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 this 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.
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.
Side note! See the more of the Smoky Mountains:
- Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains
- Best hikes with VIEWS in the Smoky Mountains
- Best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains
- Driving the scenic route from Gatlinburg to Clingman's Dome
- Driving the slow scenic route from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove
- The big list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains
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:
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!
Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky MountainsYou will want good shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.
In general, the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains will be hiking boots (more ideal) or trail running shoes (more versatile for everyday activities compared to hiking boots but still will give you advantages compared to regular shoes).
I liked wearing my hiking boots for the thicker soles (good on rocky trails) and the waterproof (water resistant) nature of them.
They were especially helpful on rainy day hikes to keep my shoes (and socks!) dry! They are also better to be walking on mud compared to regular shoes.
On rougher terrain (like the trails that are a bit rougher with more rocks), hiking boots are more ideal so you won't feel it on the bottoms of your feet as much.
If you want shoes that can work out better as everyday "out and about" kind of shoes, then you might like trail running shoes better! Trail running shoes are a little more durable than regular shoes, so they can also work out as good hiking shoes. Trail running shoes are a bit lighter weight and less bulky compared to hiking boots.
Shoe fit is very important for your feet! Be sure to break in your new shoes by walking around the neighborhood and/or at the grocery store before you go on your "big hike" in the Smoky Mountains!