 2.4 miles Hike Duration: 2:00
Min. Elevation: 1,650' Max. Elevation: 2,220'
Total Vertical: 650' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 271'
Trails Used (blaze color): Deep Creek (unblazed), Deep Creek Horse (unblazed), Indian Creek (unblazed), Juneywhank Falls (unblazed)