The Sight and Sound of Falling Water is Magical, Even When the Falls Are Only a Few Feet High

A walk or drive beside any mountain stream will lead you by hundreds of tumbling cascades as the waters rush down from the peaks of the Smokies. But the high falls are the most spectacular, and Swain County offers some of the best in the Smokies, including Deep Creek’s trio of waterfalls – Juney Whank, Tom Branch and Indian Creek Falls.

Dogs are not allowed on any trail in the National Park.

A video tour of Deep Creek's three waterfalls with spring wildflowers
© GSMA 2011. All rights reserved


More info —

Printable map (pdf) of the Deep Creek trails and waterfalls.

Printable information on NC Mountains waterfalls (pdf)

More fun activities on the water near Bryson City.

Waterfalls in the Bryson City - Cherokee
Area of the North Carolina Smokies


Juney whank Falls

Juney Whank Falls — From the Deep Creek trailhead parking area, follow the well-marked trail 1/4 mile uphill to Juney Whank Falls. The roar of the falls can be heard even before you reach it. An eighty-foot cascade of water starts above you and runs under a log footbridge with handrails, and meets up with Deep Creek at the bottom of the trail.

Tom Branch Falls — Starting back at the main trailhead, walk just 1,000 feet along the wide, flat Deep Creek trail to Tom Branch Falls, a wispy waterfall that gently splashes over 80 feet into Deep Creek. A bench is provided beside the creek and is a great place to sit and watch the inner-tubers float by.

Indian Creek Falls (top of page) — Continuing along the Deep Creek trail for approximately one mile, the trail winds up a slight grade to where Indian Creek spills into Deep Creek. Follow the Indian Creek Trail to the right 200 feet uphill to Indian Creek Falls, a high-spirited waterfall that noisily plunges 25 feet to the pool below. A small spur trail leads to the bottom of the falls.

Mingo Fals

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls — Arguably the most stunning cascade in the region is Mingo Falls on the Cherokee Indian Reservation. From the Saunooke Village shopping area in downtown Cherokee, drive north on Big Cove Road approximately 5 miles (past the KOA Campground) to the Mingo Falls parking lot. The walk from the parking lot is short (just a hundred yards) but very steep.

Soco Falls — About 11 miles east of Cherokee on US 19 towards Maggie Valley you'll find Soco Falls on your right. There's a small unmarked pull-off and a short walk leads you to a viewing platform for Soco Falls and another smaller falls. Coming from Maggie Valley, it's 1.5 miles west from the Blue Ridge Parkway and will be on your left.

Soco Falls

Soco Falls

Two other Swain County waterfalls are in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — Little Creek Falls is on the section of the Deeplow Gap Trail north of the Cooper Creek trail and south of the Thomas Divide Trail.

Twentymile Cascade is a small waterfall at the southwestern corner of the Park. From Fontana Village Resort, drive six miles west on Highway 28 to the Twentymile Ranger Station where the Twentymile Trail begins. Hike a half-mile to the first bridge, bear right and continue another 100 yards to the narrow spur trail, which leads off to the right and to the Twentymile Cascade.

Deeper into the National Park's back country are two more waterfalls seen only by back country hikers — the Forney Creek Cascade just south of Clingmans Dome, and the Hazel Creek Cascade, about two miles south of Silers Bald.

Mingo Falls – Meaning "Big Bear" in the Cherokee language, Mingo Falls is located in the Big Cove Community, near Cherokee. "Kalvnyi" (the Raven Place as Big Cove is known in Cherokee) is a large watershed around Raven’s Fork and its tributaries.

Juney Whank Falls – There are two theories regarding the name of this branch and falls. Some say it was named for a Mr. Junaluska “Juney” Whank, who is said to be buried near the falls. However, "Juney Whank" is also a Cherokee phrase, which has been translated to mean “place where the bear passes.

Cullasaja Falls – Visible from U.S. 64, in Cullasaja Gorge, 11 mi. east from Franklin. Height 250 ft. Accessible by foot trail, a half-mile through steep, rough terrain.

Dry Falls – Located near U.S. 64, 16.5 mi. east from Franklin. Paved walkway leads to falls from parking area. Walk underneath the 75 ft. falls. (Closed until September 2012 for site renovation)

Bridal Veil Falls– 2.5 mi. west of Highlands on U.S. 64. Visible from the highway, which at one time routed traffic under the falls. Height 120 ft.


Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce

210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713


Karen Proctor Wilmot
Executive Director

800-867-9246 toll-free
828-488-3681 local
828-488-6858 fax