Total Miles Hiked: 5.7
29 March 2019
Sarah and I try to get away for a weekend every year around our anniversary. We usually get a cabin somewhere around the Smokies and go for a hike or two. This year we chose to stay in Bryson City, NC at a really nice little cabin. On Saturday March 29th we did some trails around the Deep Creek area.
|Deep Creek trails|
The Deep Creek section in and around the campground are kind of a warren of trails connecting the main trails and the parking lots and the side trails... The trails traced in red are what we did, but there were at least a few other "trails" that we did to make sure we didn't miss anything important.
Started out at the horse parking lot at the Noland Divide trailhead near the entrance to Deep Creek campground. After just a 100 feet or so the Deep Creek Horse trail turns right (north).
|Noland Divide trailhead at Deep Creek campground|
|Deep Creek Horse Trail beginning|
|Juney Whank Falls|
|Some of the trail signs around the Deep Creek Horse Trail / Juney Whank Trail|
After completing this somewhat confusing chunk, we headed on up the Deep Creek Horse trail. Near the northern end of the horse trail is a sign that says "Cemetery" and points up a manway along Hammer Creek. We figured "here we are, what the heck!" so we headed up the trail. And I do mean UP! The trail is not long (graffiti on the cemetery sign says 0.7 miles), but it is straight up hill! The cemetery at the top is called the Hammer Creek Cemetery or the Wiggins Cemetery and apparently contains the graves of 5 Wiggins children. Three of the graves are marked with recent stones, while the other two unmarked. Sad to imagine a family losing 5 children! Needless to say, the hike back down went much faster than the hike up...
|Side trail to Hammer Branch cemetery|
|Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) - one of the earliest spring wildflowers|
|Trail signs at the Deep Creek Horse trail / Deep Creek trail junction|
From here we headed back down toward the campground along the Deep Creek trail. At the junction with Indian Creek trail we turned east on to Indian Creek trail to see Indian Creek Falls. We followed this trail 0.5 miles til it reached the junction with Stone Pile Gap trail, and then turned around.
|Deep Creek trail / Indian Creek trail junction|
|Indian Creek Falls|
Indian Creek Falls was absolutely gorgeous! I was beginning to understand why this Deep Creek waterfall loop was so popular! And popular it was on this beautiful spring Saturday. LOTS of families out hiking, several of them with their dogs. Grrr. [pets are not allowed in the backcountry except on 2 trails: Gatlinburg trail and Oconaluftee River trail]. This trail is apparently one of the trails that allows bikes (it's an old gravel road), so there were many bikers out as well!
Deep Creek trail follows its namesake, which is a wide and beautiful creek. Along the way it passes the 3rd beautiful cascade - Tom Branch Falls, complete with wooden benches to sit and view the waterfall from.
|Beautiful Deep Creek|
|Tom Branch Falls|
|End of the line: Deep Creek trailhead at Deep Creek campground|
Stay tuned for the next day's hike! Road to Nowhere.
Til next time, happy hiking!