Oconaluftee River Trail

EASY 65 reviews

Oconaluftee River Trail is a 3.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Cherokee, North Carolina that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

3.1 miles
52 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly



nature trips

road biking

trail running





wild flowers


The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two walking paths on which visitors can walk dogs and bicycle. It is relatively flat, but does have a few small hills. The trail runs from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center through the forest along side the Oconaluftee River and offers beautiful views of the river.

21 days ago

Easy hike with kids. Beautiful wildflowers!

1 month ago

Very nice trail - it’s really a stroll through the woods along a river. Some really nice spots for picture taking. The kids were feeling too adventurous for the paved path so we took the dirt path closer to the river. It was beautiful.

4 months ago

Great family trail

4 months ago

Easy walk along a scenic river. Enjoyed the small storyboard along the trail explaining Cherokee legends and customs relating to the river and explaining its importance to the Cherokee. Hike was great for us with two young children. Great for families. Was also really peaceful since we didn’t see many people along the trail. We went in December so not sure if would be more crowded during the summer months, but it was not crowded when we went, which was really nice.

5 months ago

This is a nice little hike/walking trail along a beautiful section of river. We saw several elk in the wood near the beginning. Great for dogs and young kids.

7 months ago

Was a nice flat trail . Nice trail to just relax and admire the beauty of the mountain valley !

7 months ago

Like strolling through a park by the river.

7 months ago

Like strolling through a park by the river.

8 months ago

Pretty walk along the river

8 months ago

Nice trail with a few spots for the dogs to splash in the water.

9 months ago

We've done this trail a few times because we bring our dog to North Carolina with us and this is one of two trails in the Smokies that allows dogs. This is a very easy 3 mile total trip mostly along the water. There are a few spots you can stop off to let your dog swim and splash around in the river. Much prefer taking our dog to Pisgah since there are "real" hikes there rather than just walks and there are no restrictions on bringing your dog. Wish the Smokies would allow dogs, for this reason we will almost always go to Pisgah instead.

10 months ago

Great hike with our 2 dogs along the river and through the forest. Even a few areas that you or your pooches can refresh in the river.1 of only 2 hikes in Great Smoky Mountains that you can bring your dogs. It is located just outside Cherokee, NC.

11 months ago

Very peaceful, super easy hike. We didn't see much wildlife, but we hiked it in the middle of the day. Appropriate for even the out of shape hiker.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Great family trail.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Easy hike and we could take the dogs with us!!!

Done it a few times and have seen elk, otters and more.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easy hike with kids and and dog, plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the river.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Very easy trail. Great for dogs. Elk were spotted across the river.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wide flat path along the river. Saw elk

Saturday, March 04, 2017

We took our pup on this trail and she absolutely loved it. So much to explore!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Very nice walking trail along the river.

Friday, October 21, 2016

After a wonderful and long day hiking in the mountains, I ended on this flat and easy trail just inside GSMNP. It is beautiful with the large meadow by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum, the pretty river views and the surrounding hills. I even saw several elk resting on the edge of the meadow!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

easy smooth path. shared with cycling and dogs.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

super easy very flat nice for a 3 mile trail run.

Friday, July 01, 2016

fun, quick 1.5 mile trail

trail running
Saturday, June 18, 2016

This is a good one to straight up run. Can be heavily trafficked depending on time of day. Good for a run though without obstacles.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

This is an easy trail and beautiful. We only hiked a short section of it so far. Hope to do the whole thing next trip!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Very easy to walk, nice scenery. Saw an Elk while on the trail.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Nice easy trail. Out and back takes about an hour walking. Would like to come back and go for a run. Distance is basically a 5K.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Great flat trail along the river. Yesterday 12/13 we saw 16 elk grazing. Very nice.

Monday, May 13, 2013

One of two trails in the Great Smokey Mountain Park to allow dogs.

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