Juney Whank Falls, Tom Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls – Great Smoky Mountains

Juney Whank FallsTO THE TRAILHEAD:  From Cherokee, follow Deep Creek Road for 2.8 miles to the parking area for Juney Whank Falls

THE HIKE:  This 2.4 mile roundtrip easy hike is the perfect opportunity to combine three different waterfalls that are in close proximity to one another without moving your car or using a shuttle.  The hike begins going to Juney Whank Falls and you will reach them before you realize you have begun.  In fact, the waterfall is only a .25 mile from the trailhead.  That being said, this is the most difficult part of the hike.  The uphills are a little tough, and this section of the hike is rated a moderate even though the total hike is rated as easy.  A footbridge leads you to the 80 foot falls. The falls cascade down various rocks to reach their base. Like many others, these are not powerful falls, but are gorgeous none the less and certainly worth the .25 mile it took to get here. Once you have had your fill, walk back the trail and take a left to head towards Indian Creek Falls. The scenery in the area is gorgeous of course, but nothing remarkable to note. In fact, these falls all come in so close that you won’t have too much time to think about your surroundings.

.3 mile later you will arrive at Indian Creek Falls. This one is a little different than the others. It is a little smaller, coming in at 45 feet, but it has rushing water over the rocks that make it the best of the three. There is still one trail in this trifecta to complete. This takes you to the longest part of your hike, a full .6 mile to reach Tom Branch Falls. It is similar to Juney Whank Falls in many ways. It is another 80 foot waterfall drop that cascades from various rocks. The surrounding trees and serenity make this one a little bit better in my opinion. Since it is further in, it is not as crowded and is a great place to to relax before you head back to finish your 2.4 mile roundtrip.

A couple of notes on this hike. Given the ease of access to these falls, they can get busy during peak times. Consider going on weekdays or early in the morning to beat the crowds. Also, the biggest crowds will be at the closest falls to the road, so Juney Whank is the most popular followed by Indian Creek followed by Tom Branch. So you could skip the other two all together to get a more secluded experience.

There is also a loop hike with two of these waterfalls that you could do that would take you further away from people, so that is something to consider. Finally, there is only one campsite here that I would consider close to these trails. Campsite 60 is about 4 miles from the trailhead, but would make a good place to overnight. Consider campsites 58 and 59 that are another 3 mile up the trail for a more secluded mountain experience.

 

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