Outdoor Activities for the Adventurous
Skiing, Snow Boarding and Snow Tubing
Cataloochi Ski Area is the closest ski resort (just over 50 miles away) in Maggie Valley. It offers 50 skiable acres for beginners, intermediates and expert skiers. The season begins in late Oct/early November through to March each year. You can rent equipment and there’s a shop too. The resort also offers Tube World four miles away from the ski area. You are advised to complete this release form to save time on arrival.See directions on the website that warn you that Google Maps is the only way to find Cataloochi (a problem since Google Maps hasn’t yet found Buttercup Haven.) However, follow these Google Maps directions from Franklin to get there. We recommend a stopping to eat in Waynesville (lunch or dinner) if you haven’t been to Waynesville. This quaint town is definitely worth a visit and offers lots of great eating options.
The Appalachian Trail (Georgia to Maine) passes just a few miles West of Franklin, and can be accessed at many points. The Bartram Trail also passes through Franklin, going East-West, and offers many highlights. Click here to learn more or check out this list of short, medium or long trails. For another great guide to trails, check out the Hiking & Backpacking section of Stay and Play in the Smokies website. Finally, this list of Highlands Hiking Trails which includes waterfalls is also worth reviewing.
Bicycling and Mountain Biking
Bring your own bike or rent one from Smoky Mountain Bicycles on Highlands Road in Franklin. A list of easy, intermediate and difficult bike trails can be found here. The Tsali mountain bike trail system attracts thousands of biking enthusiasts to the area every year and offers four loops. Or, for a family-friendly bike alternative, consider the Little Tennesee River Greenway, a 5 mile, 13 foot wide paved path that runs through the heart of Franklin and beyond. There’s easy access from many points in downtown Franklin. Click here to learn more.
Are you a serious downhill mountain biker?
Check out this Dirt Surfing article from the June 2017 edition of Captial At Play. It recommends five privately owned bike parks in Western NC, as well as trails on public lands (from easy to intermediate); bike shops; what to do before you hit the trails; and an explanation of trail types.
Zip Line Canopy Tours
Highlands Aerial Park is 24 miles south of Buttercup Haven located at an elevation 3,400 feet high atop High Holly Mountain in Scaly Mountain (click here for directions from Buttercup Haven). The “Brave Indian” zipline course is designed for families and those who desire to start ‘slower and lower’ than the thrilling World Class Canopy Tour, as it is a continuous tree-to-tree experience for riders at least 5 years old and at least 30 lbs in weight. Reservations are recommended and these can be made online. Check here too for weight and age requirements for the Canopy Tour as well as hours of operation.