With your hands as your paddles, there’s no way to get closer to the water than tubing. Tube rental companies border Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering rides to put-ins or easy directions to the one-mile walk upstream. Deep Creek offers two sections — the narrower whitewater of the upper creek, or the calm and wide lower section. Take your time and stop to explore swimming holes and waterfalls along the ride. Tubing is inexpensive and a great first introduction to a bit of whitewater.
Directions: From downtown Bryson City, head north on Depot St. 0.2 miles to Collins St. This turns into Deep Creek Rd. — follow it 1 mile to the first of several tube rental outlets.