Cherokee, North Carolina

Cherokee, North Carolina offers some of the best outdoor activities and attractions in the area. Explore the top trails and outdoor adventures in the area, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tsali Recreation Area, Nantahala National Forest, and Oconaluftee Indian Village. Visit the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and Great Smoky Mountains Railroad for magnificent views and unique experiences. For a must-visit place, check out the Oconaluftee Islands Park for an intimate and calming day. With plenty of outdoor activities and attractions, Cherokee, North Carolina is the ideal destination for those seeking an outdoor adventure.

Top Spots in and near Cherokee

  • 35.629385,-83.450994

    Camp out at Mt. LeConte Lodge via Alum Cave

    5.0
    9.96 mi
    At the summit of Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the lodge sits at a elevation of 6400 feet. It is the only "accommodations" inside the park boundaries. It is the highest lodge in the eastern United States.   Accessible only by hiking one of the five trails to the summit,...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Bluff

    5.0
    10.68 mi / 3982 ft gain
    The Alum Cave trailhead is on Newfound Gap Road, 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Mt. LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smokies, and this is an extremely popular hike, so arrive early to get a parking spot and beat the crowds. Starting from the parking lot the trail gently wind...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Hike the Chimney Tops

    4.9
    4.03 mi / 1487 ft gain
    The Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most visited trails in the Smokies, which is why I recommend going up just before sunset to beat the crowd! During the summer and fall months, it's common to see a hundred people taking in the views on the same trail, but if you scramble on out after hours, y...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Fern Branch Falls

    5.0
    3.7 mi / 700 ft gain
    Take Porters Creek Trail, a gravel road alongside Porters Creek. You will pass by an old farmstead and cemetery, as well as lots of wildflowers if you're out during the spring. In a mile, keep left, then in another half mile or so you should cross over a small (and somewhat harrowing) footbridge...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Hike to the Ramsey Cascades

    4.9
    7.83 mi / 2190 ft gain
    This multi-tiered waterfall is known as the tallest in the park – a worthwhile reward for the steep and sometimes tricky terrain you'll face on the way up. The popular route to the falls also passes through an impressive old-growth forest, which apparently boasts some of the tallest trees in the...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Grotto Falls Trail

    5.0
    1.83 mi / 585 ft gain
    This is an intermediate hike along Trillium Gap Trail. There are four stream crossings on your way to the falls as you hike through an idyll, often wildflower-sprinkled landscape. Late spring is best for catching blooms. Once at the waterfall, you can walk behind the cascade of water. This is a ...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Quilliam Cave via Courthouse Rock Trail

    2.85 mi / 1404 ft gain
    Quilliam Cave via Courthouse Rock Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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  • Cullowhee, North Carolina

    Exploring two legendary Cherokee sites: Judaculla Rock and Devil's Courthouse, North Carolina

    5.0
    0.9 mi / 258 ft gain
    Judaculla was an ancient Cherokee spirit being and giant. He ruled in western North Carolina in the traditional Cherokee homeland. Once while chasing some hunters, when he jumped to the ground, his hand hit a rock. You can still see the print on Judaculla Rock. It is the most elaborate piece of r...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Mount LeConte-Cliff Tops via Rainbow Falls Trail

    4.5
    13.37 mi / 3993 ft gain
    Begin at the Rainbow Falls trail parking lot. This is very popular area especially in the summer. If the parking area at the trail head is full there is additional parking located just past the main lot. From here the Rainbow Falls trail is just under 14 miles to the summit of Mount Leconte. Elev...
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  • 35.675929,-83.485764

    Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

    5.0
    5.83 mi
    This 6 mile drive is a great way to spend a scenic day in the Smokies. The road is open to cars only (no trucks or RVs) and runs one-way. There are no visitors centers after you head out, so be sure to bring everything you need along. The drive begins at the historic Ogle farmstead, which is als...
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  • Waynesville, North Carolina

    Explore Cataloochee Valley

    5.0
    History, solitude and wildlife abound in this quiet corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but getting here is not easy. Take the scenic route via Cove Creek Road from Cosby, TN. Drive 40 miles along the twisting, gravel road to Cataloochee, NC. The scenery along the way is outstanding, b...
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  • Tuckasegee, North Carolina

    Paddling The Slab and Eternity Hole

    5.0
    The Slab and Eternity hole, located on the East Fork of the Tuckasegee River, are two of Western, NC's best play spots for kayakers of all levels. Paddle down only yards from the public boat launch to The Slab where you can perfect your surfing in kayak, SUP, or whatever boat you float. A few hun...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Twin Creeks Trail

    4.0
    4.54 mi / 879 ft gain
    Twin Creeks Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a river located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Cataract Falls, Smoky Mountains

    4.4
    1.09 mi
    You will find the trailhead to this gravel path just to the left of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The easy walk along Fighting Creek is scenic and tends not to be crowded, either. At the end of the hike you will find a beautiful 25-foot waterfall. Please refrain from climbing on or around the f...
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Gatlinburg Trail

    5.0
    3.8 mi / 351 ft gain
    Gatlinburg Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a waterfall located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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  • Gatlinburg, Tennessee

    Hike the Cucumber Gap and Little River Loop

    4.0
    5.5 mi / 800 ft gain
    This loop offers a scenic 2.5 mile hike next to the river before looping back around via the Cucumber Gap Trail. At the tail end, you'll connect with the Jakes Creek Trail for about 0.7 miles to return you back to the parking lot.  Many people hike this trial clockwise, but if it's a hot day, it...
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