Smoky Mountain Elk Fest, Maggie Valley

Smoky Mountain Elk Fest

September 30 - October 1, 2022
This festival in Maggie Valley celebrates the local elk herds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Celebrate our great outdoors and learn about our wildlife and natural diversity.

The outdoor festival is held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds (3374 Soco Road) 10 AM-6 PM with plenty of crafts, live music, outdoor excursions, wildlife art, and educational activities by the national park and conservation groups. The music lineup features classic and fresh country music artists as well as beloved local bands with cultural performances by the Cherokee Indian Reservation and others. Start practicing for the Elk Bugling Contest or enter the photo contest!

Elk Fest coincides with the fall rut when the male elk compete to mate with females. To see the elk, travel to nearby Cataloochee Valley or the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (more info below). During the rut, the male elk clash with their antlers and bugles. The festival will include special hikes and tours. There will not be any live elk at the festival unless some venture down from the hills to visit.

Elk Watching in the Great Smoky Mountains

The elk were reintroduced in 2001 to the Great Smoky Mountains after 300 years of absence. The herd has grown to several hundred. They are now commonly seen in the early morning and late evening in several areas in and near the national park. You can watch the elk year-round safely from your car. While these elk are accustomed to people and appear tame, they are not. Do not approach them. They are wild animals and can cause serious injury. See our guides for Elk in Cataloochee Valley and Elk in Cherokee at Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

Maggie Valley Festival Grounds

Admission is $5/person (kids 12 & under are free). Elk Fest proceeds help sustain the growing population of elk in the area. Funds support habitat maintenance and create other ways to keep the elk protected and happy.

The Maggie Valley Festival Grounds along US Highway 19 (3374 Soco Road, Maggie Valley) is about 30 miles west of Asheville and 9 miles from downtown Waynesville. Lake Junaluska is 6 miles east and Cherokee is 17 miles west. For more things to do nearby, see our Maggie Valley Guide.

Go to the Elk Fest Website for many more details.

More Info

Waynesville, NC
Downtown's quaint old buildings, brick sidewalks, galleries and general store take you back to a more leisurely time. Each summer, Folkmoot U.S.A. attracts entertainers from all over the world. The Museum of NC Handicrafts is housed in the historic Shelton House. On summer Friday nights, come down for the Mountain Street Dances.
Visit NC Smokies Visitor Guide
Waynesville & Maggie Valley Visitors Guide
Order the 56-page free "Visit NC Smokies" guide to Haywood County, home to small towns of Maggie Valley, Waynesville, Lake Junaluska, Canton and Clyde - in the Great Smokies, Pisgah National Forest and along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Maggie Valley NC
Maggie Valley
This longtime mountain resort town has kept much of its local charm with vintage motels and plenty of gift shops with arts and crafts. Tour Wheels Through Time collection of classic cars and motorcycles. Ski at Cataloochee. Festivals include Hillbilly Jam and Elk Fest.
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