Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains

Oconaluftee Center & Mountain Farm Museum, Great Smokies

The Mountain Farm Museum and Oconaluftee Visitor Center are located at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on U.S. Highway 441 / Newfound Gap Road near Cherokee, North Carolina. The Blue Ridge Parkway ends nearby. Stop by the Oconaluftee Visitor Center for plenty of maps, guides, exhibits and helpful park rangers and programs.

Mountain Farm Museum NC

The Mountain Farm Museum includes farm buildings, most dating around 1900, that were moved from their original locations throughout the Great Smoky Mountain National Park to create an open-air museum. Visitors can explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived 100 years ago. It's a beautiful setting for a stroll.

Most of the structures were built in the late 19th century and were moved here in the 1950s. The Davis House is a rare chance to view a log house built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s. The Farm Museum is free. Open All Year: October 8-6, November-March 8-4:30, April 8-5. See other farms to visit.

Pet & Bike Friendly Trail
The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two walking paths in the Smokies on which visitors can walk dogs and bicycle. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails. The trail travels 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Cherokee, NC. It is relatively flat, but does have a few small hills. The trail runs through the forest along side the Oconaluftee River and offers beautiful views of the river.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

The Oconaluftee Visitor Center for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a state-of-the-art center constructed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA) and donated to the Park. See orientation and cultural themed exhibits and informational media. Pick up brochures and shop in the well-stocked gift shop. Park rangers will answer questions and give you a free map! The center is open daily 8 AM until 6 PM. The fully-accessible restroom building and orientation kiosk are open 24 hours a day.

Elk at Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Watch the elk in the large meadow beside the visitor center on many mornings and evenings (right after sunrise or 1-2 hours before sunset). Read more about seeing the elk.

Directions
About 52 miles from downtown, allow 1.5-2 hours to travel. Take I-40 West to Exit 27. Follow Highway 19/23/74 for about 4 miles and exit onto Highway 19 toward Maggie Valley. About 3 miles past Maggie Valley, watch for the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance, and go south. The Parkway ends at Highway 441. Turn right to find the Visitor Center. The Parkway is closed much of the winter. If the Parkway is closed, continue on Highway 19 to Cherokee and follow Highway 441 North.
Street address: 1194 Newfound Gap Rd, Cherokee, NC 28719. 

Nearby

Mingus Mill
Mingus Mill & Smokemont Church
See two historic structures within a few miles of each other in the Great Smoky Mountains, both located near the North Carolina entrance on Newfound Gap Road / US 441 near Cherokee.
Mingo Falls
Mingo Falls
This skinny 200-foot waterfall is located near Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It's a short hike up a long staircase.
Bryson City
Bryson City
Check out our favorite small town near Asheville! Ride the train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad before you explore their downtown shops and galleries or paddleboard down the river. Nearby Deep Creek in Great Smokies features camping, hiking, trout fishing and the popular tubing. Raft the Nantahala River. And that's just the beginning!
Cherokee
Cherokee
Home to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Cherokee has a big variety to experience. Learn the Indian heritage, shop for local crafts, see their painted bears or attend a pow wow, or try your luck at the huge Harrah's casino. It's also the primary North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Indian Creek Falls
Tom Branch Falls, Indian Creek Falls and Juney Whank Falls
See three waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the Deep Creek area with a two-mile hike. Deep Creek is also a popular tubing spot each summer.
Newfound Gap Road
Newfound Gap Road
Drive the very popular U.S. Highway 441 through Great Smoky Mountains National Park from Cherokee. First stop should be the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum. Then drive 18 miles and climb 3,000 feet to Newfound Gap on the Tennessee border. Many turn around here or you can drive up to Clingmans Dome. Another option is a hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Events

September 17, 2016, Mountain Life Festival
This annual event at the Mountain Farm Museum in Great Smoky Mountains National Park preserves the legacy of Appalachian folkways, and serves as a tribute to the many families who lived on lands that would later become the Park. See the traditional fall activities that were an important part of rural life, including hearth cooking, apple butter and apple cider making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, food preservation, broom making, quilting, and chair bottoming. Artifacts and historic photographs from the Park's collection will be on display, and music will be provided by local musicians. The centerpiece of the event will be the sorghum syrup demonstration. All activities are free. 10 AM-4 PM

December 17, 2016: Holiday Homecoming
See old time crafts being demonstrated. Learn by observing the practical arts of quilting, weaving, and basket and doll making, apple cider and apple butter. Live music. Free. 10 AM- 3 PM 

Just 50 miles from Asheville is Cherokee, located in Jackson County at the main North Carolina entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (via US Highway... read more
July 1-3, 2016
At the Cherokee Pow Wow, experience authentic Indian dancing, drumming and tribal regalia. Dance competitions kick the excitement up even higher. When... read more
Tour a variety of farms, including historic sites to see the homesteads of yesteryear and working farms of today (pic above: Dr King's Bison Farm).Historic Farms
... read more
More than 850 miles of hiking trails traverse the Great Smoky Mountains. They range from easy to difficult and provide half hour walks to week-long backpacking trips. Below are our favorites. Also,... read more
The Alum Cave Trail is the most hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You'll see why with interesting geological features and stunning views. To reach the 6,593-foot summit of Mount... read more