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Waterfall at Cades Cove

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is 137 miles and 3.7 hours west of Pigeon Forge. Cades Cove is a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most visited destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Cades Cove has a variety of historic buildings you can visit.Along the loop road you can visit three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures.

An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, giving visitors the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area's trails.

There are short trails such as Cades Cove Nature Trail and a much longer hike to Thunderhead Mountain and .  Also visit Abrams Falls which a five-mile roundtrip hike.

During the summer months Cades Cove is quite crowded with visitors, so allow plenty of time to visit and enjoy the wildlife and scenery.

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Cherokee Reservation Museum

Cherokee ,NC is 67 miles, 1.4 hours west of Hendersonville. Visit and learn about the Cherokee Indian heritage. There are many shops offering genuine native American art and crafts.

Visit The Oconaluftee Indian Village – One of the Favorite Seasonal Attractions in Cherokee NC  Tour guides will educate you about the Cherokee culture, native dress, crafts and lifestyles and the Cherokee history.

You can see cultural dances, pottery making, fashion beadwork, create masts and how to weave baskets.

Also, visit the Museum of the Cherokee and experience the 11,000 year old Cherokee story through priceless ancient artifacts, artwork, life-sized figures and more.

Explore the areas of Cherokee and visit Mingo Falls which is over 120 feet high and is rated one of the most impressive falls in Western North Carolina. Indian Creek Falls is a beautiful 25 foot high waterall and is located about 1 mile from the parking area at Deep Creek. Tom's Branch Falls is 80 feet high and is located approximately 3/10 mile from the Deep Creek parking area.  Juney Whank Falls is 0.6 mile roundtrip hike. The trail starts near the end of Deep Creek Road near Deep Creek Campground.

Also visit Clingman's Dome which is the highest point along the Appalachian Trail and provides a 360º view of the surrounding mountains rising 6,643 feet above sea level

Other areas of interest are the Mountain Farm and Museum, Mingus Mill, and Museum of the Cherokee Indian. And, don't forget to see the outdoor drama "Unto These Hills" -- one of the longest running outdoor dramas in the U.S. with over six million tickets sold.

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Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is 6,643 feet which makes it the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Clingmans Dome is also the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Mt. Mitchell reaches 6,684 feet which is located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina and is considered the highest point east of the Mississippi.

The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond. There is a steep half-mile walk to the top of the tower. On a clear day views expand over a 100 miles. But, because of air pollution you are only able to see about 20 miles.

Due to weather conditions, the road to Clingmans Dome is closed December 1 through March 31.

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Great Smoky National Park

The Great Smoky National Park is America's most visited national park.

There are over 17,000 species that have been documented in the park. Scientists believe an additional 30,000-80,000 species may live here. The Park is 522,419 acres, making it one of the largest protected areas in the eastern United States.

 The Great Smoky Mountains National Park  is a place of beauty and diversity. Straddling North Carolina and Tennessee state lines, the park is a peaceful escape for cycling, hiking, climbing, fishing, backpacking, horseback riding, picnicking, wildlife viewing, and auto touring. Explore ancient mountains, majestic forests, tall waterfalls, tree-dotted ridges, endless hiking and biking trails, historic areas, and scenic overlooks with gorgeous vistas. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a beautiful and serene place with many activities for the entire family.

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Mt LeConte & Alum Cave

Mt LeConte and Alum Cave Trail is 90.2 miles and 2 hours west of Hendersonville.

The Alum Cave Trail is the shortest and steepest of the five trails leading to Mt Le Conte. Mt LeConte consist of four separate peaks, the highest has an elevation of 6,593 feet -- which is the third highest peak in the park.

Alum Cave Trail is often considered Le Conte's most scenic route and it is the most common route for hikers seeking to reach the summit of Mt LeConte.

Mt LeConte Lodge provides the only commercial lodging in the national park, with 10 rustic cabins with no electricity or appliances.The lodge is the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States with and elevation of about 6,400 feet.The LeConte Lodge is a small resort, established in 1925, located on the top of the mountain. The lodge is very popular and the cabins fill up quickly. Guests may sometimes have to book reservations over a year in advance.

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Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap

Newfound Gap is 85 miles 2 hours west of Hendersonville. Newfound Gap, 5,046 feet, is the highest point along U.S. Highway 441 through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The parking lot spans between the state line of North Carolina and Tennessee. The Appalachian Trail, 2,200 mile hiking trail from Georgia to Maine crosses the Newfound Gap.  If you stop to stretch you legs and enjoy the views you may see some through hikers on their way to Maine.

Newfound Gap is almost a mile high offering magnificent views. The weather at Newfound Gap is much cooler than at the lower elevations and the temperature can be as much as 10 degrees difference. Becaue of the difference in temperature and elevation, it could be snowing at Newfound Gap but raining in Gatlinburg or Cherokee.