Explore the most popular forest trails near Bryson City with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Pros:
* Nice views of stream (with small waterfalls), forest, & mountains from tower on top.
* Consistent slope.
* Shady but not stuffy

Cons:
* a few places it's overgrown as not used much
* Slippery in places

Other notes:
* more like 8.2 miles than 6.6 miles
* Narrow so single file

Really enjoyed this hike. Ended up at 4 miles with parking and a detour to the cemetery, which we gave up on. Some uphill, but plenty of places to play in the water and stuff to see to keep it fun for a 6 and 7 year old.

We tried to go to the cemetery, but it was too far and a steep uphill walk. Plus, two returning hikers said they’d seen a bear.

Excellent gravel trail/road along Indian Creek Trail with numerous bridge and stream crossings. We had to ford at one location towards the end because of all the rain the previous day. Then Sunkota Ridge was pleasant, with the occasional glimpse of mountains through the trees.

perfect beginner hike, kid friendly. the incline might be a little tough for beginners without poles, but the incentive of a waterfall every mile is a pretty good motivator!

We went on the trail after a thunderstorm had come through. Waterfalls were muddy but spectacular to see. Not all of this loop was easy. The mountain ascent was steep for this lady who’s just starting to do longer hikes.

hiking
17 days ago

The first part of the trail is nice to see all of the Tubers having fun. MAKE SURE that you all take the right after the bridge to the LOOP trail and DONT go left to the Deep Creek Trail or you will hike for miles!!!!! We ended up going at least 10 extra miles!

We were there the first week of July. Wide, well marked trail. There were lots of other people there for tubing, but not many hiking.

Nice and easy hike, with pretty waterfalls.
We’ll go back sometime!

hiking
26 days ago

Nice hike

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike. Not extreme whatsoever, but there were some spots that required careful and steady footing. Only one spot with a large felled tree you have to climb over. Would definitely recommend!

hiking
29 days ago

Walked this trail on the 18 of July, started around 0900 and finished just before 11. I hike fast when I'm by myself but enjoyed this trail. The trail does have a descent amount of elevation gain and the trail has a good width to it since it is designated for horses. This would be a good quick hike or can be combined with others to make a full day.

horseback riding
29 days ago

We were horseback riding. There were many Down trees. Hot, humid, still and not fun. Wish we’d skipped it.

Get there early if you want a more quiet walk. Many families there by mid morning to tube in the creek. (Which looked fun!) The trail was manageable for my older parents and younger kids. The waterfall and creek make for beautiful photos with the family.

My husband & I hiked this trail yesterday with an early start. Beautiful trail with lots to see. Love to hike with water features from the creek raging along the trail, waterfalls, & peaceful trickling streams trailing down the mountain, its here. Calm pools for fishing, wildflowers & rock formations, you won't be disappointed! Glad we arrived early as we finished our hike, loads of eager tubing fans were trekking up the trail to get a chance to ride the waves of cascading water in the creek. There is something for everyone here. A great day all the way around!

hiking
1 month ago

Not steep but long climb, the first mile was a very wide pathway but after that it was more of a trail. Overall good trail. 3 waterfalls along the trail. Some difficult parts but mostly easy

hiking
1 month ago

I was wildly unimpressed with this trail. For starters there is a bus in the parking lot, ( which is way down a gravel road) The bus has people and dogs sleeping in it, and some of the dogs run out to “greet you” (bark aggressively). Once I made it past that the trail starts nice enough. Wide, rushing creek waters. It progressively goes downhill. The last mile or so the trail has several downed trees that for a short person were difficult to cross, and then it is SO narrow and SO overgrown, you cannot see where the trail is! Both my dog and I slipped off the side several times. Now, not only is the trail super overgrown with grass and other plants, but many of these plants have briars. My legs look like I had a fight with a wildcat. At some point in the overgrowth my dog stepped on a small snake- it slithered off, thank goodness, but by that point I told myself it we aren’t .25 or less from the top, we are turning around. We made it to the top and the views are fine. There is a shelter there too. I would have continued on one way or the other but the trail there was overgrown too. We hustled down. I was done. Overall this is really an easy trail as far an ascent. It is never so steep that I was out of breath. A very gradual climb. Honestly, Unless you hear of someone coming in with a weed whacker, I’d skip it.

backpacking
1 month ago

This trail has something for everyone, scenic views, fly fishing, water falls, and just enough incline for a slight challenge. The trail is well maintained and clean except for horse manure. Lots of trails in this area are horse friendly ( so watch your step).

Primarily old logging roads and wide horse trails. The creek and waterfalls made for an enjoyable hike.

hiking
1 month ago

Went with the wife and kids very easy and manageable for everyone.

hiking
1 month ago

A fairly easy trail with waterfalls and not a lot of others on some areas of the trail. There are quite a few connections with other trailheads along this trail also. It’s a good trail to start with and do beginner hikes to build up to more strenuous hiking trails.

First off, this is a great hike. The view at Lonesome Pine Overlook is amazing. The hike to the overlook is decent, mostly forest with a small creek running down the mountain midway through the hike. The 3 rating is mostly because there are so many great hikes in the area, I probably wouldn’t do this one again until I had done a few others in the area first.

The trail is moderately difficult and took me and my husband a little over 3 hours from the trailhead to the overlook and back. About a half mile in we saw a baby black bear in the distance then about a half mile from the overlook my husband locked eyes with an adult black bear on the trail about 50 yards away. In the few seconds that we saw the bear, my husband promptly messed his pants before the bear ran off. I then got to listen to my husband yelling, “You get out of here, bear!!!” at varying intervals for the remainder of the hike.

When we got to the overlook, the view was incredible and definitely worth the hike. My husband messed himself again at the sight and sounds of what we think was a timber rattlesnake near a rock just off the trail.

We were the only two on the trail on the way to the overlook, then passed 4 hikers on our way back down the trail to the trailhead. Overall, this was a great hike.

Disclaimer: my husband is the author of this post.

Did this trail six days ago and we decided to turn around close to mile 3 because the trail was so over grown with slippery run offs due to the recent rains. It is a nice forest hike and the dogs enjoyed the portion we did with plenty of of water along the way. A few days later we hiked to the Wesser fire tower via the App trail to take in the view.

hiking
2 months ago

lovely

This is a great family friendly trail for all ages. Be sure to bring water shoes, as it is more fun to get up close in the water. I found a few large pieces of clear quartz here, my boyfriend found and attempted to catch a salamander and a snake, and my parents and uncle, his girlfriend, and kids loved the photo ops.

It's great for all ages. I am a nature photographer and the photo ops are perfect. my boyfriend loved it, and it was his first time here. My parents, uncle, his girlfriend, and his kids all loved it, too. We found beautiful rocks, flowers, and even a cave!

This is a beautiful place. nice trail, with 3 waterfalls. it is a very busy trail. lot's of people, using trail for tubing. I would recommend, early morning, or winter time.

Okay, lets first start by saying there are a number of inconsistencies in the tags and descriptions on this listing. First off, hopefully no one believes that all 14.9 miles is wheelchair accessible. That said, the last 1/4mile or so up the observation tower is probably wheelchair accessible. Also, it's worth noting that if you drive up to the visitor's center and then walk the 1/2mile to the top (separate listing on this site), there is a sign that says it's NOT ADA compliant (due to steepness), so keep that in mind. It's a hard go even when you're not pushing a wheelchair up it!

Secondly, it states it features a river, but I guess they're just referencing the river that the road follows on your drive into GSMNP from Cherokee, NC. There is no river feature on the actual trail.

As for the trail itself, it's a pretty typical S. Appalachian trail...navigating rocks and roots are all part of the game. Well-marked and easy to navigate. If you're day-hiking this one, I suggest cutting off 3.4miles (RT) by starting at the Indian Gap Road/Road Prong Trail Trailhead. You'll miss the Beech Tree Extainment area, which is really just a fenced area with some pretty trees, and some superfluous up-and-down hills. Which, by the way are not really that bad as other users suggest. It gives your knees and legs a break from doing the SAME thing for 8 miles up and then a DIFFERENT thing for 8 miles down.

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike!! We hiked to lonesome pine overlook and back. Definitely a steady and tough incline the entire 3.3 miles up to the overlook. This was my first hike in the mountains, however my girlfriend with more hiking experience thought it was equally as challenging. Two small waterfalls along the way. The last 0.75 mile of the ascent to the overlook had several small openings in the trees with great views. An awesome preview for the beautiful views of the valley from the top of the overlook. We did see a black bear on the trail during our descent about 30 yards ahead of us. He was as curious as I was but after discovering my girlfriend had to retire her britches, I made noise and he went on his way. If you’re in the deep creek area looking for a tougher hike, this trail is perfect. It took us about 3.5-4 hours with all pictures and black bear interaction included.

Did the whole thing and really enjoyed it. We especially liked the steeper narrower sections of the trail. Even the 4 year old made it with minimal complaining! The kids want to go back and tube the Creek next time.

I would recommend this as a shuttle hike or key swap. Even our seasoned hikers did not like all the steep climbs. Despite being just 8 miles one way, this is a moderate hike. Lovely thick forest floor and fun to meet some AT thru hikers.
If you have bad knees, you will need your hiking poles and compression wraps.

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