Episode 007 – Touring Cherokee and Bryson City

Recently I read a travelers Facebook post and someone asked if there was anything to do in Cherokee or Bryson City and someone answered quickly with an abrupt “NO”. How wrong they are. If your spend any time touring Cherokee and Bryson City you’ll quickly find out what an important historical area this really is. Plus a bevy of beautiful waterfalls, hikes, tubing and a great railway. Did I mention the casino?

Cherokee culture can be seen as a book filled with 13,000 years of artistic invention and intellectual achievement, survival and perseverance, featuring a peace-loving people who proudly dealt with the savagery of war and overcame.  While touring Cherokee and Bryson City you can explore the age-old arts and crafts of the Cherokee artisans at Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.; see them made and demonstrated at Oconaluftee Indian Village, with its incredibly vivid recreation of an historic Cherokee village. Attend the spectacular outdoor drama “Unto These Hills” under a starry night or take a hike to Mingo Falls to feel the spray that the ancient Cherokees have felt on their faces through history. Don’t forget the interactive cultural exhibits waiting at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, or the hundreds of opportunities to find the Cherokee culture outdoors. 

Attractions in Cherokee:

Santa’s Land Fun Park • It is great for kids. There is no waiting for the rides, there is a zoo, a pond with paddle boats, a train, magic show, and more….plus you can visit with Santa! Small kids need to experience the Rudycoaster, the Ferris wheel, playgrounds, there’s tons of shaded areas. This is a classic amusement park and zoo, a great slow down day.

Pan Fer Gold •“Pan Fer Gold” is the perfect family adventure, located in the heart of the Smokies. The suspense of washing away dirt in hopes of striking it rich by discovering natural gold or gems is fun for everyone. Everyone takes home a treasure!

The Bears Project •The Bears Project started in 2005 with the intention of showcasing the variety of talented artists within the Qualla Boundary. There are 20 bears in Cherokee that are decorated.

Fire Mountain Trails • Fire Mountain Trails are Cherokee’s newest source for big adventure—a multi-use trail system that’s made to mountain bike, hike, or run. The network of trails is more than 10.5 miles total, so there’s plenty of room for everyone. If you like your trails with a nice flow of features, with fun berms and quick hits of elevation that are manageable and fun, Fire Mountain is made for you.

Bryson City Attractions:

Smoky Mountains RailwayNantahala Gorge This 4-1/2 hour excursion makes a 44 mile round trip to the Nantahala Gorge, crossing the historic Fontana Lake trestle. There’s a 1-hour layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC), and options for packages including rafting, zip-lining and jeep tours. Trains to the gorge in summer and fall also include an all-adult first class moonshine car – The Carolina Shine – featuring spirits from NC craft distilleries.

Tuckasegee River This 4-hour excursion makes a 32 mile round trip to the quaint village of Dillsboro, passing by the train wreck set in The Fugitive starring Harrison Ford and through a tunnel. There is a 1-1/2 hour layover in Dillsboro. 

Themed Trains:  Polar Express Christmas excursion making it one of the most popular holiday events in the Smokies. Other family-oriented excursions include two PEANUTS-themed events — the Easter Beagle Express in spring, and the Great Pumpkin Patch Express in October. As well as the July 4 Freedom Train. Special dining events include BBQ & Brews and “Uncorked” wine experience.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Zip Line Adventure Park : Race on dual zip lines at over 550’ in the air and enter NOC’s Zip Line Adventure Park – a multi-level ropes challenge course with over 16 aerial obstacles! Our signature course is NOC’s Mountaintop Zip Line Tour. There are many zip line canopy tours, but there are none like the Mountaintop. The Mountaintop is perched on the rim of the Nantahala Gorge, over 600 feet above the Nantahala River below, featuring 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala Gorge. 

These are just a few of the attractions we’ll talk about on the podcast Touring Cherokee and Bryson City.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://wordpress.com/post/dancingbearfoot.blog/53

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

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