Places of Interest, Beauty & (lots of) Things to Do near Ash Mountain Cabin (& links to those websites)

Here is a list of sites that we and visitors to our area choose to frequent. We'll update as time goes by...

October 26, 2007 - Another GORGEOUS Fall day in Bryson City, N.C.!!! - (Photo taken by Steve from Cullisia Rd - off an Upper Alarka job site.)

Click on the links to go to their websites - but don't forget to come back to Ash Mountain Cabin!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) earns the name. Plenty of hiking trails, your choice of difficulty. Stop & pick up a trail map at ranger stations or visitor centers for $1. 

 Go for a walk up Deep Creek - one nearby entrance, in Bryson City, to the Great Smokies Park. Locals and tourists alike enjoy hiking up these (mostly) gently sloping trails. Peaceful and beautiful...we appreciate how blessed we are to live in such a place and have this natural resource so close by. (A 20 minute drive will get you to the the Deep Creek entrance to GSMNP.) 

Take a hike with American Hikes, Inc.! and experience more of the history and culture of what the Smokies have to offer than you can just by the quick drive-bys that most tourists you get some exercise while you do it. Hikes from nature and wildlife to history and ghost tours at night - they've got it all!

Tube down Deep Creek - a favorite summer pasttime for locals and visitors, and the water is COLD when it's hot out! 

Blue Ridge Parkway - several access points near Ash Mountain Cabin - from Cherokee to Waynesville to Asheville 

Steve looking off from Water Rock Knob, between Cherokee & Waynesville off Blue Ridge Parkway on 4-25-09. Gorgeous 260 degree view, 1/2 mile climb from the visitor center, and over 6000 feet elevation when you arrive!

 Cherokee Reservation - Museum, Outdoor Drama (UntoThese Hills - story of the Cherokee removal to Oklahoma,) the  living Oconaluftee Indian Village,  Qualla Arts & Crafts Co-op 

Great Smokies Railroad  See the mountains the way folks did in the early 1900s - by rail. GSMR has a variety of dinner trips and trips for children at different times of the year (such as the Christmas favorite, The Polar Express.) Lots to choose from and runs mostly year-round!


Great Smoky Mountains Train Museum is next to GSMR

Harrah's Cherokee Casino  the name says it all :)

The Mountain Farmstead Museum at the entrance to the Great Smokies Park in Cherokee

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

Rafting & outdoor adventure at  Nantahala Outdoor Center , Wildwater   & other rafting companies 



Biltmore Estate - Asheville - 1.5 hours away, but a beautiful drive in a great small city

 Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest - one of the few never-logged places left in Western N.C. just past Robbinsville, N.C. (Robbinsville is just under 30 minutes, Kilmer is 25 minutes past Robbinsville - about a 50 minute drive from the cabin) - huge trees, hiking at various levels of difficulty - well worth the drive! 


 Cherohala Skyway, also in Graham County, near Robbinsville, North Carolina, and very near the Dragon...




"Tail of the Dragon" - a section of US Highway 129, aka Deals Gap, is famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles. Motorcycles and Mini Coopers (& other less impressive cars :) LOVE to strut their stuff on this stretch of road. Not for the faint of heart...Minis on the Dragon - 2009 

Gorgeous site with great directions is  NC  Waterfalls, another is Western N.C. Waterfalls - spectacular waterfalls are all over our part of the state (and here is more info about waterfalls in the GSMNP!) 

If you are intrigued by the weird and unexplained, take a 45 minute drive up to Judaculla Rock near Cullowhee. Judaculla is a huge boulder with yet unexplained hieroglyphics said to be carved by indigenous folks, maybe pre-Cherokee. (The local legend is that the giant, Judaculla, jumped from the top of a nearby mountain and landed on the rock, leaving his funky footprint embedded in the stone.)

 Critters abound, but they are wild and avoid humans for the most part. We should take their advice - and keep our distance as well.

If you hear strange noises at the cabin while you're visiting, don't worry. We have a cardinal who is quite a narcissist and won't leave the windows alone and a very strong raccoon, who keeps trying to carry off the galvanized bucket full of sunflower seeds for the bird feeder.


86% of Swain County's land is non-privately owned (in other words, it's owned by the government) either in the form of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP,) the Eastern Band of Cherokees Reservation lands, Nantahala National Forest, TVA-owned Fontana Lake, etc. Those statistics make this an interesting area for our county government to come up with funding, since property tax payments are only on 14% of the land in the county.

But since 40% of the 1/2 million acres of the GSMNP is in Swain County, of which Bryson City is the county seat, it's a gorgeous place to live...

Back to Ash Mountain Cabin main site

home/ofc/ fax: (828) 488-1575

mobile: (828) 736-2532


Want a guide to see some of the more "off-the-beaten-path" parts of the Smokies? Visit Smoky Mountain Adventures website.

  Fall colors in Western N.C. are only one of our natural attractions:

Peak  color  is usually the third weekend in October, but sometimes the colors turn sooner or will last into early November.  For more green in the WNC color scheme, the 1st & 2nd second weekends of October are the best time to visit. For lots of reds, oranges, yellows and browns, depending on weather, how much rain we've had, etc., the 3rd week of October until the 1st week in November are usually best. 

Tsali Recreation Area - mountain biking - some of the most popular in the East!

Mountain Scenic Byway Drive - 60 miles long, but a driver's caveat: these are not straight, flat roads :) Take your time, meander a bit and you'll see some of the loveliest natural areas on our continent. (Bridal Veil Falls-Cullasaja Gorge in the photo, above.)


Area fishing & guides info


The Nantahala River (Nantahala means "Land of the Noonday Sun" in Cherokee) - this photo is of Little Wesser Falls - less than 3 miles from Ash Mountain Cabin


An entry point to the historic & scenic Appalachian Trail (the AT to hikers) is less than 3 miles from Ash Mountain Cabin with an access at NOC



Cades Cove in the GSMNP,  one of mine & Steve's favorite spots in the Park , just across the Tennessee line and before Gatlinburg, is a beautiful drive or an 11 mile bike ride in a gorgeous valley. (Just over a 1.5 hour drive, depending on traffic.)



Clingmans Dome: 6,643 feet, and  the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sunset at Clingmans Dome ^


Stunning views await at the top of Whiteside Mountain in Cashiers.

If you like strange stories, the Cherokee have some great about Spearfinger, Ulagu the giant yellow jacket,  or other Cherokee legends (the website linked here does not represent my viewpoint about the Cherokees being able to hold onto their heritage, but the stories are interesting.)  Aunt Mary, Tell Me a Story is on the cabin bookshelf or you can pick up a copy at the Museum of the Cherokees.


GORP site for more Western N.C. attractions

 Mountain Heritage Center at Western Carolina University - celebrate the natural and cultural heritage of the southern Appalachian region