Deep Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 3,314' 1,010 m
Descent: -383' -117 m
High: 4,766' 1,453 m
Low: 1,834' 559 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)
Popular runs nearby
Deep Creek to Clingmans Dome
49.5 mi 79.6 km • Point to Point • 9,414 ft Ascent 2869.43 m Ascent
Indian Creek to Deep Creek Loop
10.6 mi 17.0 km • Loop • 1,697 ft Ascent 517.37 m Ascent
Andrews Bald Out and Back
3.6 mi 5.8 km • Out and Back • 806 ft Ascent 245.82 m Ascent
Alum Cave - Cliff Top Out and Back
10.7 mi 17.3 km • Out and Back • 2,773 ft Ascent 845.09 m Ascent
Tsali Frosty Foot 30k
18.6 mi 29.9 km • Point to Point • 2,025 ft Ascent 617.13 m Ascent
Charlies Bunion via Kephart Loop
14.5 mi 23.4 km • Loop • 3,599 ft Ascent 1097 m Ascent
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“A stream-side trek along Deep Creek, complete with farmsteads and hunting camps from a bygone era.”— Ken Wise
Starting at the Deep Creek Falls and Trail Parking Area, travel north along the trail, passing a junction with the Juney Whank Falls Trail as you handrail Deep Creek through lush deciduous forests dense with shrubby undergrowth. Along the early portion of the trail, keep your eyes peeled for swimsuit-clad inner tubers who frequent Deep Creek in the summertime to float its lazy, refreshing waters.
Beyond the first bridge over Deep Creek, the trail passes the western terminus of the Indian Creek Trail before continuing over three more bridge crossings to a junction with the Loop Trail. Head past the Loop Trail through beautiful woodlands rich with mixed hardwoods to Bumgardner Branch Backcountry Campsite (#60).
Past the campsite, follow the trail as it winds around the flanks of a ridge before descending gently back to Deep Creek. Appreciate this small descent if you can, as it’s the only one on the entire trail. From here on out, the trail climbs gently, passing McCracken Branch Backcountry Camp (#59) and Nicks Nest Branch Backcountry Camp (#58) before reaching a junction with the Martins Gap Trail along the southern edge of Bryson Place Backcountry Camp (#57).
From here until its end in a junction with Newfound Gap Road, the trail continues along the creek drainage, climbing past Burnt Spruce Backcountry Camp (#56), Pole Road Backcountry Camp (#55), Nettle Creek Backcountry Camp (#54), and Poke Patch Backcountry Camp (#53), as well as the eastern termini of the Pole Road Creek Trail and the Fork Ridge Trail. Near the trail's end, expect to climb rather strenuously as you switchback your way out of the Deep Creek drainage to the road above.
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.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park