Discover Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary in Cherokee, NC7.6.2022
Located within the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary is a new 18-hole course that’s a remote, beautiful, challenging, tightly wooded, free-to-play gem. Water is in play on several holes as the course borders the Raven Fork River. The course is located by Cherokee Central Schools, with the entrance adjacent to the Big Cove Community sign on Big Cove Road.
The new course was made possible by a collaboration of EBCI (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) Operations and Project Management. Disc Golf Design Group out of western North Carolina was hired to design and build the course. Holes are tucked away throughout the forest and the course has two difficulties, with red baskets setting a par-56 and gold baskets being a par-63.
“We wanted to make it championship level,” Jeremy Hyatt, secretary of EBCI Operations told the Cherokee One Feather. He noted that disc golf is one of the fastest growing sports in the United States, and that the new course—which sits on 31.59 acres of property—is a huge amenity for the community in Cherokee.
EBCI Operations currently oversees Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary, as well as Fire Mountain Trails, a 10.5-mile multi use trail system that’s made to mountain bike, hike, or run.
What to Expect
At Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary, three spectacular putting greens are located at the start of the property. There is artistic and detailed signage everywhere with the tee signs featuring Cherokee names and language. Massive boulders serve as seating areas behind every 5x12 concrete tee pad. A spacious pavilion and a huge fire pit are located in the center of the course.
Discover tight but fair fairways and visually stunning (and often punishing) greens on many holes. The property shares space with wildlife including elk, black bear, screech owls, flying squirrels, hellbenders, and the occasional timber rattlesnake.
The final basket of the new 18-hole disc golf course offers a scenic view by Raven Fork.
What People are Saying
The following is a sampling of reviews for Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary from udisc.com, a popular disc golf app and network for disc golf enthusiasts.
“One of the most beautiful courses I’ve ever played. Technical and long with some super unique holes. Best course in NC hands down.” -@justinh8675
“One of the most beautiful courses you will ever play. It is highly technical but when you hit your line it is amazing! Pars feel like birdies for sure. Plan a little extra time to play this one, but definitely worth the extra walking.” -@andersonej
“The setting alone is worth the trip. Bring lunch, bring a towel, bring your A game. The design included a lot of must-hit gaps, along with placement tee shots on par fours. I can’t wait to play it again.” -@ryanmcmaken
“Tour-level bruiser. A DESTINATION COURSE. Excellent tee pads. Tee signs are graphically appealing, accurate and culturally informative. -Defined fairways with reasonable gaps. Excellent use of elevation available. Challenging but at no point unfair. An incredible amount of labor and money went into this (and it shows). Worth multiple visits. Course par on the shortest layout I legit believe to likely rate 930+. You've been warned (and encouraged to visit).” -@larzee
“From the river overlook, to the natural stone staircases, to the massive tee pads, to the picturesque greens, you’re lulled into thinking there is a god and maybe he or she lives here. Three hours later you’re 10 over par and you don’t care.” -@dgdgwnc
“It’s hard! What a beautiful course! It parallels the Raven Fork River and some of the holes have water off the fairway a bit. It’s mostly flat with a few elevated fun shots. Keyword is “tunnel.” No open shots and everything feels long and super tight. Difficult to score here. Played in May and the poison ivy is out in force throughout the course, wear long pants. The best part of the course is the attention to detail with stone steps, grading around T pads and a nice shelter.” -@ijohnj
“One of the most beautiful, well-thought-out, and engaging courses I have ever played. Wildlife all over the course provides immense beauty mixed with a challenging course. Five star course all the way. Before you review the course negatively for being challenging, get better or go play in the park.” -@keaganstern
“Epic course! Long, wooded, very scenic. Great pads and signage. There is no other course like it.” -@lipkinsurvey
“What a treat! Very beautiful but challenging. One of the prettiest courses I’ve ever played!” -@bowser912
Things to Know Before You Go
Parking: Park across from entrance, just past Cherokee Central School. Do not park near the stickball field across the river. Note that Fire Mountain Disc Golf Sanctuary does not link to or share parking with Fire Mountain Trails.
Bathrooms: At this time there are no public restrooms (they are in design phase), so please plan accordingly.
Poison Ivy: As with any wooded area, you may encounter poison ivy, especially if you have to retrieve your disc off-path, so consider wearing pants.