Gateway to The Smokies It’s often said that Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee is the Gateway to the Smokies. I’m not sure a better title could be given to such a beautiful place. This is literally the gateway to all that is the Appalachian Mountains, Appalachian Trails, and everything that is the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you have stumbled upon us by accident, or more likely have been searching for the most beautiful place on Earth, you are certainly in the right place. This gateway is home to many of lifes wonders, such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: a hiker’s dream with over 800 miles of well-maintained hiking trails. The most incredible mountain camping, the best fresh water fishing, the perfect picnicking scenes, the most remarkable wildlife viewing, not to mention the miles and miles of the most perfect scenic rides in the world.
Whether you are accessing these scenes from Haywood County, Buncombe County, Jackson County, Swain County, Cherokee, or a number of other locations, you are certainly not going to be disappointed in your choice. Once you have realized what many before you have realized in that you simply cant leave this place.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is more than just a road. It’s a beautiful journey. Activities for all ages and abilities make the Blue Ridge Parkway one of the most-visited destinations in the National Park system.
The rivers of Western North Carolina and the Tennessee border offer Class I through Class IV rapids for whitewater rafting. Major rafting rivers are the French Broad, Nolichucky, Nantahala, Ocoee, Chattooga and Green River. These six rivers in the North Carolina mountains are considered the best whitewater in the Southeast. The closest whitewater rafting companies to Maggie Valley are USA Raft, Blue Heron Whitewater and French Broad Rafting Expeditions, all located on the French Broad River 30 minutes north in Marshall. If you want to get on a river, and whitewater is not a must, check out the Asheville Outdoor Center located right in Asheville. They offer gentle tubing, rafting, kayaking and canoeing also on the French Broad River.
There are few better ways to experience the excitement of the mountains than a whitewater rafting trip, and Western North Carolina has it all, from peaceful gentle streams to big tumbling rivers that roar through the deepest gorges.
The most popular whitewater stream for professional and amateur alike is the Nantahala River in the Bryson City area. A class II and III stream, the Nantahala begins in the mountains of Macon County and flows northward through the beautiful Nantahala Gorge and on into Graham County where it joins the Little Tennessee River. The eight-mile run on the Nantahala takes about three hours. Be advised, though, on summer weekends the river can get very crowded.
There are a number of outfitters that provide rental equipment and guided raft trips on the area streams. The larger outfitters, like Nantahala Outdoor Center, provide guide services worldwide. Prices for a guided raft trip will vary from outfitter to outfitter and usually are higher on weekends. Basic gear requirements are a life jacket and protective foot wear such as river-runner sandals or booties. Be sure and wear quick-drying clothes!
Located in Woodfin on the French Broad River, the Ledges Whitewater Park is the closest whitewater section of the river for canoeing and kayaking without guided service. Recommended for experienced canoeists and kayakers only. The Ledges play spots, of which there are several, begin to warm up at levels over 1,000 cubic feet per second and rise to 3,500. The park is complete with movable holding “gates” that kayakers can paddle through to practice for slalom competition and to improve their dexterity and water skills. To get there from Asheville, take I-240 to 19-23 North (Exit 4) and continue six miles to the New Stock Road exit. Turn left off the exit ramp and drive 0.7 miles to left on Aiken Road, then first right onto Goldview Road. Follow Goldview Road to the river. Turn right onto NC 251. The Ledges Whitewater Park and Picnic Area will be on your right almost immediately. If you wish, you can continue north on NC 251 2.0 miles to the Alexander Bridge for put-in.
Class I: Easy. Moving water with a few riffles, small waves and few obstructions. Requires basic paddling know-ledge.
Class II: Moderate. Easy rapids with up to three-foot waves and few obstructions. Requires intermediate skill level.
Class III: Difficult. High rapids and narrow channels. Requires intermediate skill level.
Class IV: Very difficult. Long difficult rapids, constricted channels and turbulent water. Requires experienced skill level.
Class V: Exceedingly difficult. Extremely difficult, long and often violent rapids. Requires high skill level.
Class VI: Utmost difficulty. Very dangerous and for experts only.
Completed in 1895, George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau is as impressive today as it was more than a century ago. Biltmore House is truly an architectural and historical wonder.
You’re invited to enjoy a self-guided visit inside Biltmore House. Experience a fresh look at how people lived and worked in America’s largest home.
Outside, explore acres of beautiful gardens and grounds designed by renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
Your self-guided visit to Biltmore House and Gardens is included in estate admission. An in-depth audio guide and guided specialty tours are available at an additional cost.
For more information visit: http://www.biltmore.com/visit
Don’t miss the action and excitement at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino & Hotel! We now feature live table games like Blackjack, Roulette, Craps and more of your favorites! Digital Blackjack and Baccarito are still a hit and we’ve got the latest games and slots right here!
Diamond Lounge is the place for relaxation and rejuvenation. Diamond players with a guest have one complimentary visit daily, Seven Star players with a guest have unlimited complimentary visits daily. The lounge is located in the high limit area near the live table games.
For More Information visit: https://www.caesars.com/harrahs-cherokee/casino
If hiking is you’re thing, you’ve found heaven. There are easy hikes, long hikes, the longest hike (The Appalachian Trail), waterfall hikes, history hikes, lakeside hikes, hard hikes, even technical rock climbing hikes. Below are a few, but here are a few of our favorites within easy drive of Maggie Valley.
Smokemont Loop Trail. This is a moderately easy trail the does not change elevation that much, but what’s special about the trail is its seclusion. Just off the Smokemont Campground in Cherokee, you can hike the entire 6+ miles of trail and never see another soul. Peace and quiet and some stream side hiking.
Andrews Bald Trail. This is a high elevation trail that is often covered in a cloud cover making it a cool place to escape the summer heat. You can access the trail head just off the Clignams Dome parking area. Pack a picnic because at the end of the trail is a classic “bald” with a clear view in every direction. This is not a loop trail so the hike is out to the bald and back. Moderate climbs involved.
Silers Bald Trail. This is a segment of the Applachian Trail. From the Cligmons Dome parking area, take the trail head and head south on the AT. You will descend along the spine of the North Carolina and Tennessee mountain divide with views into each state, especially when the leaves have dropped. Its a moderate hike and will take 4-5 hours to reach the bald and return. The actual bald has grown over so don’t expect “views” from the destination.
Fishing in the more than 2,115 miles of creeks, streams, and rivers in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park can be both exciting yet relaxing for young and old alike. This popular national park is one of the last natural wild trout habitats left in the entire eastern United States. Fisheries monitoring by the Smoky Mountain Park have found that many streams in the park can contain as many as 2,000 to 4,000 4 inch to 8 inch rainbow trout per mile! Even the native brown trout are commonly found running from 8 inch to 20 inches in many streams.
Besides the native brook trout found at higher elevations (thanks to restoration efforts), and the rainbow trout, when fishing in the Smokies you will also find small mouth bass, rock bass, shiners, suckers, minnows, and darters. The Great Smoky Mountain Park alone boasts more than 53 species of fish and a huge spectrum of aquatic invertebrates and insects.
Fishing in the National Park is permitted from a 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset year round, and there are some fishing regulations in place which much be followed.
Areas In the Smoky Mountain Park Restricted to Fishing:
Due to brook trout restoration work, there are 2 streams and their tributaries upstream closed to fishing until monitoring surveys show that the brook trout have repopulated the areas.
In North Carolina the no fish zone is Bear Creek at its junction with Forney Creek and in Tennessee the no fishing zones are Flats Prong at the Middle Prong Trail crossing.
Given time, these 2 areas in the Great Smoky Mountains national park that are closed to fishing will be open again as long as anglers and nature cooperate and the brook trout population takes hold in these sensitive areas of the park.
Fishing License Requirements:
A valid Tennessee or North Carolina state fishing license is required to fish in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park although a special supplemental state trout licenses are not required in the park. If you plan to fish in the park you must purchase your license in one of the nearby towns such as Gatlinburg TN, Cherokee NC, Cosby TN, Pigeon Forge TN, Townsend TN, Bryson City NC, etc as the Smoky Mountain National Park does not sell state fishing licenses.
It is important for anglers to note that the fishing license age requirements are not the same for Tennessee and North Carolina. For those children who do not require a fishing license, they are still required to abide by the adult possession limits and regulations.
For the North Carolina state fishing license if you are 16 or older regardless if you are a resident or not you are required to purchase a license. Those who are 70 or older qualify for a special senior citizen license from the state of North Carolina.
The Tennessee state fishing license requirements dictate that those 13 and older must have a valid license and anglers age 65 and older may obtain a special senior citizen license from the state.
All people fishing in the national park must show their fishing license upon demand by authorized personnel of the park.
It is important to note that you need a special tribal fishing licence to fish on the Cherokee Reservation. A North Carolina fishing licence is not neccesaary nor is it recognized by the tribe.
Fishing Equipment, Bait and Lure Regulations:
In order to maintain healthy fishing stock, fishing bag and size limits have been set which vary by fish as well as regulations in regard to bait and lures. It is important that if you fish in the great smoky mountain national park that you know and abide by these fishing rules.
Fishing Equipment Regulations:
You are allowed to fish with only one hand-held rod per licensed fisherman. Multiple rods and fishing with nets is forbidden in the park.
Fishing Bait Regulations:
Non-native animals and fish now threaten many native fish species in the park system so to protect and preserve the delicate naturally functioning ecosystems of the Smoky Mountain Park from intentionally or accidentally introduced nonnative species of fish, animals, and plants, fishing with bait of any kind is strictly forbidden in the park.
It has been found through extensive research that bait can be contaminated with non-native organisms that may harm native fish and aquatic organisms.
You are also prohibited from collecting naturally occurring bait in the park as it can disturb the environment where natural collection of bait occurs which threatens the long term viability of the bait and fish in the surrounding area long after you are done fishing for the day.
It has also been found through research that any fish caught with bread or corn usually suffer a higher mortality rate which can change the natural fish demographics in a area.
Chumming or use or possession of any form of fish bait or liquid scent is illegal under National Park Service regulations. Just having possession of bait or liquid scent in your fishing tackle is prohibited.
Fishing Lure Regulations:
When fishing in the park you may only use artificial flies or lures with a single hook. You may fish with up to 2 flies on a leader and dropper flies may be used while angling in the park.
The use or even the possession of any double, treble, or gang hooks is prohibited.
Since many of the fish caught in the park are undersized and must be released, a single hook must be used as treble hooks cause higher fish mortality rates than single hook lure will.
Remember that any fishing tackle and equipment in your possession in the park are subject to inspection at any time by any authorized park personnel. Don’t spoil your vacation (and others) by doing something foolish.
Fish Size and Daily Bag Limits:
A person fishing in the national park must stop fishing immediately after obtaining the limit.
To measure a fish, lay the fish on a level surface with its nose against a flat object and then measure to the furthest point of the fishes tail. It is good idea to make a 7 inch ruler that you can keep with you out of a sturdy piece of waterproof material. Cleaning a undersize fish is not only bad sport but a prosecutable offense. Please let any undersize fish you may catch go and grow until they can reach maturity.
Trout and Smallmouth Bass:
Five (5) brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, or a combination of these are allowed each day. This includes all fish that you may have in your possession, whether they are live, fresh, frozen, in an ice chest, or otherwise preserved the combined total fish must not exceed five in number.
There is a size limit of 7 inches for any brook trout, rainbow trout, brown trout, or smallmouth bass caught. Any fish caught under the size limit must be immediately released.
Up to Twenty (20) Rockbass may be kept in addition to the Trout and Smallmouth Bass limit.
There is no size limit for any Rockbass caught.
Aquatic Environmental Preservation Regulations:
It is against the law to move rocks in streams or to even form channels or damns as both behaviors disturb the delicate environment and are harmful to fish and even aquatic insects that reside in the streams and waterways of the national park.
Many of the fish that inhabit the park spawn between the months of April and August and some of these fish build their nests in streams under small cavities under rocks and submerged branches. Many fish stay near the nest in order to guard their eggs. By disturbing the nest when moving a rock, the fishes eggs or even juvenile fish which have hatched will die.
Moving rocks or other natural objects in the water can kill or damage aquatic insects as well. Many aquatic insect species found in the Smoky Mountain Park attach themselves permanently to rocks and branches and get crushed by the movement or die from lack of food or water if moved to a different spot in the stream or surrounding area. Luckily some water borne insects can just drift away or move when disturbed. – See more at: http://www.yoursmokies.com/smokymountainnationalparkfishingregulations.html#sthash.5llxI9fy.dpuf
Top 10 Things to See in Maggie Valley and Surrounding Areas
There are so many things to see in The Great Smoky Mountains. We could like hundreds of things, but tried our best to narrow the list to 10. If you would like more events and attractions to see, please ask Melissa at the front desk. She is very aware of all things in the area and is happy to make suggestions to fit your family.
- Biltmore Houswe and Gardens: Asheville, NC
- Elk Watching: Cataloochee Valley
- Waterrock Knob: Blue Ridge Parkway
- Great Smoky Mountain Railroad: Dillsboro
- Oconaluftee Indian Village: Cherokee, NC
- Harrah’s Cherokee Casino: Cherokke, NC
- Whitewater Rafting
- Lake Junaluska
- Cades Cove: Cades Cove Tennessee
- Sliding Rock: Pisgah Forest