Cherokee, NC Travel Guide

Cherokee NC Travel Guide Mingus Mill, Oconaluftee, Cherokee, North Carolina, USA Imageby fotoMonkee from Getty Images Signature
Cherokee NC Travel Guide | Mingus Mill, Cherokee, North Carolina, USA Image by FotoMonkee from Getty Images Signature

Getting to Know Cherokee, NC

Cherokee is a town located in Qualla Boundary, the ancestral home of Eastern Band Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee are a proud and noble people with thousands of years of history. These mountains have been their home since long before the Europeans came.

This century would be their darkest one — the most difficult of all the times to come for the Cherokee Nation. They were driven out of their homelands by the Trail of Tears. Still, some Cherokee stayed hidden in the Great Smoky Mountains where their descendants now live on a reservation of sorts as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

The town of Cherokee marks this heritage and tenacity with its museum displays, living-historical interpretations, and the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills.”

Why You Should Visit Cherokee, North Carolina

Soco Falls in Cherokee, N.C.⁠ Image by skiserge1 from Getty Images
Soco Falls in Cherokee, N.C.⁠ Image by skiserge1 from Getty Images

Cherokee in Western North Carolina is an unforgettable mix of culture, beauty, and adventure for families. It’s about 51.7 miles from the popular city of Asheville in WNC, and only 10.2 miles from Bryson City, a small town and gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Step into the past to learn about distinct Cherokee customs, art, and pieces of history in the Museum of the Cherokee Indian – get involved in celebrating that history at Oconaluftee Indian Village!

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, Cherokee is perfect for exploring deep woods and stunning waterfalls like Mingo Falls. Seize the day, from whitewater rafting to driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In Cherokee, visitors can choose from entertainment that includes Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort, live shows, and the outdoor drama “Unto These Hills.” What makes it family-friendly: Santa’s Land Fun Park & Zoo and the easy Oconaluftee River Trail are sure hits for kids of all ages; the shallow river is irresistible in summer.

Best Time to Visit Cherokee, North Carolina

The best times to visit Cherokee are in the spring (April-May) and fall (September-October). The weather is pleasant, and the mountains are surrounded by aromatic flora and vibrant fauna. 

Fun Facts & Additional Information about Cherokee, North Carolina

  • Cherokee is the location of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, home to genuine Cherokee artwork and crafts.
  • Many members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians still speak the Cherokee language.
  • The Cherokee are well known for their baskets, pottery, and woodcarvings.

The Best of Cherokee, North Carolina