No billboards, no rush. That’s the 469 miles of the blue ridge parkway. America’s favorite drive snakes through valleys, over mountaintops and into dark tunnels. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park serves as the southern terminus of the parkway. From Maggie Valley, the parkway can take you to spectacular sunsets at Waterrock Knob and to the Balsam Mountain area of the Smokies. The Parkway is open seasonally so please check ahead for closings due to weather.
A special side trace is the Hientoogah Road that runs as a spur from the parkway, just south of the Maggie Valley, Soco Gap entrance. The short road, ends at a parking area and picnic area, but for the adventurous, you may continue on the dirt/gravel one way road that winds its way downhill for 22 miles to Cherokee.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited park in the country, and with good reason – miles and miles of backcountry trails, pristine mountain streams, waterfalls and soaring mountain peaks. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to rare plant and animal species and serves as a sanctuary for hundreds of black bears.
Our winter playground is nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks – riding the chairlift has never been more rewarding. Smooth, gentle slopes like Easy Way and Rabbit Hill, serviced by a beginner’s chairlift, gives novices the elbowroom they need to learn the basics and practice their skills. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders find plenty of action on Rock Island Run and Lower Omigosh, while seasoned experts can face the challenge of Upper Omigosh. For skiers and snowboarders looking for a thrill, our Cat Cage Terrain Park delivers with ramps, rails and boxes. At Cataloochee Ski 43area, everyone in the family, skiers and snowboarders, from novice to veteran, can carve a place of their own.
The Wheels Through Time Museum is home to the world’s premier collection of rare American Vintage Motorycles. Located 5 miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway, in beautiful Maggie Valley, NC, this All-American motorcycle museum houses over 300 of America’s rarest and most historic classic motorcycles, with over 24 marques on display, including the likes of Harley-Davidson, Indian, Excelsior, Crocker, Henderson, and much more. Western North Carolina’s premier museum and tourism attraction features dozens of motorcycle-related exhibits, ranging from board track racers, hillclimbing, and original paint machines to American Dirt Track racing, choppers and bobbers, and one-of-a-kind motorcycles. The museum also annually holds a motorcycle raffle, which helps them continue their mission.
Ever since the invention of the automobile, man has embraced the country ride in the car. The Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina are an incredible backdrop for some of the best riding you’ll ever find. Legendary routes like Deal’s Gap and the Blue Ridge Parkway are in abundance, and just getting to them can be an adventure in itself.
More than 850 miles of hiking trails traverse the Great Smoky Mountains. They range from easy to difficult and provide half hour walks to week-long backpacking trips. The Appalachian Trail runs for 70 miles along the park’s top ridge. Pets are not allowed on any trails except for the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Backcountry camping requires a permit.