Having fun in the Smoky Mountains is exactly what Joan and I experienced spending a fun week with the kids, grandkids running around the Smoky Mountain National Park, Bryson City, Cherokee and camping in the community of Deep Creek, NC. This is our first return to this area after 2 years and we discovered so many things to experience that we missed from our last visit.
The Road to Nowhere
Yes, the Road to Nowhere does exist. And as the name implies, it really doesn’t go anywhere. Intrigued with the name, we took the entire group to explore. The road is located on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The US Government promised to build Lakeview Drive to connect Bryson City to the City of Fontana after hundreds of family gave up their home for the building of Fontana Dam. Construction began, creating 6 miles of road and an extensive tunnel through a mountain, then World War II halted construction. After the war, the effort fell into cost and environmental issues and the road was never completed. Today, you can walk the road up through the tunnel with a well-developed trailhead at the beginning of the Noland Creek Trail and continues for over 11 miles.
The walk from the parking area to the end of the tunnel offered a moderate incline and was fun to see the beautiful mountain surroundings while the kids had so much fun running along the trail and tunnel.
Elk Viewing in the Smoky Mountain National Park
Driving to the edge of the Smoky Mountain National Park just outside Cherokee, NC, we arrived at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Around 8:00PM this evening, we had the treat of watching several dozen elk graze in the open field next to the Center. The elk population was reintroduced to the Great Smoky Mountains in the early 2000’s after they were overhunted and eliminated from the area in the min-1800’s.
Viewing the elk was a tremendous site. The whole crew didn’t want to leave. A fun experience for the entire family to see these beautiful animals in their natural habitat.
Tubing Deep Creek
When we think about fun in the Smoky Mountains, it’s tubing in Deep Creek. We camped 50 yards from the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in the community of Deep Creek, NC. The National Park service has opened a one-mile section of Deep Creek through the park and it continues to campgrounds located outside the park entrance. For our group, our RVs were parked on the edge of the creek and we could complete our tubing experience walking up the bank to our camping spot.
For our tubing, water flow was moderate and we were able to experience a bouncy ride from the upper section through the calmer section at the lower part of the Park. Watch the video. Smiles abound as the crew took multiple tubing rides every day.
Museum of the Cherokee Indian
Joan and I took the afternoon and drove to Cherokee, NC to visit the Museum of the Cherokee Indian. Joan’s great grandmother was Cherokee and she has a great interest in learning more about her Indian heritage. The museum exhibits were amazing dating back over 13,000 years from the Paleo-Indian period to the tragic Trail of Tears. The museum provided a wide range of priceless artifacts, displays, interactive presentations along with documentation of their life in this area from the past to present.
We took an afternoon and ventured to Darnell Farms, located on the edge of Bryson City. This family owned farm, while operating as a large commercial produce farm, has not lost its roots of friendliness and supporting the local community. During our visit, the kids enjoyed the playground along the side of the river while the adults enjoyed to cool breezes and mountain scenery.
The market was stocked with fresh produce and fruit. And yes, we loaded up for the week. All grown in the local farm, the strawberries and vine-ripened tomatoes were everyone’s favorite. The Farm also offers a frozen fruit treat that was amazing. What a fun place to visit along with the wonderful, fresh produce.
We experienced so much fun in the Smoky Mountains with our return visit to the North Carolina Mountains and so enjoyed the experiences and seeing the sites of Bryson City, Cherokee and Deep Creek NC.
Additional information about this area:
Smoky Mountain Campground – https://ilovervlife.com/smoky-mountain-campground/
The Road to Nowhere – https://www.greatsmokies.com/road-nowhere/
Elk View at The Smoky Mountain National Park – https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/elk.htm
Tubing Deep Creek – https://www.greatsmokies.com/tubing/
Museum of the Cherokee Indian – https://www.cherokeemuseum.org/
Darnell Farms – http://darnellfarms.com/
Not sure about what RV accessories you need as you start RV travel? Check out our RV Accessories page where we have listed a wide range of products from essential items to those “nice to have” RV products to make RV life more enjoyable. Every item listed is being used or has been used by Joan and I as we’ve traveled across the country in our RV.
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