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Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Smoky Mountains, North Carolina

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Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum

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  • The Oconaluftee River Trail is smooth and wide enough for strollers, something that isn't found very often in the Smoky Mountains.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • Located behind the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and next to the Oconaluftee River Trail is the Mountain Farm Museum. This is a perfect spot for families to explore!- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • Explore the Mountain Farm Museum to get a glimpse into the Smokies of the past.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • The Mountain Farm Museum is made up of farm buildings and structures brought to one site from all over Smoky Mountain National Park.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of only two trails in the Smokies that allow dogs on the trail. Dogs are not allowed in the farm area, but they are on the river trail.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • The Oconaluftee River Trail is also smooth and wide enough to accommodate strollers, unlike most trails in the Smokies.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • Keep an eye out while exploring the trail for some of the most famous locals.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
  • After being eliminated from the park due to hunting and loss of habitat in the 1700s and 1800s, elk were reintroduced to the North Carolina side of the Smoky Mountains in 2001.- Oconaluftee River Trail + Mountain Farm Museum
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy trail. River access. Dog-friendly. Family friendly.
Cons: 
Crowds.
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Region:
Smoky Mountains, NC
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
70.00 ft (21.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Biking
Total Distance: 
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,000.00 ft (609.60 m)
Typically multi-day: 
No
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

The Oconaluftee River Trail and Mountain Farm Museum are located behind the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, just 2 miles from Cherokee. The trail and museum are also located within just minutes from Smokemont Campground in Great Smoky National Park, making this a perfect destination for families.

The trail and museum are filled with educational opportunities, wildflowers, wildlife, river access, and beauty. At the Mountain Farm Museum you can explore multiple farm structures that have been brought in from numerous sites all over the Smoky Mountains. Among them is the Davis home, a log cabin built of chestnut wood and including a working blacksmith shop.

After checking out the farm, enjoy a stroll down the Oconaluftee River Trail, a 3-mile round trip along the river. This trail is one of only two trails in the park that allows leashed dogs on the trail. The trail is also smooth and wide enough for strollers and wheelchairs. Bicycles are also allowed on the trail, unlike on other trails in the park. Along the way, you will find multiple side trails that lead to the river.

As you're exploring, keep an eye out for wildlife, including the locally famous elk. In 2001, after being eliminated from the park in the 1700s and 1800s, the elk were reintroduced and are thriving. They are often seen along the trail and in the fields around the visitor center—just remember to stay back 150 feet and capture your photos from that distance.

Along the river, you will also find beautiful stories of the Cherokee. The area is the ancestral home of the East Band of the Cherokee, and the trail will end at the boundary of their reservation in Cherokee, where you can choose to return to the visitors center or explore the local shops.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide + Trail Map

Field Guide + Trail Map

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(6 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(33 within a 30 mile radius)

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