Deep Creek and Juney Whank Falls

Looking for a good time? Maybe some wholesome family fun? Deep Creek is about as close as you can come to a natural amusement park…and a helluva lot cheaper.

We’ve been going for years and we’ve only seen and done a fraction of what’s available.

Cool and refreshing Deep Creek in the GSMNP

Looking upstream at the calm, lower section of Deep Creek. Great for younger kids to tube!

There’s so much to love about Deep Creek! Each time we go I promise myself we’re going to explore more of the whole area.

But, alas, I’m just a kid at heart. All we ever do, like so many times before, is tube down the half-mile long white water rapids of Deep Creek. All day long; up and down, one run after another with a little swimming thrown in now and then.

It’s so much fun. You’ve really got to try it for yourself!

Here’s a video from last year’s trip. I didn’t feel like walking back to my car to get my camera this year. It would have kept me from making another run.

Located on the southern edge of the Great Smoky Mountain Park and just north of Bryson City, there’s so much more to Deep Creek than tubing. I know, for some of you who have been there, that’s going to sound blasphemous, but it’s true.

You’ll find lots of hiking trails, bridle trails, waterfalls, camping and picnicking around Deep Creek.

Admittedly, I’ve never done all these other fun things, but judging from their popularity, I’d still recommend them.

Useful tips I wish someone told us the first time we went tubing at Deep Creek:

  • Go early and plan to stay all day
  • Tube rentals range from $3 to $5 a day – make sure you get one with a bottom
  • Wear water shoes and a swim suit that won’t get pulled off by the strong water
  • Plan to have a picnic while you’re there.
  • Try to avoid weekends. They’re VERY crowded.

On this year’s trip I did manage to break tradition…slightly. I got everyone to go on a very short hike to Juney Whank Falls.

I did say very short hike, didn’t I?Juney Whank trailheadThe trailhead is right at the main parking lot and it’s only .3 mile to the falls. Luckily everyone was interested in doing it. (I think the idea of seeing a waterfall motivated them.)

It’s an easy walk. Most of the trail is shared with a wide bridle path which meanders around Deep Creek. The grade is easy – around 200 feet elevation gain – and the trail, like most National Parks, is well maintained.

Juney Whank is a charming waterfall with about an 80-foot drop, and well worth the trip. There’s a very nice bridge spanning the falls with a built-in bench to sit and rest as you watch and listen to the tumbling water.

Viewing the upper section of Juney Whank Falls

This is the view looking up at Juney Whank Falls.

Viewing the lower section of Juney Whank Falls

This is the view looking down Juney Whank Falls.

You can keep walking – the trail makes a loop – or go back the way you came. Katie and I decided to head back the way we came since the kids were stating to show signs of hunger and you know how irritable hungry kids can be on the trail. It was time for dinner.

So what about next year?

Next year I promise to explore more. Serioulsy! I do. I mean I will. You can hold me to it. ‘Till then…

See ya’ on the trail,
Tastelikchickn

Directions to Deep Creek:

From the Great Smoky Mountain Expressway, take the Veterans Blvd exit and follow the signs to Bryson City. Stay on this road and veer right at the light just before the river. The road changes names to Slope St. Turn right on Mitchell St, then left on Everett St. Cross the railroad tracks and turn right on Depot St. Turn left on Ramseur St and then an immediate right on Deep Creek Rd. Veer left onto West Deep Creek Rd and follow this as it winds around to the Smoky Mountain Park entrance. Pick up your tubes before entering park and then drive another half mile to the Deep Creek parking area.

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