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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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.

Attractions, Great Smoky Mountains, Parks, photos, Z00

Mini Sabbatical

A lot of us are working from home which gives us the opportunity to take a mini sabbatical.

Now that your garage has been cleaned out, cars are all vacuumed and everything else that you have been putting off is taken care of, you may want to take a mini sabbatical to a relaxing and inspiring place.

Sevierville has it all.  There is history, beauty and fun all in one area.  Imagine having your coffee on the deck every morning while waiting for the sun to come up.  Sunrise

All our cabins have high speed internet for your “work from home” sabbatical.   Geppettos Restaurant is on Wears Valley Road and is one of our most favorite Italian Restaurants in Sevierville.  They will deliver to our cabin “Kiss the Clouds”.  Enjoy your lunch on the deck while overlooking those amazing smoky Mountain Views.  framed_view_1_1920x1080

My cousin came with us on one of our trips and it worked out perfectly.  She got off work at 4 PM and I had dinner ready for us.  Then, we would go out and explore the area.  One night we went to Cades Cove and saw a lot of bears.  VID_20200526_174050_exported_21009_1598034565155

My daughter was missing prom season this past year, so we brought her old prom dresses and dressed up and took some pictures.  IMG_20200424_154100

One night we went to an exotic petting zoo.  It is off of Dolly Parton Highway.  We wanted to do something that was off the beaten path.  We didn’t want to be around a lot of other people.  We were very pleasantly surprised with the place.  It was a really nice place to spend some time and enjoy the different animals.  My daughter held a baby goat.  We got to feed the animals.  We pet an Elk and he was very soft.  IMG_20200601_150955

I have blogged about things you can do in the area that are less crowded.

If you haven’t been out in a while and want to take a nice “social distancing” vacation, consider Great Smoky Vacations for your next getaway.

Attractions, Hiking, Parks, photos

The Best Swimming Holes in Gatlinburg and The Great Smoky Mountains

 

Metcalf Bottoms Swimming Area

MetcalfbottomsswimmingThis picnic area located between Gatlinburg and Townsend offers great access to the Little Greenbrier River. Several shallow swimming holes are scattered along this picnic area. The area is wide and makes for a perfect spot to throw a tube into the water and relax. It’s also the perfect swimming area to have a nice picnic, with many tables sitting along the water. If you visit Metcalf Bottoms in summer and spend much time at the river it is likely you will spot at least one water snake (especially if you’re looking for them). The good news is that they are not poisonous and are actively afraid of people. So if you have a strong aversion to snakes you may want to stay out of the water here.

Just across the bridge from the picnic area is a trail that leads to the Little Greenbrier schoolhouse. The trail is only a half mile or so and leads through the woods. If you don’t want to walk off your picnic lunch you can also drive to the school. Just cross the bridge and follow the road about half a mile to a gravel road on the right leading to the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse.Greenbrier schoolhouse

The schoolhouse still contains the desks and blackboard left there when it was last in use in the 1930’s. Grades 1-8 were taught at Greenbrier school by a single teacher. During summer months in the past the National Park Service has offered presentations on mountain schooling. Information on the schedule should be available by the end of March. On the hillside just outside the schoolhouse you will find an old community cemetery.

If you have a few extra hours to spend in Metcalf Bottoms visit the Walker Sisters’ home site. The trailhead to their home is located off the parking lot for the Greenbrier Schoolhouse. The Walker SistersThe sisters were some of the last living residents inside what is now the National Park.  When the federal government decided to establish a national park in the Smokies the five sisters refused to sell their land. They eventually came to an agreement with the government whereby they sold their land but retained a lifetime lease on the property. The Walker sisters claimed their land produced everything they needed except sugar, coffee, soda and salt. And until the last sister passed away in 1964 they farmed the land while supplementing their efforts with the sale of souvenirs to tourists.

The Metcalf Bottoms are also close to many other attractions in the area, so you can fit in a swim, a picnic, a hike and even some antique shopping.  To get in some shopping before heading back to the cabin, take Lyons Spring Road to Wears Valley. Here you will experience beautiful mountain views, cute antique stores, and some small local shops.

Directions: Take US-441 into the park. At the Sugarlands Visitor Center turn right onto Little River Rd. toward Elkmont. Travel about six miles to the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area on the right.

Greenbrier Swimming Holes on the Little Pigeon River One of the clearest mountain rivers in the park, the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River flows through the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains. This is a favorite spot for tubers and swimmers to splash and play in the pristine pools that collect below small rapids.

Directions: From Gatlinburg at light #3, head east on Hwy 321. Travel for approximately 7 miles and turn right on Greenbrier Road. Swimming pools are located on your left along the road before you reach the ranger station.

The Sinks

The SinksLocal legend has it that there once was a logging train that derailed here and plummeted into the Little River. No train was ever recovered and since the mysterious crash occurred this area has been referred to as The Sinks. This is one of the easier swimming holes to access and as such is usually popular on hot summer days. The Sinks offers visitors a beautiful waterfall with small cliff and rocks that flow down into a reservoir  below.  This swimming hole is a mix of rapids and deep pools. Remember this area is very rocky,the waterfall is massive and there are often strong currents; be cautious and never go behind or around the waterfall as this is very dangerous.   The Sinks is a very rocky area with massive waterfalls and is a very dangerous swimming area.  This it the Smokies’ deepest swimming hole!

Take a relaxing drive through the mountains and enjoy your views on your way to. The view alone is worth the drive.

Directions:From the resort head southeast on Powdermill Rd toward Elk Spring Way, turn right to stay on Powdermill Rd, take a right onto Glades Rd for about 1.7 miles then turn right onto East Pkwy. Take a left onto US-441 S/Parkway until you reach Little River Road where you will turn right onto it.

The Chimney Top Trail

This swimming hole is for the adventurer and skilled hiker. The Chimney Top trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area and is great spot to enjoy a swim, beautiful mountain views, and a challenging 1,700 feet climb in a two mile radius (for more advanced hikers in good shape and not afraid of heights). For those of you who are just looking for a place to cool off, this is where you can enjoy the refreshing Little Pigeon River. There are plenty of rocks to jump off into the rivechimney topr, however, be sure that the water levels are high enough for jumping (average level runs about six to eight feet deep). Glide into the nice cool waters and enjoy a lovely picnic with your family. The cascading waters are calming and a great relax. If you’re there for the hike follow the trailhead and be prepared for an exciting and challenging excursion. This 2 mile hike is filled with a rocky ridge-line and once you reach the top a near 360 degree view that is stunning.

Directions: Head southeast on Powdermill Rd toward Elk Spring Way, Turn right to stay on Powdermill Rd, Turn right onto Glades Rd, Turn right onto East Pkwy, Turn left onto US-441 S/Parkway, Continue to follow US-441 S into the park and past the visitor center. Continue on the 441 S until you reach the entrance to the Chimneys picnic area and trailhead.

The Townsend WYE Swimming Area

The Townsend Y Swimming areaThe Townsend Y is where the Little River and the Middle Prong of Little River join. Probably the most easily accessed and popular swimming hole, this wide pool is located provides fun for the whole family. Located just after the Townsend entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, this swimming area provides plenty of water to play in. Visitors can also sunbathe or enjoy a great picnic on the sloping hill above the pools and watch as sightseers enter the park.  The road is curvy and narrow in spots.

Directions: From Gatlinburg head North on US 441 for 8.4 miles. Take a left on Wears Valley Road and follow for 12 miles. Turn left on TN-73 until you reach the intersection of Little River and Laurel Creek Road.

Abrams Falls Swimming Hole

This waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram, or Abrams, whose village once stood several miles downstream. Located in Cades Cove, this swimming hole is a Kodak moment waiting to happen. Although Abrams falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over the falls makes up for its lack of height. The water plunges into a large 100-foot pool at the base that sparkles with laughter and light. While there is a bit of hike to this swimming hole, 2.5 miles from the trailhead, viewing Abrams Falls and lounging in the swimming hole make your arduous hike worth the effort. Don’t forget your camera and swimsuit for this picture perfect spot! AbramsFallsSwimmingHole

Directions: The turnoff to the trailhead that will take you to Abrams Falls is located past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road. To get to Cades Creek Loop Road from Gatlinburg head north on US 441 for 8.4 miles. Take a left on Wears Valley Road and follow for 12 miles. Turn left on TN-73 and follow into the park. When you reach the intersection of Little River and Laurel Creek Road turn right onto Laurel Creek Road and follow until it dead ends into Cades Cove Loop Road. http://www.pigeonforgetourism.com/swimmingholes#

Midnight Hole NC

The magical Midnight Hole in North Carolina has long been a secret swimming spot for locals and travelers alike. Located in the Big Creek area of the Smoky Mountains, getting there involves a short but worth it hike. Many people love to take a dip here in the heat of summer as the mountain-fed water stays pretty cool year-round.

Midnight Hole NC

Follow Big Creek Trail from the parking area. The trail flows you through dense wilderness and in the late spring and early summer wildflower blooms add an extra treat to the scenery. In about 1.5 miles you’ll reach Midnight Hole.  https://blueridgemountainlife.com/midnight-hole/

Midnight Hole is also located near Mouse Creek Falls. If you continue to follow Big Creek Trail for 0.5 miles after Midnight Hole, you’ll stumble upon a side trail that will lead you to Mouse Creek.

http://www.pigeonforge.com/top-5-swimming-holes-smokies/