North Carolina – Great Smoky Mountain Tourism
Hidden on the Western side of North Carolina are the Great Smoky Mountains- named for the fog that shrouds the very peaks giving them a smoky appearance at times. These mountains are the natural divider between North Carolina and Tennessee. They bring visitors from around the world- and with good reasons.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is full of things to do and see. Here, wildlife abounds. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking the many trails to waterfalls, beautiful vistas and shaded lanes. Biking trails provide a quiet ride or a strenuous trek, depending on the path you chose. Campsites are available for those who wish to pack a tent and some matches and get away for awhile. Or, bring the family and enjoy one of the many cabins along creeks and bluffs. Saddle the horses and explore the back country. The options are as varied as the views.
Look for black bear, elks and deer as you ride or hike. Cataloochee is a great place to see wildlife, as well as other things. The Hannah cabin was built in 1864 and has a handmade chimney- a rarity for those days. The Caldwell House and the Palmer Chapel also still stand for visitors to enjoy. The Palmer Chapel was the only church in Big Cataloochee. Old circuit-riding preachers held church once a month. Sunday School was held every week, probably led by local leaders. Visitors can also see Cataloochee fields where sometimes elk can be spotted. The mountains surrounding Cataloochee shroud in early-morning fog, hence the name, Great Smokies.
See a mountain farm in Oconaluftee. Here, historic buildings from throughout the Smokies have been moved and preserved into one area known as the Mountain Farm Museum. See an apple barn, a springhouse and a log home. The Davis House is an example of chestnut wood log homes, not available now due to the chestnut blight that wiped out the American Chestnuts.
Cherokee is another don’t-miss in the Great Smoky Mountains. Here visitors can see a Cherokee Indian Reservation, watch as crafters make baskets and dolls, and hear the natives speak of how they ended up in these mountains. There is also Harrah’s – the new casino located on the reservation. Come and gamble in a beautiful resort casino, then bed down in a gorgeous suite or room overlooking the mountains.
If something a little less crowded is what you want, try the Panther Creek Cabins. These cabins, along with many others, offer creek-side relaxation. The cabins include a tiny kitchenette, a comfortable bed, and bathroom. Nothing fancy- unless you count brilliant stars overhead, crickets and tree frogs singing as you rock on the porch, or deer stepping in for a drink along the fern-covered banks.
In any season, the Great Smoky Mountains are the place to be. Summer camping, fall foliage, winter skiing and spring flowers and bear cubs- the Smokies are calling. Pack a bag and come for a weekend. You may stay for a lifetime.