What’s Your Perfect Cherokee Season? | Cherokee, NC

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What’s Your Perfect Cherokee Season?

Photo by @madison.hye

Wondering when the best time of year is to visit Cherokee? Whether you’re seeking a quiet getaway to enjoy nature or craving more personal connection and cultural exploration, there’s a Cherokee season just for you! Let’s take a look at the major happenings for different times of year. After reading this blog, you may realize that all four seasons speak to you. After all, Cherokee offers something for everyone, 365 days a year.

Photo by @bexdah


If you’re seeking a peaceful getaway where you can marvel at the beauty of nature and spend some quality time with loved ones, then there’s no better time to visit Cherokee than in winter. The pace of life slows down, making it the perfect time to savor all of the little things: sipping a perfect cup of cocoa from Qualla Java, walking along the Oconaluftee River, taking in the sight of a frosty waterfall, or spending the day at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian* and soaking up the award-winning exhibits. For gorgeous handmade crafts, visit Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.*, the nation’s oldest Native American co-op, where you'll find baskets, beadwork, carvings, and more, made by locals. If you’re an angler, winter is a great time to catch fish, and the rivers are stocked up with rainbows just waiting to bite.


Springtime adventures abound in Cherokee! Go on a nearby hike and see how many wildflowers and spring creatures you can spot. For a cultural experience unlike anything else, take your family to the Oconaluftee Indian Village (opens April 16), which is modeled after a Cherokee village from the 16th to 18th centuries. It’s a fun, educational, living-history experience that will transport you back in time. Cherokee Historical Association Program Director Laura Blythe calls the Village “a living, breathing replica of Cherokee life,” from the days of pre-contact to when settlers were introduced to the area. Spring is also a fantastic time to get moving on the Fire Mountain Trail System*, whether you’re mountain biking, hiking, or taking your dog for a leisurely stroll. For 2019, Cherokee's fishing season “opening day” is March 28, with anglers competing for $20,000 in tagged fish!

Photo by @maneyack


The summer really heats up in Cherokee with an abundance of fun and amazing activities for your whole family. To keep cool in the climbing temps, take a dip at the Oconaluftee Islands Park. Or put yourself right in the action at the 4th of July Powwow, which is the largest powwow on the east coast. The Powwow offers the chance of a lifetime to see some of the most talented native dancers, drummers, and singers perform in Cherokee, NC. The summer also sees the return of the Cherokee Bonfire, where you can sit by a crackling fire and listen to Cherokee storytellers share creation stories, myths, and great legends. And there’s nothing more “summery” in Cherokee than taking in the outdoor drama, Unto These Hills, at the famous Mountainside Theatre. Since its debut on July 1, 1950, Unto These Hills has entertained over six million people, telling the Cherokee people’s rich story from 1780 to the 21st century. It’s a moving experience you won’t forget!

Photo by @curious_mr


While any season in Cherokee is beautiful, fall is especially so! The foliage in Cherokee begins to show splendid displays of color, bringing “leaf peepers” from all corners of the world to see the riches of the mountains. Sugar maples, yellow poplar, and scarlet oaks bring vibrant colors across the elevations, creating color-saturated landscapes you have to see with your own eyes to believe. The fall “rut” or elk-breeding season is one of the most exciting times to visit Cherokee. Between mid-September and late October, you can hear the “bugling” bulls during the mating season. You may also hear the clash of antlers as bulls challenge each other in a battle for dominance. And don’t miss the Annual Cherokee Indian Fair, which has been going for the last 107 years! This four-day event celebrates the unique culture and spirit of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and features arts and crafts, the Miss Cherokee pageants, stickball games, music, rides, and so much more.

Photo by @cherrychris

Ready to book your stay?

Check out this list of accommodations and find the perfect place to call your home-away-from-home in Cherokee.

To keep up to date on what’s happening in Cherokee, check out our Events page—new events are added all the time, so keep checking back in.

*Open year round!

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