Mountain Tubing Can Be an Easy Float or a Wild, Whitewater Ride

Western North Carolina has two great tubing runs and both are near Bryson City. Both Deep Creek and the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee have crystal clear water that originates in springs bubbling up and filtering through the ferns and moss in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tubing companies generally operate from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

DEEP CREEK

Just outside Bryson City, the Deep Creek ride consists of two sections: 1.) The upper “whitewater” section which flows from Indian Creek through the narrow Deep Creek gorge. This is a wild, bouncy ride that often separates the rider from the tube, especially when the water is swift after a rain. At the end of the rapids section, there’s a wide, deep swimming hole that provides a relaxing break before getting back on the tube. (2) The lower section, which is wider, easier going and more appropriate for smaller kids, ends at the parking lot. Put-in for this section is at the swimming hole just above the first bridge.

Tube rental companies are located on West Deep Creek Road, near the National Park entrance.The original black truck tubes are a thing of the past. All the vendors have light-weight inflatables with seats – which can be rented for the day.

From the parking lot at the Deep Creek trailhead, you carry your inner tube upstream less than a mile into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Deep Creek trail. The put-in is where Indian Creek flows into Deep Creek.

OCONALUFTEE RIVER

Just 20 minutes from Bryson City, the Oconaluftee River flows through downtown Cherokee. There you’ll find one of the purest rivers in the Mountains where you can enjoy a inner-tube ride that’s part rushing rapids, and part lazy ripples and swimming holes. The water ranges from ankle deep to chest high and flows over soft sand and flat, time-smoothed river rocks shed from the world’s oldest mountains. Tube rental companies in Cherokee transport you and your tube to a put-in spot and pick you up at the end of your ride.

More fun activities on the water near Bryson City.

  • Smoky Mtn. Campground/Deep Creek Store & Tubes

    Address: 1840 West Deep Creek Rd
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    Located on West Deep Creek just outside the national park. Campground has been in operation since 1957. We offer 25 full hookup sites, 12 on the creek and all sites have 30 amp electrical service. Hot showers for our campers and pay showers for the general public. Campground store and tube rental. Campers receive a discount on tube rental. Pets are accepted after a conversation with the owners. WIFI available. Open from April 1 to October 31. Call Bob or Sue Miller at 828-488-3302

  • Deep Creek Tube Center & Campground

    Address: 1090 West Deep Creek Rd
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    Nestled in the Deep Creek valley with view of the mountains and the soothing sounds of Deep Creek. 50 campsites, full hook-ups, 30 or 50 amp and primitive sites. 1 mile from the GSMNP. Tubing, camp store, trout fishing, volleyball, laundry, playground, and 2 clean bathhouses on site. 15 cabin rentals also available. Open April-November.

  • Deep Creek Lodge/Creekside Tubing

    Address: 1881 West Deep Creek Rd
    Bryson City
    NC
    28713

    One or two bedroom efficiency rooms, kitchen/dinette/living room, queen size bed, large sitting porch, beautiful view. Laundromat, ample parking for buses and groups, group rates, public showers, tube rental and game room, hiking, picnicking, trout fishing, horseback riding. Located at entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Open Mid April through Labor Day.

  • What to wear

    It’s advisable to wear a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirt and secure shoes. Watches and loose jewelry should be left behind. And eyeglasses should be secured with a head strap. Finally, because our mountain streams and rivers are cool, you should bring towels and a change of dry clothes.

    Click or tap to download a printable PDF map of Deep Creek’s trails and waterfalls.

    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

    Free 2018 Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official 2018 All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.

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