cataloochee valley
May 4, 2023

If you’re looking for an adventure in the mountains, look no further than Cataloochee Valley, one of the hidden gems of the Smoky Mountains! With rich history, incredible wildlife, and plenty of ways to experience the beauty of nature, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience when you visit Cataloochee Valley. Here are some of the best things to do when you visit:

1. Explore the Area’s History

palmer chapel

Step back in time and explore the area’s fascinating history by visiting preserved historic buildings such as Palmer Chapel, Beech Grove School, and Messer Barn. These buildings are more than 100 years old and provide an intriguing glimpse into the valley’s past. Learn about the settlers of the Cataloochee Valley and how they created what was once the largest settlement in the Smokies. History enthusiasts will love this trip through time here in Cataloochee Valley!

2. Go Fishing

If you enjoy fishing, Cataloochee Creek and its tributaries are the perfect spot for you. The area is known for its populations of wild brown and rainbow trout and picturesque views to take in while you fish. With easy stream access in several spots throughout the valley, you’ll be on the water in no time! Just remember to bring your Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license with you, as they are required to fish within park boundaries. You can purchase fishing licenses online from the states of North Carolina or Tennessee.

3. See the Wildlife

two elk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll be in heaven here in Cataloochee Valley! Due to repopulation efforts in the area, a majestic herd of more than 200 elk now roams the valley. Visitors can come and see these magnificent animals grazing in the fields, just make sure to bring binoculars if you want a close-up look because it is important to stay at least 150 feet away from the elk. The best times of day to see these incredible animals are around sunrise and sunset, especially during the summer. There are plenty of other creatures to encounter as well here in Cataloochee Valley, so keep your eyes peeled for deer, turkey, and even an occasional black bear!

4. Hike the Trails

One of the best ways to experience the beauty of Cataloochee Valley is by hiking one of the many scenic trails in the area. The Boogerman Trail is a popular 7.6-mile trail that takes you through groves of old-growth forest, past winding streams, and past remnants of past settlements. For those looking for a longer option, the Little Cataloochee Trail is a 10.2-mile hike that takes you through gorgeous rolling hills past old cabins and a church. While these trails can be a bit challenging, you’ll be rewarded for conquering the elevation with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. No matter which trail you choose, you’ll love immersing yourself in nature and taking in the beauty of the Smokies!

Cataloochee Valley has something for everyone, from history buffs to nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. With its rich history, diverse wildlife, excellent fishing, and scenic hiking trails, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience in beautiful Cataloochee Valley – we can’t wait to welcome you! If you’re looking for even more to do during your visit, check out more of the best things to do in Cataloochee Valley.