Name: Deep Creek Picnic Area
Picnic Sites: 58
Pavilion: Yes – Seats 70
Hours: Closes at 8:00 PM from May 1 – August 31 and at sunset all other days.
Dates Open: Year-Round
Directions to Deep Creek Picnic Area
From Downtown Bryson City: Take Deep Creek Road (it becomes W. Deep Creek Road) all the way to Deep Creek Picnic Area. The picnic area is located next to Deep Creek Campground.
Deep Creek Picnic Area Description
The Deep Creek area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a very popular vacation spot, especially in the summer season. The creek is an excellent place to tube and fish.
Several trails with waterfalls are in the area. Adventure is around every corner.
Deep Creek Campground is next door and is a great place to park your recreational vehicle or camper. Stay overnight, a week, or a month. For more information about the campground, check out our Deep Creek Campground page.
Bryson City is a few minutes away with grocery stores, hotels, gas, restaurants, or just about anything you may need.
Deep Creek Picnic Area is a beautifully maintained outdoor environment. The National Park Service does a great job with this facility.
You may bring your dog to the picnic area, however, it must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet at all times. You may not leave your pet alone at any time.
RELATED: Paws in the Park Pet Policy
Only a few picnic areas in the park are open year-round. Deep Creek is one of the areas open to the public from January to December.
Each picnic site has at least one table and a grill. Some sites have more than one table for larger families or small groups.
Fifty-eight picnic sites make picnicking possible for hundreds of people at a time. Picnic sites are free to use.
Unfortunately, parking in this picnic area is not right next to the picnic sites. You must park in one of the many parking areas along the loop and tote your supplies to the picnic table. Don’t worry, it’s not that far.
Deep Creek Picnic Area’s restrooms are open year-round. They have flushable toilets and potable water if needed.
Keep in mind that Deep Creek Picnic Area is in a bear habitat. Never approach a black bear or any other wildlife in the park. Bears can be dangerous when they feel threatened.
In addition, never, ever, feed a bear or leave food out where a bear can get to it. A fed bear is a dead bear!
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RELATED: Three Big Reasons You Should Not Feed Bears
Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion
For larger groups, the Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion accommodates 70 people at 15 covered picnic tables. Four charcoal grills make cooking at the pavilion a breeze.
One downside is that there is no electricity or water at the pavilion. Actually, there is no electricity at any of the pavilions in the park (not that we are aware of anyway).
Restrooms at the pavilion are open only from mid-April to October 31 each year. However, the restrooms in the main picnic area are a short walk away and are open all year.
IMPORTANT: Pavilions must be reserved in advance. Each day, two periods are available for rental: 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. If you want the pavilion for the entire day, you must reserve it for both periods.
A charge of $20 is required for each reservation period.
Availability, reservations, and payments can be made online at Recreation.gov or by calling 800-365-2267.
Finally, if the pavilion is not being used, anyone may use it. However, if someone with a reservation shows up, you must pack everything immediately and move to a picnic site. That can be a pain, so you must decide if it is worth the risk.
Nearby Points of Interest
Deep Creek Trail Loop is popular for hikers heading to two separate waterfalls. Juney Whank Falls Loop is another trail less than a mile round trip. A beautiful waterfall awaits you at the end. Tubing in the creek is one of the reasons thousands of people visit this campground each week.