Indian Creek & Trail

Categories: Play, Hiking & Backpacking, Fishing, Horseback Riding, Places of Interest, Hikes to waterfalls, Fishing for Wild Trout, Swimming Holes, Kid Friendly Spots, Back Country Horse Trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park... NC


The Local Scoop

Indian Creek & Trail is a nice little stream that flows into Deep Creek between "Thomas Divide" and "Sunkota Ridge," just North of Bryson City and parallel to the Southeastern border of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Be sure and take the short spur trail down the creek bank to "Indian Creek Falls," approx. 0.1 mile from the Indian Creek trailhead (0.8 mile from parking).
Hiking & Horseback Riding.
The Indian Creek Trail total distance is approx. 5.1 miles (one-way) and runs from "Deep Creek" all the way up to "Sunkota Ridge," overlooking Deep Creek to the West and Cherokee to the East.
A recommended hike along a portion of this trail is the "Deep Creek Loop Trail" which follows Indian Creek Trail for approx. 1.7 miles. Past Indian Creek Falls, you'll need to cross Indian Creek via footbridge and head on up the trail to a left onto the continuance of the Loop Trail, also seeing signs for "Sunkota Ridge Trail."  Be sure to go left when you intersect Sunkota Ridge Trail to continue downhill to Deep Creek and the remaining loop.  For horseback riding we suggest downloading a map of this area here.  Be sure to look NNE of Bryson City for the Deep Creek area of the National Park.  Tip:  The "dotted" trails are open to hiking and horseback riding.  The "dashed" (----) trails are hiking only.
This creek will offer you a secluded atmosphere in which you can relax and enjoy. The fish in this creek are going to be significantly smaller than those found in the nearby Deep Creek. You will catch Rainbow and Brown trout here. You may catch Brook trout in the extreme upper reaches of the headwaters, but the average elevation of Indian Creek really doesn't allow for an ideal environment for the native Brook trout. Normally, you will need to be around 3,000 feet of elevation before you start catching "Brookies."  Be sure to have a valid North Carolina or Tennessee Wildlife fishing license before you come and it's always a good idea to review the fishing rules & regulations for the park.  If you are staying for multiple days we might suggest camping at backcountry campsite #60 along "Deep Creek Trail (lower)." Or if you're looking for something more accommodating, consider "Deep Creek Campground."
We recommend taking a dip at the base of Indian Creek Falls on the hot days of summer.  This convenient pool will definitely cool you off!  I come here often when hiking or fishing in the area and always love this little pool and atmosphere that surrounds it.  I have actually slid down Indian Creek Falls before, but do not recommend it to children.  Only the most physically fit should even think about attempting it.  The last time I was there, trees had fallen onto the falls, creating a cluttered area that made the slide that much more dangerous.  We do not recommend it. 
Tubing can be done in nearby Deep Creek. 

The Local Directions

From Bryson City, NC
From downtown Bryson City, NC take Everett Street across the railroad tracks and to a right onto Depot Street. Travel along side the trains and train station for approx. 0.2 mile. At stop sign take a slight left and onto Deep Creek Road for approx. 0.3 mile. Here you'll need to take a left onto West Deep Creek Road, just before a bridge over Deep Creek. Continue up W. Deep Creek Rd. for approx. 2.5 miles crossing into Great Smoky Mountains National Park (see sign on your right). To get to the trailhead and parking area for Deep Creek Trail continue on and bear to the Left past the turn off for the campground on your right and avoiding the large picnic area on your right. The road dead ends at the parking area on the left.

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Difficulty Levels

  • Hike5 (trailhead) 7 (loop trail) 10 (headwaters)What's this?
  • Fishing5/6What's this?
  • Horse5What's this?
  • Waterfalls5What's this?
35.47249, -83.42914
Moderate via
West Deep Creek Rd./
Great Smoky Mountain National Park entrance/
Deep Creek Trail
Hike Distance
Indian Creek & Trailhead,
O.7 miles (one-way)
Deep Creek Loop Trail,
4.5 miles (loop)
Entire trail,
5.1 miles (one-way)
Nearest City
Bryson City
Swain County
Distance From
Bryson City, 3.8 miles