Tubing at Deep Creek is a great family activity, but don't be expecting a lazy river! The water is cold, there are lots of rocks to dodge, and you need to stay alert. But it is so much FUN!
TUBES: Deep Creek is located in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Several rental places line the drive up to the Park. Most offer tubes with backs, but we found that there were very few places on the water where you could actually lean back and relax. Having had some experience with the creek in the past, we chose the bigger heavy-duty black inner-tubes. The prices are similar at all of the vendors, so take your pick of the rental places. Toss the tubes on top of your car and drive up to the parking area to start your fun. When we rented ours, life jackets were included for all the kids.
THE CREEK: Our extended family visited Deep Creek on a warm day in June. After a picnic lunch, our group divided up. The little kids and a few moms to splash in the shallows and play on the creek bank near the parking and picnic area, the rest of the group to trek up the trail with our tubes.
There are two put-in points along the trail. For younger kids, the lower level is the best bet. You still have a lot of fun, and depending on the water level, lots of rocks to dodge. But if you are visiting with teens, you may find the upper level to be more fun.
We chose the upper put-in point. Our 10-year-old is a very good swimmer and we were going down the creek in a large group, but even then, I probably would have been more confident if she had worn a helmet, too. At points, the water gets going quickly and there are huge boulders to dodge and push off. And if you are traversing the upper part of the creek you will almost certainly flip out of your tube a few times along the way.
There are no life guards or safety rules here, so caution is advised, but if you are with adventurous teens or tweens who don't mind a few bumps or bruises, there's no better way to cool down on a hot day!
Good To Know:
-While this cold moving water doesn't attract a lot of mosquitoes, bug spray is a must if you are hanging around the lower levels of the creek with little ones.
-Sunscreen is a good plan too - you don't realize just how much makes it down through the trees until you are burned!
-Don't forget to bring a towel and change of clothes to change into after tubing.
-Make sure to double check the time your tubes need to be returned to the vendor!
Located within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Deep Creek is one area that is definite must visit for families! There is an abundance of outdoor activities to be experienced here such as mountain biking, fishing, camping, and picnicking to name a few. However, if you have never floated down Deep Creek on an inner tube, this is one experience that you can't miss. As you drive into the Deep Creek area from Bryson City, you'll pass several tubing companies ready to equip you with a wooden seat or fully inflatable inner tube. The upper section of the creek is a bit bumpier than the slower flowing bottom portion. Relax as you make your way down and enjoy a couple stops at the swimming hole or waterfall. For about $5 or less, you can tube all day. Don't forget a picnic lunch!
Know if you go: The plastic inner tubes with a back are your best bet if you want to sit back. There are a couple inner tube companies right at the entrance of the park which is convenient since you do have to drive up to the parking lot with tubes on the top of your car.