Mountain Tales

Once, folks living among the peaks and valleys of western North Carolina entertained each other with tales told around a campfire. Today, modern storytellers keep the tradition alive.

Welcome Home

90th Anniversary


Buried Treasure in Hendersonville

Relics of life in early 20th-century Henderson County were hidden in plain sight. Uncovered by a local chef, they’re now on display at Shine, the restaurant that he and his family built in their hometown.

In Search of Pocket Waterfalls

Although dwarfed by their thundering cousins, small-scale falls hold their own special magic. It might take some extra legwork to find one, tucked among the rugged peaks of the High Country, but stumbling upon an elfin cascade is an enchanting reward.

The Cherokee Way

In a land that has remained mostly unchanged for thousands of years, Cherokee culture continues to evolve. With renewed energy, citizens of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are shaping their own narrative.

The Great Smokies

The Smaller Side of the Smokies

It may seem counterintuitive in this land of sweeping views and soaring peaks, but to fully appreciate the wonder and diversity of the Great Smoky Mountains, follow the advice of three naturalists who have returned to the area again and again: Look down.

Bear With Us

A couple shares their experiences with Smoky Mountain black bears so others will know how to react if they have a close encounter of the ursine kind.

The Legendary Lodge of Hooper Bald

In the early 1900s, a self-made businessman fell in love with Graham County and spared no expense in building an extravagant hunting preserve there. A century later, his granddaughter visits to find that all that’s left of his Hooper Bald dream is local lore — and wild boar.

3 Spots to Go Out For Trout

A trip to the Smokies is incomplete without a taste of the region’s iconic fish. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an expert angler to land a local trout: Three chefs bring the pride of our mountain waters straight to your plate.

Houses of the Holy

Churches have played many roles in western North Carolina. During the week, they once drew children from miles around to attend school. On Saturdays, they became community centers for potlucks and dances. And on Sundays, parishioners still gather to worship, answering the call of the church bell’s peal.

George Masa’s Peak Dedication

In the early 20th century, a Japanese photographer and his writer friend traversed the rugged terrain north of Cherokee, mapping its peaks and valleys, documenting its beauty. In the process, they helped save the land we now know as Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Carolina Barn Dance

Every Saturday night from May to October, in a cavernous hall in Maggie Valley, cloggers celebrate North Carolina’s official state folk dance — and, in the process, preserve a treasured tradition.

Harley Valley

Every fall, motorcyclists descend on Maggie Valley for the stunning colors, twisting roads, and a visit to a mecca for bikers and history buffs alike: Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum.

A 7-County Guide to the Smokies

Take a trip to this far-west corner of North Carolina and use our county-by-county guide to fill your itinerary with mile-high overlooks and cozy lodges, rushing rivers and waterfalls, favorite shops and restaurants, and thrilling mountain adventures.