Cherokee North Carolina is situated in the Great Smokey Mountains and is the headquarters to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. Stretching along a beautiful river valley this quaint mountain town boasts both the southern entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the southernmost point of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the country. Millions of visitors each year enjoy the parks miles of trails, rivers, and roadways. Whether you are a true outdoorsman or someone who enjoys hiking by automobile, there is surely an activity to be found. The drive from Cherokee North Carolina to Gatlinburg, TN. on US 441 will take you into the heart of the park and often above the clouds. Almost any clear day you can see the mist hanging in the valleys, hence the name Smoky Mountains.
The Blue Ridge Parkway’s 469 miles of winding twisting beauty comes to an end in Cherokee North Carolina. Stretching from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia this roadway is one of a kind. Meandering across the tops of mountains, without a single stop sign or stop light, passing over countless creeks and rivers, one can easily spend days traveling its entire route. We suggest no more than 80-100 miles in any days drive. You have to stop at the overlooks, hike some trails and visit some waterfalls to get a true appreciation of the land you are passing through.
The town of Cherokee North Carolina, itself is a magical destination. There is plenty to do. Tubing, fishing, hiking, and visiting the cultural museums and exhibits are all within walking distance. Scattered around town are painted bears, eclectic shopping, and great places to dine. A couple notable places to visit are the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and The Oconaluftee Indian Village. Be sure and catch the historical drama “Unto These Hills” presented each year during tourist season. Also, look around town for the herds of Elk often spotted at dawn and dusk.
Two notable falls can be found close to town. Mingo Falls is about 5 miles out of town on Big Cove Road. One of the most beautiful waterfalls, you will find in all the area. The only problem is the 100 plus stairs that takes you up to it. Once at the top however it is just an easy 150 yards or so to the platform at the base of the falls. Another great waterfall located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway is Soco Falls. Take the Blue Ridge parkway north from Cherokee for about 13 miles. Exit onto US 19 south go 1.3 miles and the parking area is on your left. This magnificent twin falls is seldom visited. There is a nice view from the overlook but do yourself a favor if you are fit and descend with the aid of a conveniently placed rope down to the base.
Article written and submitted By Dave Wolfe the Wayward Traveler
Check out Dave’s Book on the Cherokee North Carolina, the Great Smokey Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway and beyond! It can be purchased on his page! Wayward Traveler Guide
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