Hiking in Cherokee

Family hiking on a forest trail in the sunshine, viewed from behind
Two elderly people with backpacks walking arm-in-arm along a forest trail, viewed from behind, enclosed in a diamond-shaped frame with a green border.

On your North Carolina getaway, put a Smoky Mountains spring in your step.

With over 800 miles of hiking trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most exquisite natural beauty in the country.

Hiking trails range from rugged backcountry trails to relatively easy walks in the woods. Expect to see wildlife–from eagles and hawks to a deer exploring a cove with her fawn. If you happen to be hiking along the north bank of the Tuckaseegee, watch out for the Uktena: the legendary great horned serpent with the talismanic diadem. Be sure to bring a tomahawk just in case.

Popular hiking trails

  • The Oconaluftee River Trail is a short, 1.5-mile trail connecting the GSMNP Visitor Center with Cherokee, near the Saunooke Village area. It’s an easy walk, and the only area trail where dogs and bicycles are allowed.
  • Drive out Big Cove Road 5.1 miles from Saunooke Village and take a short uphill trail to the beautiful Mingo Falls. Difficulty: moderate. 600 yards round trip.
  • Both the Oconaluftee River Trail and Mingo Falls are on the Cherokee map on this site. Visit a Cherokee visitor center for more hiking trail recommendations.
A couple stands together on a mountain, overlooking a vast landscape of colorful autumn trees under a clear blue sky. the image is presented in a diamond shape with a yellow border.

Stay and play

Each place you visit in Cherokee pulses with the stories and significance of a people whose roots run deep and whose ancient wisdom is fascinating to uncover. Nestled in the lush landscapes of Western North Carolina, Cherokee invites you to smell the wood smoke and open your ears. If you listen closely, maybe you can hear the chanting of the little Nunnehi people of the mountain peaks. No need to resist Cherokee’s invitations to dive right in. Fire off a blowgun if you dare, but make sure your spouse is in the clear. As you cast your line into the trout-filled rivers or wash your face in the sweet spray of a waterfall, let the powerful feelings of Cherokee carry you. Even if it’s just for a day or two.

Fire Mountain Trails
fire mountain

Fire Mountain Trails

Oconaluftee Indian Village
Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.
Sequoyah National Golf Club
Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort
River Tubing

River Tubing

Oconaluftee Islands Park
Fire Mountain Disc Golf
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Fire Mountain Disc Golf

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Cherokee Awaits.