Tranquil and energizing at the same time, waterfalls are unlike anything else. Their sound will move you whether it’s the shhhh of a modest cascade or the roar of a massive plunge. And they are always scenic, no matter if you’re looking at a thin ribbon of a fall or at a burgeoning cascade than gets wider as it drops.
Here in America, they are so plentiful that there are probably more than a thousand locales for which you can make a list of “hikes to nearby waterfalls,” but for this post I had no trouble choosing one -- the area around the close-together towns of Sylva, Bryson City, and Cherokee, in North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains.
In selecting the walks themselves, my criteria were: 1) that they be easy enough for a family with kids to complete, and 2) that the drive from town to trailhead not take more than several minutes. Having said that, here they are:
Tumbling almost 90 degrees down rhododendron-studded granite, this is the most impressive waterfall I have encountered east of the
As waterfalls go, Juney Whank is not the most dramatic. But it has an undeniable calming effect and is one of my sentimental favorites because it is the first waterfall I ever hiked to, when my grandparents brought me and my cousins here in 1982. To reach it, follow the signs from Bryson City to Deep Creek Campground and drive to the end of the campground road, where you will find a parking lot on your left. The trail departs from the upper end of the lot and is clearly marked. Although it goes up and down quite a bit, it is only a third of a mile before it reaches the falls, where a log bridge offers a close-up view. From here you can backtrack to your car; or cross to the other side of the bridge and turn right on an intersecting path, then turn right on another one 25 yards later and follow it downhill to the Deep Creek Trail (described next).
Deep Creek Trail
This trail begins next to the same parking lot as the one above. Wide and level, it is actually a gravel continuation of the campground road, located beyond a metal gate that prevents cars from coming this way. It runs beside Deep Creek and after about one-fifth of a mile arrives at the spot where
This park is one of