Entering North Carolina from Tennessee on I-40 and having traveled through a deep gorge, travelers stop at this Welcome Center to catch their breath and learn what to see and do in the rugged, ancient mountains of North Carolina.
Not far from this Center is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with access through the town of Cherokee. Exhibits in the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the park tell of the history of the Native Americans, immigrant settlers, and the formation of the park. The Mountain Farm Museum offers living history exhibits and demonstrations.
In the town of Cherokee you will find four of the sites along the Blue Ridge Heritage Trail—the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Qualla Arts and Crafts gallery and shop, Oconaluftee Indian Village, and Unto These Hills outdoor drama.
On the highway between Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can access the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway, “America’s Favorite Drive.”
The Blue Ridge Heritage Trail is a program of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.