If you’d like to travel and camp in one of the most visited National Parks in the eastern United States, you must visit the Great Smoky National Park at its’ southern entrance in Cherokee, North Carolina. Cherokee is a small town located on a Cherokee Indian reservation of the eastern band of the Cherokee Nation. Previously the town was called “Yellow Hill.”
Cherokee is predominantly a tourist destination today, with a casino, the Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Cherokee Botanical Garden and Nature Trail. In addition to the Great Smoky Mountains, the city offers access to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Gatlinburg, TN lies about an hour over the mountains, while Asheville is under an hour to the west. Other cities you may consider traveling to while in Cherokee include Waynesville, around 30 minutes away, and Maggie Valley just under 20 minutes to the east.
The Great Outdoors
Pack up your travel trailer rental from Cherokee and head to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The park offers over 500,000 acres and resides in both North Carolina and Tennessee. Enjoy browsing through and observing the diverse plant and animal life including black bears and 1500 flowering plants. Wear a great pair of hiking boots for you will have over 850 miles of hiking trails with scenic panoramic views, wildlife, and stunning waterfalls to venture through. While there, venture over to Its’ highest elevation, Clingman’s Dome which sits at 6,644 feet.
Cherokee, North Carolina is at the foothills of Great Smoky Mountain National Park and is the heart of the Cherokee Tribal country. Cherokee offers horseback riding near the entrance of the Park. There is a weight limit so call ahead should you have questions. The trail ride will last about 4 hours as it meanders through a natural river and climbs up rustic trails.
You may choose to enter the Blue Ridge Parkway with your Cherokee camper rental during your outdoor recreational adventure. This scenic Parkway is known as “America’s Favorite Drive” which connects the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina north to the Shenandoah Park in Virginia. There are stunning views, wildlife, hiking trails, waterfalls and picnic areas all along this gorgeous scenic route. The Parkway offers an excellent array of fall colors during foliage season every year in the Fall.
When you book an RV in Cherokee, you will need a place to stay for a night or two. Cherokee Campground and Craig’s Cabins is located on US 19/441. It has been in operation for 40 years and offers 40 camping sites including full hook up with 30/50 amps. It’s a family-friendly campground that provides a camp store with both firewood and ice. It’s located near all major attractions. It offers fishing on the Soco River for a freshwater catch for dinner.
On the north side of Cherokee near the Park’s southern entrance is River Valley Campground and the Cherokee Great Smokies KOA. River Valley Campground has been owned and operated by the same family since 1964 and offers 100 campsites including 8 full hookups on the Raven Fork River. Some sites offer a concrete pad with cable TV including 30/50 amps. There is a campground store with a recreation and laundry room available. You have access to fishing, tubing and nearby hiking trails. This campground is pet-friendly.
Just down the street from River Valley is the KOA Campground. It’s a family-friendly and pet-friendly campground also on the Raven Fork River. It offers extended stays and full hookup sites with 30/50 amps. The deluxe sites offer concrete pads and cable TV. The campground houses three stocked trout ponds, two pools, a dog park, bike rentals, an outdoor movie screen, golf carts, a snack bar and campfire time. Nearby is hidden but splendid Mingo Falls.
Exploring the City
Cherokee is known for its’ Native American traditions. In the downtown location is Oconaluftee Indian Village and Museum. It offers live demonstrations of the 18th century Cherokee’s life and culture. You may be able to take a photo with a Cherokee Chief after the presentation.
There is also a casino located in downtown Cherokee. It offers traditional table games including blackjack, craps, and roulette. There are also casino poker tables and slots for you to enjoy. Also available are plenty of restaurants and fine dining, plus a day spa, golf and shopping if you require a refresh from the RV rental way of life.
Cherokee Bear and Zoo is conveniently located in downtown Cherokee and quite noticeable as you drive towards the Great Smoky Mountain Park entrance. It has a souvenir store and museum and is home to black bears, cinnamon bears and grizzlies that you can observe playing from an observation deck up above. Other animals that call this home include exotic tigers and lemurs. When you exit the zoo, you are able to walk to stores, ice cream parlors, restaurants and before retreating back to your peaceful campground.
If it’s a taste of a slower pace North Carolina town you are seeking, consider a luxury motorhome rental in Cherokee. Visit a museum, “hit up” the casino, relax by the river, and take in the landscape. Rent motorhome in Cherokee, NC and enjoy the peaceful way of life!