Outdoor Activities for the Adventurous

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

Two scenic railway excursions run from Bryson City through the beautiful countryside of Western North Carolina, providing a day trip for all the family to enjoy. Select from one of two excursions from March to December. The Tuckasegee River excursion runs on Saturdays only in Jan & Feb. Nantahala Gorge is a 4.5-hour round trip into the Nantahala Gorge. It stops at the Nantahala Outdoor Center and… 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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