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Best trails in Cherokee

2,112 Reviews
Looking for a great trail near Cherokee, North Carolina? AllTrails has 56 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. If you're looking for the best trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we've got you covered. You'll also find some great local park options, like Pinnacle Park or Eastatoe Creek Heritage Preserve. Ready for some activity? There are 26 moderate trails in Cherokee ranging from 1.3 to 21 miles and from 1,820 to 6,548 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!
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Map of trails in Cherokee
Top trails (56)
#1 - Mingo Falls Trail
Cherokee, North Carolina
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(398)
Length: 0.3 mi • Est. 11 m
Please note that the hiking trail has been reported closed, however, you can still see the falls (09/06/2020). This is an easy hike rated moderate for the stairs and rocky area before the observation bridge. Mingo Falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary), just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. No special permits are required for access to the reservation. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. The waterfall majestically cascades down nearly 200 feet of rock face and boulders. The hike to the falls includes 161 steep steps to a picturesque wooden viewing bridge that crosses Mingo Creek directly in front of the falls. Cherokee residents enjoy the falls as much as out-of-town visitors. Many locals recommend going in the morning to avoid the crowds and for the best chance to see Mingo Falls in the morning fog. The official name of the falls originates from the Cherokee term Mingo which means Big Bear. The waterfall is also unofficially called Big Bear Falls. \n\nTrailhead: From Oconaluftee Visitor Center, drive south (toward Cherokee) on US-441 and take the second left onto Big Cove Road. At the first stop sign turn left and drive 4.5 miles to Mingo Falls Campground, where the trail begins.Show more
#2 - Kephart Shelter via Kephart Prong Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(205)
Length: 3.9 mi • Est. 2 h 8 m
A nice wide path leads along the Kephart Prong (creek). Moderate uphill. Excellent for kids.Show more
#3 - Oconaluftee River Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(271)
Length: 3.1 mi • Est. 1 h 17 m
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. Accessibility: The trail is partially paved and partially hard-packed dirt. It is typically at least three feet wide. It is mostly flat with an average grade of 3% and a max grade of 5% at about 0.7 miles. The paths around the Mountain Farm Museum is gravel. There is ramp access to the house but not to all the farm buildings.Show more
#4 - Smokemont Loop Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(112)
Length: 5.9 mi • Est. 3 h 20 m
#5 - Charlies Bunion via Kephart Loop
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(60)
Length: 14.8 mi • Est. 8 h 3 m
Avoid the crowds to this scenic overlook. This challenging hike offers an alternative route to Charlies Bunion to avoid the crowds of Newfound Gap. The first 2 mi is a nice stroll through the area of and old CCC camp. The Kephart Shelter is in the middle of this 3-way intersection. Take the Sweat Heifer Trail to the left; the next 3.7 miles will be the hardest part of the hike. Near the top you reach a small clearing and as you catch your breath slowly turn around for breath taking views of NC. A few more yards turn right on the Appalachian Trail and continue on the AT when you reach the Boulevard Trail. About 1.5 mi the spur trail to the left to Charlies Bunion. When you leave Chrlies Bunion you can continue to the right to reach the AT and turn left for about 0.2 mi to the Dry Sluice Trail. Turn right on the this nice soft wooded trail for 1.3 mi. Turn right on Grassy Branch Trail and you will quickly descend for 2.5 mi to the backside of the Kephart Shelter. It is a easy stroll back on the Kephart Prong to your carShow more
#6 - Forney Ridge Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(76)
Length: 11.4 mi • Est. 6 h 11 m
#7 - Soco Falls Trail
Cherokee, North Carolina
easyYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(53)
Length: 0.2 mi • Est. 6 m
#8 - Silers Bald Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(61)
Length: 9 mi • Est. 5 h 7 m
#9 - Road Prong Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray Star(41)
Length: 6 mi • Est. 3 h 40 m
#10 - Kephart Prong Trail - Charlies Bunion - Mount LeConte
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(5)
Length: 25.1 mi • Est. Multi-day
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