Located on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Deep Creek area is a favorite for visitors who love to be outdoors. Whether you enjoy biking, hiking, fishing, camping or just enjoying a picnic outside, this area has plenty for you to do.
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Since the Deep Creek area of the Park is well known for its many streams and waterfalls, there is plenty of fun to be had on the water. Adventure junkies who want to take a ride down the stream on a tube can rent one from several rental companies located in the area. There are two distinct sections available for tubing based on your age and swimming ability – the lower section is wider and calmer, making it appropriate for all ages and levels, while the upper section that begins at Indian Creek and flows through the Deep Creek Gorge offers a rougher ride and is more appropriate for adults and good swimmers.
Those who would rather take in the beauty of the waterfalls and the surrounding scenery from dry land can choose from several different hiking trails, ranging from short strolls to all-day hikes. All the trails begin at the Deep Creek Road parking area and visit area falls such as Tom Branch Falls, Juney Whank Falls and Indian Creek Falls. The trails range from a short ¼ mile hike all the way to a 5 mile loop, and connect with a larger network of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains Park.
The large number of streams and waterfalls in this area also provide ample opportunities for those that love to fish. A NC fishing license is required to fish here, but they can easily be purchased in a nearby community or online before you make your trip. You can also pick up a copy of the Park’s fishing regulations at the Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center.
Then, after you finish a long day of hiking, tubing and fishing, it’s time to relax for a picnic along the banks of the Deep Creek. There is a large picnic area with restrooms and changing rooms that is open year-round, as well as a camping area that is open from early April until late October. Individual and group campsites are available, as well as a few designated “backcountry” campsites along Deep Creek Trail, which are available to use by permit only. There are also plenty of private campgrounds located in nearby Bryson City, just outside of the Park.
Although pets are not allowed on the hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they are allowed at the Deep Creek Campground, as well as the picnic areas and along roads, as long as they are kept on a leash.