Indian Creek Falls
|Trail Features:||Waterfalls, Wildflowers|
|Trail Location:||Deep Creek|
|Roundtrip Length:||1.9 Miles|
|Total Elevation Gain:||150 Feet|
|Avg. Elev Gain / Mile:||158 Feet|
|Highest Elevation:||1998 Feet|
|Trail Difficulty Rating:||2.20 (easy)|
|Parking Lot Latitude||35.4643|
|Parking Lot Longitude||-83.4342|
Directions to Trailhead:
The trailhead for Indian Creek Falls is
located just north
of Bryson City, North Carolina. From the intersection of Hwy 441 and
Route 19 in Cherokee, drive 10 miles south on Rt. 19 to Everett Street in Bryson
City. Turn right onto Everett and drive 0.2 miles, and then turn right onto Depot
Street. After a short distance, take a left onto Ramseur Street and then an
immediate right onto Deep Creek Road. Drive 2.3 miles to the Great Smoky
Mountains National Park entrance, and then another 0.5 mile to the parking area for the
trailhead to Indian Creek Falls.
Indian Creek Falls is accessed via the Deep Creek Trail. It was one of the first trails constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the newly legislated park in the early 1930s. The current Deep Creek Campground was also the site of the Deep Creek CCC Camp from 1933 to 1936.
In 1910 Horace Kephart, author of Our Southern Highlanders, lived for a short while with the Bob Barnett family in one of the last houses along the upper portions of Deep Creek. Until his death, as a result of an automobile accident in 1931, he used the old Bryson Place as his summertime camping spot. A permanent marker, near Backcountry Campsite 57 located just north of the junction between the Deep Creek Trail and Martins Gap Trail, now commemorates the site.
The trail begins as a wide path as it traces Deep Creek upstream. Rewards are almost immediate on this trail. Just three-tenths of a mile from the trailhead, 80-foot Toms Branch Falls (see picture on the right) spills down into the creek from the opposite bank. The park service has provided several benches for admiring these beautiful falls.
Wildflowers are also quite abundant along the trail. As you proceed to Indian Creek Falls you'll find a variety of trilliums, blooming at different times throughout the spring, as well as foamflower, galax, crested dwarf iris, beard tongue, Solomon's seal, cinquefoil, bloodroot, bluets and blue-eyed grass. Jack-in-the-pulpit is also abundant, but is sometimes hard to locate among the wild geranium, clinton's lily and the large houstonia.
To reach Indian Creek Falls, continue beyond Toms Branch Falls for another half-mile, and then turn right onto Indian Creek Trail. After walking just one-tenth of a mile there's a short spur trail on your left that will lead you down to the 45-foot waterfall. If you were to climb back to the main trail and walk a short distance up the trail, you'll notice that Indian Creek Falls is actually more of a water slide than a true waterfall.
If you're looking for additional adventure in this area, hikers have the option of continuing along this same trail to access the Deep Creek Loop trail, which would add another 2.4 miles to your total roundtrip mileage.
As an option for another easy hike, Juney Whank Falls is also in the area, and can be accessed from the same parking area.