Deep Creek is on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and this also makes it a less visited area of the national park compared to other areas.
And for waterfalls in this area, Indian Creek Falls is one of the great waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains!
This Smoky Mountains hike that leads to waterfalls flowing along Indian Creek includes walking right alongside water!
Basics about the trail to Indian Creek Falls
This is among the relatively easy waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains.
If you were to go directly to Indian Creek Falls and back, most of the hike is a leisurely stroll alongside a river (creek!) on flat ground. Once you are basically there, there is a short set of stairs to take you down to the waterfalls viewing platform.
You’ll take the Deep Creek Trail to get most of the way to Indian Creek Falls. Then there will be an intersection in which you’ll be taking Indian Creek Trail once you are close. There are signs to the waterfalls to guide you.
The distance of this hiking trail to Indian Creek Falls is around 1.6 miles round trip.
It’s officially recommended to give yourself 1-2 hours to complete the Indian Creek Falls hike.
With minimal stops it’s possible to complete this in less than an hour, but you might want to spend some time sitting at one of the benches located on the creekside benches located on the trail along the way!
As you are hiking to Indian Creek Falls, you will also pass Tom Branch Falls. You can’t miss it. (This is where some benches are located.)
You can make it a hike to Indian Creek Falls and then head back, and it will make for a nice nature walk.
Many people also visit another waterfalls, Juney Whank Falls.
The Deep Creek Trail connects to the Juney Whank Trail.
It’s also possible to make it into a longer hike by continuing on the Deep Creek Trail past the turn-off to Indian Creek Falls. This will feel more like a “real” hike as you will be hiking through a forest. You might see a bear. (My dad did!)
If you’re going for a longer hike, you will find a map at the Juney Whank trailhead which is right near the Deep Creek trailhead. Take a picture of the map!
The trailhead is located in the Deep Creek area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you’re coming from Gatlinburg, the drive to the Deep Creek trailhead is around a 1.5 hour drive.
Your destination for google maps can be the Deep Creek Trail trailhead or the Deep Creek trailhead parking.
No dogs on the trail to Indian Creek Falls
In general, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not a pet-friendly park when it comes to hiking trails.
Pets are not allowed on the vast majority of hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains, and that includes Deep Creek Trail and Indian Creek Trail that take you to the waterfalls.
Toilet near the trail to Indian Creek Falls
The Deep Creek campground is located right near the Deep Creek parking lot, and that’s the bathroom I used. It has modern bathroom facilities.
Parking near the trail to Indian Creek Falls
There is a good size parking lot right next to the Deep Creek trailhead.
More for your Smoky Mountains trip beyond the Indian Creek Falls hike
If you’re interested in Indian Creek Falls, then you might also be interested in these waterfalls in and around the Smoky Mountains:
- Tom Branch Falls
- Juney Whank Falls
- Mingo Falls
- Hen Wallow Falls
- Mouse Creek Falls
- Grotto Falls
- Best waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains
- Things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
New for 2023:
You need a parking pass for Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
You can buy this when you arrive, or you can buy it online ahead of time.
According to recreation.gov, the official national park reservation website:
If you purchase your parking tag through recreation.gov, you will need to know your license plate number.
You will receive your parking tag via email and you will need to print the tag prior to your visit to display in your vehicle once you arrive.
Park staff cannot print your tag for you.
Annual parking tags purchased online via Great Smoky Mountains Association will be shipped right to your door.
Please allow 2 weeks shipping time.
According to the National Park Service:
Annual parking tags must be displayed in the front, lower passenger side windshield.
Daily and weekly parking tags must be placed face-up on the front, lower passenger side dashboard.
See current Great Smoky Mountains parking fees.
Save the Smoky Mountains video playlist to watch on youtube later!
PHOTOS for a little bit of what to expect when hiking in the Deep Creek area on the trail to Indian Creek Falls!
I hiked to Indian Creek Falls in late September 2020. Pictures are from that time.
This is how it can look if you hike directly to Indian Creek Falls from the parking lot. (Instead of hiking to Juney Whank Falls first.)
So the trail to Indian Creek Falls starts at the Deep Creek trailhead, so you’ll following signs for that.
Then once you start on the trail, you’ll soon come across Tom Branch Falls. (Maybe like 10 minutes.)
Then once you’ve taken in the views here, you can continue onwards to Indian Creek Falls!
Indian Creek Trail to Indian Creek Falls, 200 ft.
Indian Creek Trail to Stonepile Gap Trail, 0.5 miles.
Indian Creek Trail to loop trail, 0.8 miles.
Indian Creek Trail to Deeplow Gap Trail, 2.8 miles.
And then once you’ve taken in the views of Indian Creek Falls, you can head back the way you came.
Or, at the intersection you just passed, you can continue onwards to hike more of the Deep Creek Trail for the forest hike!
And that’s a bit of what it’s like on the hike to Indian Creek Falls!
I visited the 3 Deep Creek waterfalls in this order:
- Juney Whank Falls
- Tom Branch Falls
- Indian Creek Falls
Be sure to see the list of more great waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains!
Popular scenic areas of the Smoky Mountains with waterfalls:
HAPPY WALKING TO SEE INDIAN CREEK WATERFALLS!
Among the most popular things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are Clingmans Dome, Cades Cove, and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. These are some of the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains!
There is the Clingmans Dome Trail that will take you to the highest peak in the Smoky Mountains. But you can also see amazing views even from the Clingmans Dome parking lot without stepping foot on the trail!
You can make Cades Cove just about the drive along Cades Cove Loop Road. But there are also stops to make including historic cabins, a historic mill, and even the waterfall hike of Abrams Falls Trail. And, you might end up stopping because you see BEARS! You can bike Cades Cove and you can walk Cades Cove too.
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is also a scenic drive you can enjoy from your car, but there are stops you might want to make too!
Another classic Smoky Mountains activity would be to do an epic hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Alum Cave Trail can take you to the Mount LeConte summit for one of the highest peaks in the Smoky Mountains. You can even hike to the summit and then stay near the summit at the LeConte Lodge, which says they are the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States! (It does sell out fast!)
You may also want to see some of the best waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. (These waterfalls require hiking.)
You also have a chance to see elk in the Smoky Mountains! The best place to see elk is in Cataloochee Valley, but you might see them at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center too.
You can go camping in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a budget-friendly stay. Otherwise for traditional lodging, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are popular Tennessee towns to stay outside of the national park.
PLUS visit the Kentucky national park: Mammoth Cave National Park