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Cherokee, North Carolina Guide


The 56,000-acre Qualla Boundary, which serves as the Eastern gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is home to more than 13,000 members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Unique among many North American tribes, the Cherokee had a written language, which was comprised of 86 characters created in the 1820s by Sequoyah, a jewelry maker. Unlike Plains Indians, the Cherokee lived in log cabin-type homes, wore turbans and preferred European clothing. The Cherokee Nation prospered in the Great Smoky Mountains until the United States Government initiated the tragic "Trail of Tears," driving the tribe out of the mountains and marching them 1,200 miles to Oklahoma in 1838. At least 4,000 men, women and children died during the ordeal. Today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are descendants of those Cherokee who hid out in the mountains to avoid removal.

Cherokee has been voted "Travel Attraction of the Year" by the Southeast Tourism Society. Experience the rich heritage of the Cherokee people at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Cherokee Heritage Museum & Gallery, Oconaluftee Indian Village and Unto These Hills outdoor drama at the Mountainside Theatre. Take the kids for a fun-filled day at the Cherokee Fun Park, Santa's Land Family Theme Park & Zoo, Cherokee Bear Zoo & Exotic Animals or Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine. Make sure your Cherokee itinerary also includes a visit to the 90,000-square-foot Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, which features approximately 3,500 video-based gaming machines, as well as video poker, video craps, Baccarito and Live Digital Blackjack. Open 24 hours a day, Harrah’s also boasts an adjacent 15-story hotel, five onsite restaurants and live entertainment at the 1,500-seat Cherokee Pavilion, which hosts musical performances by some of today’s hottest stars. Other live entertainment venues in Cherokee and nearby Maggie Valley include Smoky Mountain Jamboree and Maggie Valley Opry House. Experience Tribal Bingo Wednesday through Sunday year round in a newly renovated, 1,000-seat facility just 1.5 miles from Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.

Cherokee also has many outdoor activities to enjoy, including trout fishing, river tubing, hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking and camping. Don’t miss a visit to beautiful 200-foot Mingo Falls or the tranquil Oconaluftee Islands Park, which provides picnic tables, shelters and grills. In addition, the Southern entrance to the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway is just 1 mile away from Cherokee. Cherokee is conveniently located just 34 miles from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, 57 miles from Cades Cove, 18 miles from Newfound Gap, Clingmans Dome from 25 miles, 150 miles from Atlanta, Georgia and 162 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Cherokee Welcome Center
Before you embark on your exploration of Cherokee, visit the Cherokee Welcome Center off U.S. 441 North (498 Tsali Boulevard, across from the Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds) for details on area attractions such as Great Smoky Mountains National Park, restaurants and accommodations. The Cherokee Welcome Center is open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Call (828) 497-9195 or (800) 438-1601 for more information about the Cherokee Welcome Center.

Cherokee Attractions
Cherokee Dining & Restaurants
Cherokee Live Entertainment
Cherokee Shopping

Cherokee, North Carolina Video


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Cherokee, NC "We Are Looking for You!" Video