10 Best Hiking Trails in Cherokee, North Carolina

How often do you wish to go away from the city’s fast-paced life and escape into a small town? If you’re looking for a new weekend adventure, Cherokee, North Carolina has you covered!

This town offers you many outdoor activities to try, especially if you’re into hiking and connecting with nature.

Hiking in Cherokee

This article will guide you through the top hiking trails in Cherokee, North Carolina, from ancient mountains to astounding waterfalls.

1) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Between the border of North Carolina and Tennessee runs ridge upon ridge of seemingly ceaseless forestry that is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sitting as one of the oldest mountain ranges in America, it’s also known for being the most visited national park. This makes it a prominent destination for you to hike.

Not just that; it presents breathtaking mountains and quality historical sites. With 800 square miles of its natural topography, you’ll be able to observe the clear diversity among the plants and animals on its trail.

Here, you can also fill up a jarful of experiences besides hiking, such as bicycling, camping, picnicking, and even fishing in the park’s creek.

2) Mingo Falls

If you want an easy hike of 0.3 miles mixed with a bit of a climbing challenge, then come and bring yourself to Mingo Falls! 

On this trail, you’ll be climbing at least 160 steps to reach the site of a 120-foot-tall waterfall. This is the highest waterfall in the area, with the site only at least fifteen minutes away from the town. 

However, what makes this trail worth it is seeing the smooth rush of water descending the mossy rocks, composing a grand landscape to look at.

3) Mingus Creek Cemetery

If you’re interested in a moderate hike of at least six miles of an out-and-back trail along a creek, then you’ll enjoy the path Mingus Creek Cemetery has for you!

While popular, this trail is known for its quietness and solitude, with only the stream of the creek guiding you through the tracks. 

You’ll also pass log footbridges over small currents of water along the trail. If you choose to have a ranger to guide you, they’ll be available to tell you stories about the culture and burial traditions done in the cemetery. 

4) Fire Mountain Trail System

Looking for an exciting adventure that starts right inside the town of Cherokee? The Fire Mountain Trail may be the best option to consider here.

This trail can range from moderate to rough difficulty, with a total length of 10.5 miles.

The trail is popular for a variety of features, such as easy elevation, single-track and wider sections, and rock gardens. What’s more is that this trail is dog-friendly!

5) Oconaluftee River Trail

Sometimes, you’ll prefer an easier trail to do some strolling. If this is the case, then the Oconaluftee River Trail provides an uncomplicated path for you to walk or jog. 

The trail only has a roundtrip length of three miles, with a smooth path and a few tiny heaps. It follows the Oconaluftee River through the forest, presenting a beautiful view of the solemn flow of water in between green woodlands.

It also travels around the Mountain Farm Museum, allowing you to see a collection of 19th-century-built farm buildings.

6) Soco Falls

Another waterfall path hike is a trail leading to Soco Falls. This trail is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway, with only 1.5 miles of hike length, starting from the left side of the road.

This path has an overlooking deck that gives you an amazing view of a beautiful double waterfall, providing many landscape photography opportunities. 

However, if you desire to go to the foot of the waterfalls, you’ll have to do a more challenging hike. The path down can be slippery, with only rocks and ropes to hold on to.

7) MST Soco Gap to Waterrock Knob

The trail from MST Soco Gap to Waterrock Knob has a nine-mile out-and-back length and a difficult hiking rate. 

You’ll have to go to the Blue Ridge Parkway’s access road before reaching MST Soco Gap. Once you do, you’ll need to experience a steep hike through the forest until you reach Waterrock Knob.

The path to Waterrock Knob is paved halfway, with steps and railings that make the escalation a lot more accommodating. The long and exhausting climb will be worth it in the end as you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the natural landscape.

8) Flat Creek Trail

Located off Blue Ridge Parkway, Flat Creek Trail has a length of 5.2-mile roundtrip of a gentle hike with a few moderate climbs.

Though popular because of the creeks and falls that you’ll be able to see at the end of the hike, it’s not much of a busy trail. Therefore, you’ll surely be able to enjoy the solitude of nature along the way.

9) Kephart Prong Trail

Kephart Prong Trail is another easy-to-moderate trail in the Great Smoky Mountains. It may not have any mountain or waterfall overviews, but since it crosses the Oconaluftee River, it has one of the most beautiful outlandish natures.

With a roundtrip length of 4.3 miles, this trail gives you the best picture of the different kinds and shades of the woodland, as well as the solemn sound of the calm river.

10) Clingmans Dome

Clingman’s Dome is the highest point of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, soaring at 6,643 feet high. While paved, the hike is steep, which makes the hiking rate moderate to difficult.

The trail leads to an observation tower where you can see the vibrant nature over a hundred miles from where you are.

Wrapping Up

Exploring the hiking trails in Cherokee, North Carolina will be one of the decisions you won’t regret. 

A town with a huge range of attractions, rich history, and a lot of ways to enjoy occasional recreational activities, Cherokee can offer you a vacation experience of both serenity and adventure!

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