Revel in nature, Cherokee style.
Most of us don’t even know we’ve lost it—our innate connection to the earth. The Cherokee visualize nature as inclusive of all things: animals, plants and people—all of equal importance—to ensure balance and harmony. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? Put your shades on. It’s time for you to experience the outdoors with a new perspective.
Paradise for curious nature lovers.
Having Great Smoky Mountains National Park at your doorstep means heaven for outdoorsy folk. Sacred Cherokee sites and stories appear around every bend in the trail. The Cherokee view their native home as a “living garden,” alive with food from the rivers to the top of the mountains, requiring great care and respect so that they eat well and stay in harmony with nature. Consider that over 800 miles of the best hiking trails east of the Mississippi are located here. Or consider the effect of viewing waterfalls of such cascading awesomeness you feel them flowing right through you. Like Mingo. Or Soco. They have to be seen to be believed, as does the successful reintroduction of elk. The herd that makes Cherokee its home provides something only nature can: you’re left feeling more connected, like someone’s tapped your spirit gently on the shoulder, encouraging it to wake from a long slumber.
Drench your soul.
Be it kayak, canoe, raft or tube; whether it’s rapids or the serene waters of the Oconaluftee you seek—you’ll find in Cherokee a place where worries simply drift away with the murmur of the healing waters. Oconaluftee Islands Park is a central hub for water lovers. From a cooling, relaxing wade with the little ones to picnics full of laughter and body surfing, the Islands Park frees you from mundane modern existence even before you realize you’ve forgotten to check Facebook for hours.
Cherokee is for the birds.
No, really. This area is host to over 200 species of birds and six state-recognized birding trails, making it one of the best bird watching sites in the Southeast. So, if you haven’t seen a Rose-breasted Grosbeak in a while...keep your fingers crossed; you might also catch a glimpse of a black bear or two—real or made of fiberglass. Which version do you imagine your companion would rather encounter? This is anything but a boring vacation.
Dimming of the day.
You’ve braved the wild outdoors and seen a lot. The bonfire warms you into a sleepy haze, and your head is now filled with images of ancient petroglyphs and exploding pink blossoms of rhododendron reflecting in the rippling pools below the waterfalls. You can almost see the creatures you’ve heard about: the water bears wallowing in their purple puddles that they were known to imbue with transformative powers. Now it’s time for a comfortable bed in Cherokee for the evening. Even a rugged outdoorsman can use a rest in a comfy La-Z-Boy.