One of the best ways to spend a day, or afternoon, in Bryson City is at Deep Creek. With three waterfalls, and a lazy river perfect for tubing, it’s a fun way to get outdoors.
The hikes to all three waterfalls are short and relatively easy. Tubing takes a little effort, as you need to carry your tubes to the launch spots. But, in this guide we’ll talk about the various drop in spots along the trail so you know what to expect.
If you are only hiking, park in the Deep Creek Falls and Trail Parking lot. It’s the last one on the left, but fills up quickly. For tubing, we prefer to park in the picnic area.
You won’t want to bring your tubes up to this first waterfall. However, it’s easy to see the other two waterfalls on your way to the drop in spots.
After your visit at the falls, you can continue straight at the fork to Indian Creek Falls on Deep Creek Horse Trail. Alternatively, use the right loop of Juney Whack Falls to get back to the river, which is what we do.
Hiking To Tom Branch Falls - Deep Creek
Tom Branch Falls is the easiest to see out of the three waterfalls in the area, and also my favorite. Though it’s best to catch it after a rain.
The trail is flat, wide and only about .2 of a mile from the parking lot. Leading into the river is a nice platform to sit and watch the tubers float by.
Lots of the tubers jump in at this spot, not realizing it’s the very last section of the river. If you have the energy, keep going.
Same for the hikers, there’s still one more waterfall.
Tubing From The Bridge At Deep Creek
About .2 of a mile further, past Tom Branch Falls, is the first spot to consider starting your tubing ride. Cross the bridge and put your tubes in before or after the bridge.
This is the second half of the river, the gentler half. If you have tiny tots with you, this is probably the best area to start in.
It’s also best value. After this, the trail winds uphill. So, if you want the river, and don’t mind skipping the rapids, this is a good place to start.
Otherwise, keep going.
Tubing The Rapids At Deep Creek
After another .3 miles from the bridge (.7 from the parking lot), you’ll come to a split in the trail with a No Tubing Beyond This Point sign. This is it!
If you’re hiking to Indian Creek Falls, this is where you’ll follow the path to the right for a little ways.
When you get in the Deep Creek river, stay to the left for the very first section. This is where the current runs.
Lots of folks go as far over to the right as they can, to get into the river. This forces you over to the right side of the stream and straight into the rock maze which slows you down.
Enjoy your ride! Most folks ride down to the picnic area.
Hiking To Indian Creek Falls - Deep Creek
To find the last waterfall at Deep Creek, Indian Creek Waterfall, follow the trail up to the right at the No Tubing Beyond This Point sign.
Within 200 feet you’ll find a set of steep steps down to the waterfall.
To get back to the parking lot, follow the trail along the river, the way you came. Alternatively, you can cross the little bridge at the No Tubing sign and follow Deep Creek Horse Trail for 1 mile.
Answering Your Questions About Deep Creek
Where To Get Tubing Rafts
As you approach the park, there’s around a dozen places (in summer) renting tubes for very reasonable prices (about $6-7 a day). Most of them will help you rope the tubes to your car to get you into the park.
We’ve previously rented from JJ’s Tubes. It’s a family owned business that’s been around since 1978. We found them fair and friendly.
Tip: BRING CASH. Few businesses in the area accept credit cards.
What To Bring Tubing
- Bathing suit – or, clothes you’re comfortable being wet in.
- Water Shoes – with so many rocks, you need something to protect your feet.
- Eco-Friendly Sunscreen
- Sunglasses secured with eyeglasses head strap
- Hair tie or hat
Is Tubing Safe For Kids?
The second half of the river is relatively calm, on most days, check the river as you make your walk up. But, even the second half of the river is not rock free. Also note, there are no lifeguards.
Saying that, one of the best things you can do is get a tether with your tube rental, most of the time this is free. This ensures your kid doesn’t go flying down the river without you.
You may also consider having them wear a life jacket, especially if they can’t swim.
Are Dogs Allowed At Deep Creek?
As Deep Creek is part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, dogs are not allowed on the National Park trails.
Dogs are only allowed in the Deep Creek campground, picnic areas, and along the roads, but must be on a lead at all times.
Where To Stay For Deep Creek
Bryson City is one areas to stay has plenty of options for accommodation. Also, there tons of camping areas in and around the park.
What Else Is There To Do Near Deep Creek?
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