2017 Year in Review: Top 10 Photos from Cherokee, NC | Cherokee, NC

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2017 Year in Review: Top 10 Photos from Cherokee, NC

Cherokee, NC, is a beautiful place to call home and an amazing place to visit. So many who come to Cherokee for the first time describe a sense of peace and amazement at the culture and natural beauty in these mountains. It’s a feeling that’s hard to capture in words, but something that you have to see for yourself to truly experience.


Thanks to these talented photographers, (most of whom are from Cherokee), you can get a glimpse into the magic that Cherokee holds. We hope you enjoy this 2017 photo roundup from Cherokee, NC, and get inspired to plan your trip for 2018! To see the year-round seasonal splendor in Cherokee, be sure to follow us on Instagram at @VisitCherokeeNC.

Cherokee in the Spring

Photo by Madison Hye Long | @Madison_Hye

Madison Hye Long is a young Cherokee photographer who takes stunning photos of the place she loves the most and is proud to call home. “I really try to stay on the reservation, although sometimes I veer off on the Parkway about 20 miles off,” Madison said in a blog interview with Visit Cherokee NC. This photo highlights Cherokee in the spring and, as Madison says, is the reward for shooting at sunrise.

Two Baby Bear Cubs

Photo by Bailey Littlejohn | @Brighterview

The main North Carolina entrance to the Great Smokies National Park is on US 441, just north of Cherokee. It was during a visit to the park in May when Cherokee photographer Bailey Littlejohn came across these bear cubs. “I was about 100 feet away. I saw the mother bear walking around the tree, but she didn't seem to worry about everyone taking photos,” he said about the experience.

Rhododendron in the Summer

Photo by Madison Hye Long | @Madison_Hye 

One of the most magical sights during the summertime is the mountaintop rhododendron that explodes in and around Cherokee, NC, and throughout Western North Carolina. The blooms usually peak in the second to third week of June, but the vibrant color can still be seen in July, which is when Madison Hye Long snapped this shot.

A Brilliant Cherokee Sunset

Photo by Fabian Crow​ | @Fabian.Crow

Another young Cherokee photographer, Fabian Crowe, captures stunning photos on the ground in Cherokee, NC, as well as striking bird’s-eye views like this sunset, using a drone. Fabian’s favorite place to shoot around Cherokee, NC? “It has to be Waterrock Knob on the Blue Ridge Parkway,” he told Visit Cherokee NC.

The Cherokee Cultural Eclipse Celebration

Photo by Kristy Herron |@Maneyack

This past August, Cherokee was fortunate to be in the path of totality for the Great American Eclipse of 2017, making it one of the best viewing spots in the country. To mark this once-in-a-lifetime event, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian hosted a special Cherokee Cultural Eclipse Celebration with performances by the Warriors of AniKituhwa, and other special guests. This shot by Kristy Herron shows one of the Warriors looking through eclipse in anticipation of the big show.

Annual 4th of July Cherokee Powwow

Photo by Kristy Herron | @Maneyack

This photo by Kristy Herron was taken at Cherokee’s annual 4th of July Powwow, one of the most popular cultural events of the year! The Cherokee Powwow is the largest powwow on the east coast, drawing contestants and spectators from all over the world. Dancers as young as six compete for cash prizes in a spectacle that is as colorful as it is entertaining.  

Cherokee in the Fall

Photo by Carolina Trekker | @CarolinaTrekker

It doesn’t get more beautiful than Cherokee in the fall, when brilliant autumn hues take over the mountain foliage. This photo by Carolina Trekker shows peak color in the Smoky Mountains National Park in late October.

First Snow of the Season

Photo by Robert Stephens | @SolitaryTravelerPhoto

In late October, Cherokee, NC, awoke to a sugar-dusting of snow that was really striking against the pops of fall color. This photo by Robert Stephens of Solitary Traveler Photography was snapped near the Blue Ridge Parkway near Cherokee, and really shows off the seasonal contrast.

Snowy Portrait

Photo by Madison Hye Long | @Madison_Hye 

On the morning of December 8, a foot of snow fell in Cherokee, cloaking the landscape in stark, crisp white. Madison Hye used this backdrop as an opportunity for a stunning portrait of Jenna Grace Cruz, an 11 year old native from the Birdtown community, dressed in 16th-century traditional Cherokee wear. “The inspiration behind the photo is to bring awareness to the native youth on how important our culture is, and the beauty behind it,” Madison told Visit Cherokee NC.

Elk in the Oconaluftee

Photo by Fly Fishing the Smokies | @FlyFishingtheSmokies

Fly Fishing outfitter and guide service Fly Fishing the Smokies snapped this picture as a herd of elk crossed the Oconaluftee River in Cherokee in late November. In 2001, elk were reintroduced to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is why you can still see elk in Cherokee. If you visit between mid-September and late October, you might hear the bugling or call of the bulls during the mating season.

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