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A stream-side trek along Deep Creek, complete with farmsteads and hunting camps from a bygone era.


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Map Key

14.3

Miles

23.1

KM

93%

Runnable

4,766' 1,453 m

High

1,834' 559 m

Low

3,314' 1,010 m

Up

383' 117 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek

Description

Travel along the Deep Creek Trail for a wonderful experience following Deep Creek to its source. Along the way, runners will pass numerous backcountry campsites on land that previously housed farmsteads, bear-hunting encampments, and fishing outposts.

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.

Flora & Fauna

Eastern hemlock, white pine, yellow poplar, cucumber tree, American beech, yellow birch, sugar maple, ash, sycamore, white basswood, and yellow buckeye command the canopy, while rhododendron, dog-hobble, and mountain laurel occupy the understory.

Contacts

Shared By:

Ken Wise

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 7 votes

#3

in Deep Creek

#11656

Overall
  3.9 from 7 votes
5 Star
29%
4 Star
43%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
14%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#3

in Deep Creek

#450

in North Carolina

#11,656

Overall
10 Views Last Month
4,131 Since Aug 2, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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29%
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Photos

Toms Branch Falls
Sep 3, 2015 near Bryson…, NC
Rock hopping on the Deep Creek Trail.
Jul 9, 2020 near Bryson…, NC
Deep Creek Trail
Jul 9, 2020 near Bryson…, NC
Old Growth forest on Deep Creek Trail
Jul 9, 2020 near Bryson…, NC
Found the creek on Deep Creek Trail.
Jul 9, 2020 near Bryson…, NC
Deep Creek Trail
Jul 9, 2020 near Bryson…, NC

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 78 days ago
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Check-Ins

May 13, 2017
Anna Walker
Really enjoyed my first run in the Smoky Mountains, camped just outside of the park and ran to the trailhead. 12.5mi
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