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Deeplow Gap Trail

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

6.1 mile 9.9 kilometer point to point
77% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 2,146' 654 m
Descent: -1,002' -305 m
High: 3,692' 1,125 m
Low: 2,430' 741 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Trail shared by Ken Wise

A mountainous trail through waterfalls and wildflowers to rewarding views atop Deeplow Gap.

Ken Wise

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Description

Above the confluence of Georges Branch and Indian Creek, the Deeplow Gap Trail exits the Indian Creek Trail on a wide jeep track leading into a drainage, where it crosses Georges Branch on a wooden bridge, while traversing a bottomland, before heading up the flank of Thomas Divide. At this juncture, the trail turns left and follows an older roadbed probing deeper into the Georges Branch drainage. The jeep track, at this point, becomes the Indian Creek Motor Trail.

Above its intersection with the Indian Creek Motor Trail, the Deeplow Gap Trail intersects an access path to the Georges Branch Backcountry Campsite (#51).

Beyond the Georges Branch Camp, the trail remains on the roadbed, advancing deeper into the watershed until it leaves the roadbed, turning up to the right and onto a steep, rocky course ascending the western flank of Thomas Divide.

After ascending for some time, the Deeplow Gap Trail reaches its namesake, intersecting the Thomas Divide Trail before steeply descending the east side of Deeplow Gap.

On the downward course, the trail wanders through dense vegetation before settling into the Little Creek drainage. Following the drainage, the trail eventually reaches the top of Little Creek Falls and proceeds to a sharp switchback that directs the trail back to the base of the falls.

Beyond the falls, the trail continues its steep descent, switchbacking below the falls on a course back to Little Creek for another crossing. The grade moderates as the trail negotiates two feeder streams and then enters a bottomland where it intersects the upper terminus of the Cooper Creek Trail.

From here, the Deeplow Gap Trail turns left onto a roadbed following Cooper Creek. After a few wet stream crossings, the trail enters gentler terrain. Skeletal remains of rotting timbers and two chimneys mark the site of an old farmhouse along the right side of the trail.

Upon passing the farm clearing, the course continues its gentle climb, negotiating more feeder streams before easing onto a grassy track that is smooth and soft underfoot. Above the clearing, Cooper Creek is crossed again on a footlog. The trail then leaves the stream, executing a sharp switchback that redirects the course out of the creek bottom and up the steep flank of the adjacent ridge. The Deeplow Gap Trail terminates at the ridge-crest, where it intersects the Mingus Creek Trail.

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

Rhododendron, mountain laurel, and dog-hobble are abundant along the trail.

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Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 2 votes

#8

in Deep Creek

#17635

Overall
  3.5 from 2 votes
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Trail Rankings

#8

in Deep Creek

#681

in North Carolina

#17,635

Overall
16 Views Last Month
606 Since Aug 2, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

The Mingus Creek Trail where it intersects with the Deeplow Gap Trail.  This area is typical of the dry ridges found in the Smokies.
Nov 25, 2017 near Cherokee, NC

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