Wow! 9 Must-See Cherokee Nature Photos | Cherokee, NC

How will Cherokee affect you?

Wow! 9 Must-See Cherokee Nature Photos

(Photo above by Fabian Crow.)

Cherokee, NC, is unlike any other place on earth. Visitors come from all over the world to experience the culture, learn the history, and witness the natural beauty of the area. If you haven’t visited before, it’s hard for us to describe just how beautiful Cherokee, NC, is. You have to see it to believe it!

But don’t take our word for it. Follow us on Instagram, and get inspiration for your visit. Discover breathtaking mountain vistas, regional wildlife, stunning sunsets, and more.

We’ve pulled together some of our favorite photos of Cherokee, NC, taken by some of the most talented photographers in the region. We hope you enjoy them!

Cherokee is one of the top spots for viewing native elk. This photo, by Aleisha Kirkland, shows a herd running down the Oconaluftee River. Elk were reintroduced to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2001, and today they are thriving. You know it's a good day when you spot these beautiful creatures in Cherokee!
Cherokee is situated just outside the gateway to the legendary Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful, biodiverse parks in the Southeast. Views like this melt away the cares of the world. Photo by Fabian Crow. ​
A flock of birds soar over the Smokies. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to 4,000 plant species, 140 tree species, and an estimated 1,600 black bears! Photo by Travis Traylor.

Speaking of bears, these cute cubs were spotted by “brighterview” this past spring. If you spot a bear, be sure to keep a safe distance. It is illegal to willfully approach a bear within 50 yards in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

At the new Fire Mountain Trail System in Cherokee, NC, you might spot a turtle or two! The 10.5-mile trail system, which features mountain bike trails for three different skill levels that are also open to runners and hikers, is located at the top of the Oconaluftee Indian Village parking lot. Photo by Jesse Wilson.


Photographer Scott Ramsey took his pup, Lily, to enjoy the spring wildflowers. The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two walking paths where dogs are permitted in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail travels 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of Cherokee, NC. It runs through the forest, alongside the Oconaluftee River, and offers beautiful views of the river.

The Oconaluftee River is also a great place to fish! It has a good population of brown trout as well as rainbows. Fishing in Cherokee is allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, but first you'll need a permit. Photo by Visit Cherokee NC.

At the end of the day, you’ll want to catch one of Cherokee’s incredible sunsets. Look at that color! The Smokies are called “smoky” for a reason—after the mist that hovers above the peaks and valleys. The Cherokee called them shaconage (shah-con-ah-jey), or “place of the blue smoke.” Photo by Madison Hye. Learn more about Madison, a young Cherokee photographer, on our blog.

The only thing better than these gorgeous photos? Being here, in person.


For the latest snapshots of the season, be sure to follow us at Visit Cherokee NC on Instagram.

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