Date: April 27, 2016
Miles: 0.5 miles Elevation Gain: 75 ft.↑ Elev./Mi: 150 Grade: 3%
Difficulty: Class 1 Hiking Time: 0:10 Pace: 3.0 mph Avg. Temp.: 78
The trailhead for Cooper Creek Trail is on Cooper Creek Road, 3 miles from US Hwy. 19 between Cherokee and Bryson City, NC. The trail is a connector from Cooper Creek Road to Deeplow Gap Trail. There is no public parking. The guidebooks suggest getting permission to park on private property. For the 900 Miler, you are best to hike this small section when you cover Deeplow Gap Trail. Access is not straightforward and it’s a long way to go for a half mile of hiking. Plus, it only take about 10 minutes total.
Cooper Creek Trail is one of a handful of trails in the park that leads one to wonder why it is an official trail at all. It’s purpose is to provide access much like the way many trailheads lead from campgrounds or picnic areas. But because it’s an easy hike and convenient if captured along with Deploy Gap, the level of annoyance is minimal. The trail is a gravel road bed. At about 300 yds, you will see a clearing on private property across the creek. At 0.2 miles the creek and the trail literally merge for 100 yards or so. It is possible to bypass wet feet on the left bank but bear in mind, the creek is the park boundary so you are on private property at that point. At 0.5 miles you cross the Cooper Creek on a footlog and the Deeplow Gap trail is just beyond.