9 Things to Do in Cherokee This Fall & Winter11.30.2018
Wondering what to do in Cherokee, NC, this fall and winter? Now is the perfect time for a peaceful and picturesque getaway to our beautiful mountain town. Pack your bags and leave the planning to us. With these nine fun, family-friendly things to do this season, you'll want to stay a few nights or more to make the most of your trip. We can even help you find the perfect accommodations.
1. Cherokee Christmas Parade
Cherokee’s Christmas Parade is a beloved annual tradition to ring in the holiday season. This year's parade starts at 6 p.m. on December 9. Be sure to arrive early to claim a spot, and consider bringing camping chairs and bags for catching candy thrown from passing floats. All parking along the parade path and surrounding areas will cease 15 minutes prior to the parade and roads will not open again until the conclusion of parade festivities.
2. The Museum of the Cherokee People
Experience Cherokee History at the Museum of the Cherokee People with cutting edge displays and learn from the Atsila Anotasgi Cultural Specialists. The Museum is open daily all year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except the day preceding the Thanksgiving holiday, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
3. Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.
Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc. is the oldest Native American cooperative in the country, with over 350 juried artisans creating traditional Cherokee masks, pottery, baskets, jewelry, and much more. Browse their incredible selection of art and pick out something for everyone on your holiday list! Don’t miss the gallery in the back of the coop, which displays Cherokee baskets, wood carvings and pottery from celebrated Cherokee artists across the decades. Qualla is open year round but closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. Winter hours (September–May) are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; and closed Sundays in January and February.
Photo by Jaci Peña Photography
4. Oconaluftee Islands Park
Soak up the soothing river views at the Oconaluftee Islands Park. Enjoy the sound of rushing mountain streams, flat rocks to skip across the water, and a large bamboo forest that’s filled with enchantment.
Photo by Traciemq79
5. Mingo Falls
Rising over 120 feet on the Qualla Boundary, Mingo Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the southern Appalachians. The hike from the parking area to the falls viewing platform is under a half mile, although it’s steep—161 steps! The steps do have a handrail and there is a bench at the top to take a seat and catch your breath. The view at the top is definitely worth it!
Photo from Sequoyah National Golf Club
6. Sequoyah National Golf Club
Sequoyah National Golf Club offers beautiful mountain views from every hole, bringing each golfer a new perspective on the ancient Cherokee creation story. Originally formed by the flaps of the great buzzard’s wings, the mountains here frame Robert Trent Jones II's elegant, challenging design. Enjoy the course's breathtaking views this winter.
Photo by Luckofthekeela
7. Chase the Sun at Waterrock Knob
As the second highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Waterrock Knob Overlook (milepost 451.2) is worth a visit. If you’re looking for a quick hike, there is a one-mile round trip trail to the top of Waterrock Knob, which was named after the stream where hunters and farmers collected water. Whether you’re there in time for sunrise or sunset, the circular parking lot means you can see both east and west views. Check out our guide of 13 hikes in and around the area, for more outdoor adventures.
Photo of Michael Bradley from Fly_Fish_Cherokee
8. Fish Cherokee
Michael Bradley, a Cherokee native and member of the USA Fly Fishing/World Championship Fly Fishing Team says that some of the best fishing can be done on warm winter days, when the fish are more active and “catchable,” and the water is nice and clear. With his company, Fly Fish Cherokee, LLC, Michael takes small groups out to his favorite spots, including families with children, to practice catch-and-release fly fishing in Cherokee.
Photo by Shredman91
9. Fire Mountain Trail System
The Cherokee Fire Mountain Trail System is free to the public, and open every day. The 10.5-mile, mixed-use network provides guests with a variety of paths and seven total trails, perfect for hikers, bikers, and runners. There are single-track and wider sections, as well as smooth spots and more challenging trails. The trailhead is conveniently located a hundred yards from the Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, NC, where it also shares a parking lot.