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Smoky Mountains > Things to Do > Outdoors > Hiking > Deep Creek Area

Deep Creek Area

Just north of Bryson City, North Carolina, Deep Creek Campground and Ranger Station offer prime vacation campers the wildlife beauty they deserve.  From Deep Creek, you can access Indian Creek Falls, Juney Whank Falls, and many miles of trails that stretch up the mountains to the Clingmans Dome/Newfound Gap area of the Appalachian Trail.

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Juney Whank Falls Trail

Starting at the north end of the Deep Creek Campground, Juney Whank Falls Trail leads no more than 0.4 of a mile to the falls.  Continuing from there, there is a 0.7-mile trail that leads to Indian Creek Falls (also known as Tom Branch Falls).

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Stone Pile Gap Trail

This 0.9-mile trail comes from the Indian Creek Falls/Tom Branch Falls area and connects to the large Thomas Divide Trail.

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Noland Divide Trail

Stretching 11.5 miles, the Noland Divide Trail connects Deep Creek Campground to Clingmans Dome Road.  Going away from the Juney Whank Falls area, the Noland Divide Trail climbs 7.8 miles to the Benton MacKaye Trail, before continuing on 3.7 miles to Clingmans Dome Road.  At the Benton MacKaye Trail intersection, Pole Road Creek Trail is to the right, and Noland Creek Trail is on the left.  Both trails make up sections of the Benton MacKaye Trail.

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Deep Creek Trail

One of the longest trails in the Deep Creek Area, the trail runs 16.5 miles from the Campground to Newfound Gap Road, just south of the actual gap.  Deep Creek Trail offers access to a lot of backcountry campsites in the park, which can be reserved by calling (865) 436-1231. 

From the campground, the first two miles will take you to the Indian Creek/Tom Branch Falls area.  Hiking north one more mile will bring you to the Loop Trail intersection.  From here, the Deep Creek trail stretches 4.3 miles, passing by Campsites #60, #59, and #58, before meeting Martins Gap Trail on the right.  Campsite #57 is at this trail intersection.  Also, at the Martins Gap Trail intersection, the Deep Creek Trail becomes a section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  The trail continues up the mountain to Campsite #56, with the Pole Road Creek Trail branching off to the left a few feet above that.  Next, the Deep Creek/Mountains-to-Sea Trail continues 3.6 more miles, passing by Campsites #55 and #54 before coming to Campsite #53, where the trail meets the Fork Ridge Trail on the left.  Here, the Deep Creek Trail loses its Mountains-to-Sea Trail status and climbs another 3.9 miles to U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road).

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Pole Road Creek Trail

A 3.3-mile section of the Benton MacKaye Trail that helps link Noland Divide Trail to Deep Creek Trail.

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Fork Ridge Trail

Branching off from the Deep Creek Trail at Campsite #53, this section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail leads 5.1 miles uphill to the Clingmans Dome Road/Appalachian Trail.  A person can access Fork Ridge Trail from the road at the top.  Most hikers use this trail to start their Mountains-to-Sea Trail hike.

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Martins Gap Trail

This 3-mile section of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail links the Deep Creek Trail to the Indian Creek Trail, with the Sunkota Ridge Trail in between.

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Loop Trail

This little trail links Deep Creek Trail to the Indian Creek Trail, with Sunkota Ridge Trail branching off from it about midways.  No mileage is available for this trail.  It is probably no less than a mile from end to end.

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Sunkota Ridge Trail

Branching off the Loop Trail midways, the Sunkota Ridge Trail works its way uphill 3.8 miles to the Martins Gap Trail/Indian Creek Trail intersection.  Martins Gap Trail is on the left, and Indian Creek Trail comes in from the right.  At this intersection, the Sunkota Ridge Trail becomes part of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, winding its way 4.9 more miles to the intersection of the Thomas Divide Trail.  The Sunkota Ridge Trail totals 8.7 miles overall.

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Indian Creek Trail

The Indian Creek Trail starts from the Indian Creek Falls/Tom Branch Falls area off the Stone Pile Gap Trail.  Going uphill to the Loop Trail intersection, the trail stretches from there 2.2 miles to where Deeplow Gap Trail branches to the right.  After this, the trail goes 0.7 miles to Campsite #46.  From the campsite, Indian Creek Trail connects 1.5 miles later to the Sunkota Ride Trail/Mountains-to-Sea Trail.  The Indian Creek Trail totals 4.4 miles, not including the mileage from the falls to the Loop Trail.

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Deeplow Gap Trail

The Deeplow Gap Trail is mainly used as a connecter trail in the Deep Creek area.  Branching to the right off of Indian Creek Trail, Deeplow Gap Trail goes a little distance to Campsite #51.  Before this, Indian Creek Motor Trail meets up with it from the right.  From this trail intersection, Deeplow Gap Trail runs 1.8 miles to where it intersects Thomas Divide Trail.  After this, Deeplow Gap Trail runs 1.5 miles to where Cooper Creek Trail branches off of it to the right.  From there, the trail continues 2.4 miles to the Mingus Creek Trail/Mountains-to-Sea Trail section.  The Deeplow Gap Trail totals a little over 5.8 miles.  Other sites list it as being 6.2 miles in length.

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Thomas Divide Trail

At the Deep Creek Campground, there is an unpaved road that leads away from the falls area.  The Thomas Divide Trail starts at the end of this road.  Totaling 13.8 miles, it is the second-longest trail in the Deep Creek area, just behind the Deep Creek Trail.  This trail is used to not only get to other trails, but to also link the Deep Creek campground to the switchback area of Newfound Gap Road. 

The trail begins from the unpaved road and goes 1.1 miles, where the Stone Pile Gap Trail branches off to the left.  Going 2.1 miles further, the Indian Creek Motor Trail branches off to the left.  From here the Thomas Divide Trail goes 2.4 miles to where it intersects with the Deeplow Gap Trail.  After this, the trail climbs 3.1 miles to Newton Bald around Campsite #52.  From here, the Thomas Divide Trail goes about 0.5 miles along the Mountains-to-Sea Trail before branching off from it to the right, where the Mountains-to-Seas Trail continues to the left as the Sunkota Ridge Trail.  There is then a 2.8-mile section to where it meets Kanati Fork Trail on the right.  The last section of trail climbs up 1.8 miles to Newfound Gap Road.

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Indian Creek Motor Trail

This 1.8-mile trail links Thomas Divide Trail with Deeplow Gap Trail around Campsite #51.  It is very important that hikers do not confuse Indian Creek Motor Trail and the actual Indian Creek Trail.  Also, Indian Creek Motor Trail is just a footpath, not an actual road for vehicles.

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Cooper Creek Trail

A small trail leading off of Deeplow Gap Trail near the southern park boundary.  This trail is only 0.5 miles long in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but continues on into the Cherokee Indian Reservation, where it follows the Cooper Creek.

View the main Smoky Mountain Trails here 

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