Posts by Pam

Gem Mining

This is a popular activity, particularly with children. Most gem mines operate from early Spring through late Fall. Be sure to wear old clothes. For a list of locations and gem mining map, click here. Dating back to before 1897, Mason’s Ruby & Sapphire Mine is one of the most popular “dig your own” gem… Read more »

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Skiing, Snow Boarding and Snow Tubing

Catalooche Ski Area

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… Read more »

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Whitewater Rafting, Canoeing & Tubing

White water rafting or kayaking are available on the famous Nantahala and Ocoee Rivers. Other area streams include the Little Tennessee River and Tuckaseegee River, both of which are perfect for Canoeing & Tubing. Learn more here.

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Hiking Trails

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… Read more »

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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,… Read more »

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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… Read more »

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Dupont State Forest

Dupont State Park

Noted for being the main filming location for the Hunger Games, the DuPont State Forest is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains between Hendersonville and Brevard, North Carolina. Its 10,400 acres of forest feature four major waterfalls on the Little River and several on the Grassy Creek. For key attractions and additional information, visit the… Read more »

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Blue Ridge Parkway

Blue Ridge Parkway

This is America’s most visited National Park unit and there’s plenty to see and do, including hiking, picnicking, waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Its 469 miles connect the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina to the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Check out the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Travel Planner for places to… Read more »

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Pisgah National Forest (PNF)

Established in 1916, PNF was one of the first national forests in the eastern United States. With elevations reaching over 6,000 feet, it also has some of the highest mountains in the eastern United States. The Forest offers hiking trails, fishing, camping, picnic sites, and spectacular waterfalls. Some of PNF’s attractions include Looking Glass Falls,… Read more »

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Nantahala National Forest (NNF)

Nantahala National Forest

Adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains, NNF was established in 1920 and is the largest of NC’s national forests with a half-million acres of pristine woodlands, spectacular waterfalls and over 600 + miles of trails. Nantahala is a Cherokee word meaning “Land of the Noonday Sun”. The forest’s highest point is the Appalachian summit of… Read more »

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