Bryson City, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, Parks, photos, Staying Active

Deep Creek Hiking Trail

The Deep Creek Loop Trail, which is located just outside of Bryson City, North Carolina, is a moderately difficult, 4.6 mile roundtrip hike with rewarding water views, plentiful wildflowers, and peaceful river sounds.

This loop hike takes you past three great waterfalls. Approximately 0.8 miles into the trail, turn right onto the Indian Creek Trail – this marks the beginning of the trail loop.

The first waterfall on the hike is Tom Branch Falls, an easy 1/4 mile from the parking area. The path is nice and wide. You will even find benches next to the water.

Approximately 0.8 miles into the trail, turn right onto the Indian Creek Trail – this marks the beginning of the trail loop. One-tenth of a mile after this junction, you will see a small trail on your left side – this trail leads down to a beautiful 45-foot waterfall and is well worth the jaunt. You take a slight detour off your trail to head uphill and then downhill to be at the base of the falls. This is very near the put-in point for any tubing. After rejoining the main Deep Creek Trail, it hits the horse trail and heads uphill. There are also a few bridges to cross. Continue hiking over a footbridge and past the Rhododendron-rich Indian River Valley on your right. Around 1.4 miles, you will reach a junction in the trail – continue straight ahead (one mile to the right is the Thomas Divide). When you get to the 1.7-mile point, there is an intersection with the Deep Creek Loop – turn left to stay on the loop and ascend 350 feet over the next half-mile.

Next, you will reach the Sunkota Ridge junction at around the 2.2 mile mark – to stay on the loop trail, continue straight ahead. This is the highpoint in the Deep Creek Loop trail and it is downhill or flat hiking from here! At approximately 2.9 miles, you will reach the Deep Creek Trail again – turn left. Now, you will continue across a footbridge.

The trail culminates in the Juney Whank falls. It’s a quick downhill walk from there to the parking lot. You can just sit on the bench, built into the bridge with Juney Whank falls running beneath us.

Directions to Trailhead:
From Gatlinburg, drive into the National Park on the main Parkway. When you pass the Sugarlands Visitor Center on your right, take note of your mileage and continue 32.1 miles through the National Park. Once you reach the intersection of Route 441 and Route 19 in Cherokee, turn right on Route 19 and continue for 10 miles to Bryson City. Turn right onto Everett and continue for 0.2 miles to Bryson Street. Turn right onto Bryson Street and continue for 0.2 miles. Take your third left, which is Ramseur Street. Make your second right, which is Deep Creek Road. Continue on Deep Creek Road for 2.8 miles to the Deep Creek Loop trailhead (you will enter park 0.5 miles prior to arriving at the trailhead).

It will take you about 2 hours to get to the trail from one of our Great Smoky Vacations cabins. So, plan on making a day of it.

https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/deepcreek.htm

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Great Smoky Mountains, Parks

Elk in the Great Smoky Mountains

Black bears get most of the attention in the Great Smoky Mountains, elk are also a majestic site that can be found in the region.

If you see an elk in the Great Smoky Mountains, consider yourself lucky. These nearly-eliminated species can be a rare find.

Elk once roamed the Appalachian mountains, but were eliminated from the region from over-hunting and loss of habitat in the 1700s-1800s.

The NPS reintroduced elk into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as recently as 2001 and then again in 2002.

A total of 52 elk were released in the park. Cows (female elk) usually give birth to only one calf per year.

Elks like to bugle. According to the NPS, they do this to advertise to the females and intimidate other males.

Elk do have antlers, and male elk (bulls) often use them to spar with other bulls.

Deer on left, Elk on right

In the spring, elk shed their antlers, which are then eaten by small animals, according to the NPS.

It is illegal to remove antlers from the national park.

Elk are most active during cooler parts of the day, in the early morning or late evening.

Mating season, which is known as “rut”, begins in the fall, which is when male elk make their bugling calls.

Elk on left, moose on right

Elk are most commonly spotted along Cataloochee Valley on the North Carolina side of the mountains.

Remember, it is illegal to approach an elk within 150 feet or any distance that disturbs the elk.

Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

Why do they call them the Smoky Mountains

The Cherokee called the mountains Shaconage – place of the blue smoke.

The rising mists are produced by the forest itself.

Water is pulled from the soil up into the plants and trees and eventually rises from the leaves, evaporating into the air.

The water cools and forms the blue-tinged mists you see rising over the mountains, eventually forming clouds and falling back to the earth to repeat the cycle.

The mountains, in many ways, retain the charms that made them attractive to the National Park Service.

Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, Parks, Staying Active

Look Rock Tower Trail

Look Rock Tower Trail is a paved Smoky Mountain hiking trail you won’t want to miss. This trail is considered easy and is 0.8 miles roundtrip. The path is steep on this trail too. It is located off of Foothills Parkway near Maryville, Tennessee. There is an ADA friendly picnic area at Look Rock where you can enjoy a picnic lunch and spend some time with family and friends outdoors. This trail is not tagged as wheelchair or stroller friendly because although the trail surface is paved asphalt and it is typically at least four feet wide, it is moderately steep most of the way and very steep (over 12%) in areas. At the end of this trail is a beautiful view of the mountains. Pets are not allowed on this trail.

Look Rock Trail Observation Tower
Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, Parks, photos

Sevierville TN Driving Tours

The Douglas Lake Fall Driving Tour wings the rolling hills and fertile river bottoms where the Knoxville, Sevierville & Eastern Railroad (later called the Smoky Mountain Railroad) once ran. Boyd’s Creek is a historic farming community dating back to the American Revolution. Highlights of this tour include historic homes, a See Rock City barn and the Battle of Boyd’s Creek Memorial. Visit an art gallery, drive by the Kyker Farms Corn Maze and take a walk along the Douglas Dam with great views of Douglas Lake.

Follow the Middle Prong Fall Driving Tour to see historic churches, a cantilever barn, and an early Methodist Mission. Or make your way along country roads on the English Mountain Fall Driving Tour. This tour features one of the few remaining covered bridges in Tennessee, a Civil War battle site and more.

Sevierville’s Bluff Mountain Fall Driving Tour This tour works its way to the top of Bluff Mountain noting important sites and historic buildings along the way. Enjoy spectacular views once at the top.

Off the Beaten Path Driving Tour

Start the tour at the iconic Dolly Parton Statue located on the lawn of the historic 1896 Sevier County Courthouse at 126 Court Avenue. If you have plenty of time, take a “Discover Sevierville Historic Walking Tour” brochure from the kiosk in front of the statue, and take a few minutes to see some of the points of interest in downtown Sevierville. Leave Court Avenue traveling north to East Main Street. Turn right at the traffic light. In two blocks the street becomes Dolly Parton Parkway (Highway 411). Continue to the junction of Long Springs Road (Highway 339). https://visitsevierville.com/OfftheBeatenPathDrivingTour.aspx

Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour To view a printer-friendly map of the Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour, click here. Begin your tour in historic downtown Sevierville. Enjoy quaint shops and eateries and make a stop at the Dolly Parton Statue located on the lawn of the iconic Sevier County Courthouse at 125 Court Avenue. Created by Jim Gray, the six-and-a-half-foot statue was erected to honor Sevierville native Dolly Parton, an internationally acclaimed singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, actress, author, and philanthropist.