Attractions and Things to do at Cherokee, NC

All these just a short drive from Fort Wilderness Campground and RV Park at Cherokee, North Carolina.
Mingo Falls — Meaning “Big Bear” in the Cherokee language, MingoFallsis located in the Big Cove community just north of Cherokee. At 120-feet tall, it is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians.Directions

Cherokee Trout Fishing — 30 miles of some of the finest fishing for brook, rainbow and brown trout. Clear trout streams and three ponds regularly stocked. Tribal permit required, easily available at Cherokee. More info

Harrah’s Cherokee Casino — Harrah’s is a modern day tourist attraction for Cherokee with 3,000 of your favorite video games, including Live Digital Blackjack. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Dining, entertainment and special events. More info

Qualla Arts & Crafts Mutual — Founded in 1946, the oldest and leading Native American Arts cooperative in the United States. Cherokee craftsmen are keeping ancient skills alive today. The Cherokees are known for their ground-fired pottery, oak and river cane basket weaving, beadwork, stone and woodcarving, and tool making. Visiting this store is like walking through a crafts museum, except you can take home the work of these artisans. More info

Museum of the Cherokee Indian — Some of the most modern technology, computer-generated imagery, and special effects are used to retrace the 11,000 year documented history of the Cherokees. Virtual storytellers present ancient Cherokee myths. Chronological stories are paired with an extensive collection of artifacts to involve you in this fascinating story. You will meet some of the best-known Cherokees and learn of their heroic efforts to preserve their land and culture. More info

Unto These Hills Outdoor Drama — The powerful portrayal of the Cherokees’ tragic “Trail of Tears” was first produced in 1950. Music and dance and Cherokee legends are woven into the play. The drama includes many famous Cherokee including Sequoyah, Junaluska, Chief Yonaguska or Drowning Bear, William Holland Thomas (adopted son of Drowning Bear and the first and only white chief of the Cherokee), Tsali, Selu the Corn Mother and Kanati the Great Hunter. The drama is presented mid-June tthrough August. More info

Oconaluftee Indian Village — Walk through the village – a faithful reproduction of Cherokee life in the 1750s. Guides in native dress lead you to demonstrations of arrowhead making, blowguns, bead working, finger weaving, mask carving, pottery and canoe hulling. You will visit a Council House and learn about the medicinal importance of herbs, plants, bark and reeds. The Village is open from mid-May through October. More info

BRYSON CITY, NC Rated “One of the Best Outfitter’s on Earth” by National Geographic Adventure, NOC has been the leader in the rafting industry since 1972. NOC offers family friendly adventures rafting and paddling the NantahalaRiver, as well as riverside dining, lodging, shopping, mountain bike rentals, lake kayaking, wilderness medicine training and our world famous PaddlingSchool. There’s something for everyone so come see for yourself why NOC is a legend in the outdoors!

BRYSON CITY, NC Scenic rail excursions through a remote corner of North Carolina into river gorges, across valleys and through tunnels carved out of mountains. Excursions include Nantahala Gorge, Dinosaur Train, Polar Express, Mystery Theatre Dinner Train and other themed events. Your excursion includes admission to SmokyMountainsMuseum, with its collection of 7,000 Lionel engines, cars and accessories, impressive operating layout and children’s activity center.

CHEROKEE, NC28719Located 3 miles east of Cherokee on US 19. See Santa and his elves, browse through gift shops and exhibits, and visit the domestic and exotic animals in the zoo. Santa’s Land also features rides, picnic facilities, and eating establishments. Open daily 9 am to 5 pm from March 31st through October 31st. 

Did you know that Cherokee is bordered by two national parks? We’re best-known for the North Carolina half of the Great Smoky MountainsNational Park. But we’re also the southern gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park.

The beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway stretches 469 miles from Cherokee to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The Parkway was designed for a leisurely drive with plenty of pullovers to enjoy the incomparable views. Yet it’s the southernmost section of the Parkway, near Cherokee, that provides some of the most spectacular vistas. Blue Ridge Parkway map (PDF)

Two overlooks near Cherokee are among the most popular. Richard Balsam Knob (mile marker 431), the highest point on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, is a favorite of sunset watchers. Enjoy stunning views of the Great Smokies right from the parking lot at Waterrock Knob (mile marker 451.2), which sits at nearly 6,000 feet elevation.

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) both Newfound Gap and the Clingman’s Dome Observation Tower, with its 360-degree view of the mountains, are the best spots for long-range vistas. More about the GSMNP.

And Just a Short Drive Away…

About an hour west of Cherokee, in Graham County, are two natural gems —

The Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest offers a two-mile walk through an old-growth virgin forest with giant Hemlocks and Poplars.

Nearby, the 36-mile Cherohala Skyway, connecting Robbinsville and Tellico Plains, Tennessee, provides views that rival the Blue Ridge Parkway. Near Tellico Plains, take the 5-mile side trip (FS Road 210) to the 100-foot high Bald River Falls. This spectacular cascade can be viewed from your car.

Waterfalls in the Cherokee Area

Several waterfalls are accessible with a short, easy walk. The closest falls to Cherokee is the beautiful Mingo Falls, about 5 miles out Big Cove Road from SaunookeVillage. Pass the KOA Campground and look for the parking lot on your right. The walk from the parking lot is short (100 yards) but very steep.

Just east of Cherokee on US 19 towards Maggie Valley you’ll find Soco Falls on your right. There’s a small unmarked pull-off, and a short walk leads you to a viewing platform for SocoFalls and another smaller falls. 11 miles from the intersection of US 441 Bus. & US 19. (From MaggieValley, it’s about 1.5 miles west of the Blue Ridge Parkway on your left.)

Nearby Bryson City has three graceful falls just out from town in the National Park at Deep Creek — Juneywhank Falls, Tom Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls. All can be seen in an hour’s walk in the Park.

CHEROKEE, NC Want to try something out of this world? Fly with Cherokee Helicopters and see the beauty of this wonderful area from above. Every flight takes off over Thomas Peak where you will enjoy views of mountains in all directions. Flights start as low as $15.00 per person with eight different flights including a trip to the top of Clingman’s Dome the second highest peak in the eastern US. Call 828-497-5797 for reservations or just stop by.

BRYSON CITY, NC Fly through the trees above the forest floor and across 20 acres on 11 zip line sections that zigzag from slope sides, trees and elevated platforms. In your 3-hour glide and slide experience, you’ll also use three sky bridges and five transfer bridges. State-of-the-art equipment is provided including a helmet, full body harness, trolley, gloves and a tether safety line. Professional Canopy Rangers are on hand all along the way. Open all year as weather permits.

ASHEVILLE, NC 28803 Save up to $20.00 off gate price at Make priceless memories at Biltmore for just the right price. George Vanderbilt created Biltmore as an escape from everyday life. Now, you are invited to enjoy that escape for yourself. A visit to the 8,000 acre estate in the mountains of Asheville, NC provides limitless fun. Your admission includes self-guided tours of the breathtaking Biltmore House & Gardens and the Antler Hill Village, featuring the winery and the Biltmore Farm Village.

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