On your North Carolina getaway, put a Smoky Mountains spring in your step.
With over 800 miles of hiking trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to some of the most exquisite natural beauty in the country. Hiking trails range from rugged backcountry trails to relatively easy walks in the woods. Expect to see wildlife–from eagles and hawks to a deer exploring a cove with her fawn. If you happen to be hiking along the north bank of the Tuckaseegee, watch out for the Uktena: the legendary great horned serpent with the talismanic diadem. Be sure to bring a tomahawk just in case.
The Oconaluftee River Trail is a short, 1.5-mile trail connecting the GSMNP Visitor Center with Cherokee, near the Saunooke Village area. It's an easy walk, and the only area trail where dogs and bicycles are allowed.
Drive out Big Cove Road 5.1 miles from Saunooke Village and take a short uphill trail to the beautiful Mingo Falls. Difficulty: moderate. 600 yards round trip.
Both the Oconaluftee River Trail and Mingo Falls are on the Cherokee map on this site. Visit a Cherokee visitor center for more hiking trail recommendations.