Bradley Fork

Categories: Fishing, Fishing for Wild Trout, Great Smoky Mountains National Park... NC


  •  Tributary stream of the Ocunaluftee River 
  •  Popular trout stream in the park with easy access via Smokemont Campground area 
  •  Catch Wild Rainbow and Brown Trout 
  •  Limit of 5 Trout with a minimum length of 7 inches 
  •  Each angler must possess a valid NC or TN fishing permit 
  •  Bradley Fork Trail offers easy access and runs along the fork

The Local Scoop

Bradley Fork is another example of excellent trout water within the National Park's boarders. Bradley Fork is rather large in size considering it's a tributary stream of the Ocunaluftee River. We recommend this stream to those either camping at Smokemont Campground or to those staying in the Cherokee area. There is easy access either way. For those not staying in the campground we would like to recommend a couple of options for you. Option 1: Park at the Bradley Fork Trailhead parking area that you will see directly in front of you once you cross the bridge and after turning off of U.S. Hwy-441. This parking area also provides parking for those visiting the historic Smokemont/Ocunaluftee Baptist Church. Pick up the Bradley Fork Trail to the left of the parking area which leads you beside the Smokemont Campground until you reach Bradley Fork. Option 2: As you cross the bridge over the Ocunaluftee River, go left towards the campground. Continue towards the back of the campground and look for "Loop D." Parking for hikers is at the end of the loop on the right and near the trailhead. For those staying in Smokemont Campground, simply access the Fork or trailhead from your campsite, depending on where you want to start fishing. Here you really can't pick a bad spot. If you are looking for some variety we suggest trying Chasteen Creek that is a tributary stream of Bradley Fork and is located approx. 1 mile upstream coming in from the Right. This creek has a nice population of Rainbow Trout in it's lower waters and Brook Trout in it's headwaters. You have a couple of options here as well. Either fish up Bradley Fork until you come to Chasteen Creek (1 mile) or pick up the Bradley Fork Trail and hike up to where Chasteen Creek enters the Bradley Fork and Chasteen Creek Trail begins. Look for signs. Be sure to have your valid NC or TN fishing license on you at all times. Rangers patrol this portion of the park regularly. Also, be aware of the regulations that come with fishing in the National Park, 5 Trout limit & 7 inch minimum length.

The Local Directions

From downtown Cherokee, NC take U.S. Hwy-441 North towards Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 6.6 miles to "Smokemont Campground and Riding Stables Road" on your Right (there is only a brown sign reading what is said above, no street sign). You will immediately cross a bridge over the Ocunaluftee River. Go left over the bridge to access Smokemont Campground. Go right for Smokemont Riding stables and go straight for Bradley Fork Trailhead parking and the Smokemont Baptist Church Historical site. We suggest parking in the Bradley Fork Trailhead parking area (newly paved '10).

Back to top

Difficulty Levels

  • Fishing4/7What's this?
  • Hike4What's this?
35.55574, -83.31196
Cherokee, NC 28719
Swain County
Distance From
FROM (Town): Cherokee, 6.6 miles HIKE: Roadside access