Best Outdoor Adventures in Cherokee, NC

Best Outdoor Adventures in Cherokee, NC

Cherokee, North Carolina, is full of fun adventures. Whether you want to explore peaceful nature trails or embark on an exciting river adventure, you will enjoy visiting the Smoky Mountains. Cherokee is full of breathtaking views, fun outdoor recreation and peaceful trails. 

When you visit Cherokee, North Carolina, you can fish for tasty trout, ride horses on wooded trails, float down the river and enjoy cozy campfires. No matter how you choose to explore this incredible area, you are sure to have a blast enjoying the following activities:


Hiking Cherokee's beautiful trails is a fantastic way to explore all that the mountains have to offer. From fresh air to breathtaking views, the great outdoors has peace and relaxation to offer on a hike. Hiking is an excellent form of exercise and a grand opportunity to spot some wildlife in its natural habitat. 

For an extra stunning view, hike the Pigeon Creek Trail to reach Mingo Falls. This short trail will lead you to a 120-foot waterfall on the outskirts of the national park. This trail is moderate difficulty and extends short of half a mile long.

Horseback Riding

Embark on a horseback riding excursion to experience the trails from a new perspective. Horseback riding in Cherokee, North Carolina, is a fun way to get closer to animals and nature. Ride along gorgeous wooded trails, past mountain streams and along creekside scenery with the companionship of a beautiful four-legged friend. 

Visit Smokemont Riding Stables to choose from various horseback riding trail options, or schedule a horseback trail ride at End of the Trail Riding Stables to enjoy breathtaking mountain views.

Riding the Smoky Mountain Bike Trails

If you are looking for bike trails in the Smoky Mountains, you can ride bicycles on certain trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Lower Deep Creek Trail, Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail allow bicycles and offer beautiful views for a fun adventure. You can also bike on Cherokee's uncrowded back roads that permit vehicles. 

If you seek a more exhilarating bicycling experience, Cherokee also offers exciting mountain biking opportunities. Fire Mountain Trails is a multi-use trail system perfect for thrill-seeking bicyclists. Tsali trails also provide mountain biking pathways ranging from mild to extreme challenge levels.

Whitewater Rafting

Rush through Cherokee's waters on an exhilarating whitewater rafting adventure. With class II and III rapids, Nantahala River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in Cherokee, North Carolina. 

As a dam-controlled river, Nantahala draws water from Nantahala Lake to provide a dependable water source, so each ride is full of fun and exciting rapids. Nantahala Outdoor Center offers guided whitewater rafting trips with skilled instruction for a fantastic time on the river.

Water Tubing

Cherokee is also home to milder waters if you want to enjoy a fun float down the river. Relax and take in scenic views as you gently bob and glide along cool waters with Smoky Mountain Tube and Raft. Stop at a swimming hole for a refreshing dip or soar off the rope swing and make a splash. Water tubing near Maggie Valley, North Carolina, is a fun and relaxing way to enjoy Cherokee's calmer rapids. 

 Kayaking in Cherokee, North Carolina


Kayaking in Cherokee, North Carolina, is another fun way to explore the water. Hop in a kayak and traverse the waters with your double-bladed paddle. If you don't own a kayak of your own, you can visit Adventure Smoky Mountain Kayaking to rent a kayak and paddle along the French Broad River. 

Bird Watching

Various bird species inhabit North Carolina, so you can witness beautiful feathered wildlife while visiting Cherokee. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to approximately 240 bird species. If you explore the park's trails and open fields, you may spot some of the following species common to the area:

  • Eastern screech owl
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Carolina chickadee
  • Belted kingfisher
  • Carolina wren
  • American goldfinch
  • Song sparrow
  • Acadian flycatcher
  • Yellow-billed cuckoo
  • Wood thrush
  • Ovenbird
  • Black-and-white warbler
  • Yellow-throated vireo
  • Louisiana waterthrush
  • Indigo bunting
  • Scarlet tanager
  • Chipping sparrow


Whether you are an experienced angler or looking to try a new hobby, Cherokee is a fantastic place to fish. Cast a line in Cherokee's streams and private fisheries to catch various trout species including brook, rainbow, brown and golden. Whether you enjoy a relaxing solo fishing trip, fish with friends or spend a day teaching your kids how to fish, you will have a great time casting in Cherokee's waters.

When you camp at Kampgrounds of America, you can fish for trout in the Raven Fork River without even leaving the campground. You can also enjoy trout fishing in nearby ponds framing the campground's west boundary. 

Driving the Blue Ridge Parkway

Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway to explore some of North Carolina's most stunning views. Make your way along winding roads and stop at the various lookout points to take in magnificent valleys, mountain peaks and endless skylines. Along the parkway, you can also stop at peaceful picnic areas to enjoy an outdoor lunch or hit one of the area's hiking trails. The Blue Ridge Parkway is also a fantastic location to see beautiful plants and wildlife. 


When you camp under North Carolina's stars, you can enjoy the great outdoors and experience all that Cherokee has to offer. Camping is the perfect opportunity to enjoy relaxing mornings breathing in the fresh mountain air while listening to a symphony of chirping birds and peaceful stream waters. Sit around a cozy campfire with friends and family as you share stories and tasty meals cooked over the fire each night before you go to bed.

When you camp at KOA in the Smoky Mountains, you can enjoy fun campground activities just steps away from your tent, cabin or RV. Make a splash in the campground pool or soak up some sunshine before relaxing in the hot tub. Snuggle up with a blanket in your camp chair to enjoy a movie under the stars on a giant outdoor screen. 

You and your family can also enjoy special themed weekends, a playground, crafts, an outdoor bouncing pillow and special KOA campfire times when you can meet fellow campers. 

Camp at Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA Holiday

From exciting adventures to gorgeous views, Cherokee, North Carolina, is full of fantastic outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy peaceful nature walks or exhilarating mountain adventures, you'll have fun visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. Cherokee/Great Smokies KOA Holiday offers fun activities and convenient amenities for a comfortable stay

At KOA, you can spend your day exploring Cherokee and enjoying the campground before snuggling up around a glowing campfire at night. Book a stay at KOA to start your Cherokee adventures.

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