The Great Smoky Mountains National Park
was established in 1934, and is the largest and most visited park in the United States. If you appreciate the beauty of nature, you will delight in the experiences to be enjoyed in the Smoky Mountains. There are 800 miles of hiking trails, 700 miles of fishable streams, biking trails, and horseback riding trails. For a less strenuous pace, try an auto tour to view waterfalls, wildlife and wild flowers. Visit 80 historic structures which have been preserved throughout the park. Stop for a picnic lunch along your way.
is one of the premiere venues for world-class performances and artists in Western North Carolina and the surrounding areas. This 1,500 seat state-of-the-art center presents the finest in performing arts to the community, including passion plays, musical productions, professional drama troupes, dance, choral festivals, recitals, concerts, and more. It has been described as a “hidden gem”, delivering a caliber of entertainment seldom found outside major urban areas.
Franklin is the “gem capital” of the world. Wear your old clothes and plan to spend the day mining for rubies and sapphires. Quartz moonstones and garnets are also native to the area. Gem mining is one of the most popular activities offered in the Franklin area. We will steer you to the favorites of our guests and staff.
Located approximately 35-minutes from the park in Cherokee is the world-class resort Harrah’s Cherokee. The complex has undergone a 5-year, $633 million dollar renovation and has recently opened a spectacular Las Vegas style entry with 70-foot waterfall and an hourly light and water show. The casino has over 160,000 sq. feet with 8,000 sq. feet smoke-free. There are over 4,000 slot machines, and the current 44 digital table games will soon be replaced by tables games with live dealers. Dining choices include Paula Deen’s Kitchen, and the recently opened Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Brio Tuscan Grill.
Let your next adventure begin with a visit to Wilderness Taxidermy located on Highlands Road in Franklin. Their state of the art wildlife museum houses a collection of animals from throughout the world. Do not miss your opportunity to see quality taxidermy in a beautiful setting. The facility is open every day except Wednesday and Sunday. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Saturday,
8 a.m. to noon.
In nearby Rabun County, the Foxfire Museum offers a glimpse of the history and traditions of the Southern Appalachian pioneer culture. Rabun high school students began documenting their heritage 45-years ago through interviews with relatives, acquiring old tools, and producing the Fox Fire Magazine and a book. The royalties have funded the museum which offers a self-guided walking tour through over 20 log cabins, replica chapel, grist mill, and displays of farm and woodworking tools, folk arts, housewares, and an in-residence weaver. You will see a single-room 1820’s log home that raised three generations of 10 children each. There is a 1790s “tar grinder” wagon – the only one in existence documented to have been used in the Trail of Tears. You can test your balance on stilts, a traditional Appalachian amusement. Experience what life was like in the mountains pre-electricity. Guided tours are available for groups of six or more by prior reservation.
Waterfalls, Sightseeing, Walks & Hikes
Western NC is home to over one million acres of national forests, national and state parks. There are miles and miles of hiking trails, and so many waterfalls in the area, it is impossible to describe them all. In the Nantahala National Forest, alone, you find Whitewater, Rainbow, Bridal Veil, Cullasaja, Silver Run, Glen Falls and more. The natural beauty is breathtaking. There are walks varying from an easy amble to strenous, steep hikes. In Franklin you can walk a short, easy stretch of the Appalachian Trail to the Wayah Bald Lookout Tower, a national historic landmark, where you can see panoramic mountain views in all directions. An informative site with an interactive map is:
This area is a true cycling paradise, a natural hub for the sport. Biking enthusiasts have found nearby terrain ideal and the trail possibilities endless. There are many marked routes to guide you through different parts of the area. Bring your own bike or you may rent one from our local bicycle shop, located at 179 Highlands Road. The Nantahala National Forest offers many miles of scenic gravel roads that are appealing routes to mountain bikers. The Tsali trails feature 40 miles of nationally known, world class singletrack biking.
Family Bicycling and Hiking
For a gentler pace with stretches suitable for the whole family, visit our local FROG (Friends of the Greenway) on the Little Tennessee River. There are several trails with covered bridges and parks for the kids and the new in 2012 Big Bear Park for canines! Fenced in two sections – one for large dogs and one for small, doggies can romp and play to their heart’s content.
Spend your mountain vacation on the greens. Franklin is home to two public golf courses including an 18-hole championship course and a challenging 9-hole course that will test your skills.
Canoeing, Tubing, Rafting, Kayaking
Canoeing, tubing and kayaking on the Cullasaja, Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers offer a great way to cool off on a warm day or enjoy the scenic beauty of the area from a different point of view. Several canoe and tube put-ins are located throughout the area. The Nantahala River is famous for it’s whitewater rafting. Several outfitters are available for guided trips and rentals in the area.
Enjoy a “thrilling scenic ride” across Lake Fontana on a 12-passenger jetboat. Packages are available that include a guided hike, swimming, and picnic. Located at Bryson City.
The Franklin area offers some of the best trout fishing in Western NC. The Western NC Fly Fishing Trail in nearby Jackson County is the only such trail in the US, and offers 15 stops to catch brown, brook and rainbow trout. Part of the Fly Fishing Trail, the Chattooga River is where the movie “Deliverance” was filmed. The Cullasaja, Cartugaja, Tuckaseegee, and Nantahalla Rivers all offer fishing opportunities. The Little Tennessee River is known for smallmouth bass. Be aware that Duke Power releases water affecting some rivers, including the Nantahala and Tuckaseegee – be sure to check the hours on the Duke Power site. Or better yet, engage a fishing charter guide. A NC fishing license with trout stamp is required, and can be obtained at any fishing or sporting goods store or at Wal-Mart.
Scottish Tartans Museum – The Scottish Museum and Gift Shop in Franklin highlights the history and culture of Scotland. There is a large gallery of tartans, kilts and other Highlands dress. Learn about the Scottish emigrants to the area and their experiences with the Appalachian population and the Cherokee Indians. Find your family tartan.
Theatre in the Mountains – Each year the hills are alive with the sounds of theatre. From classic Broadway Musicals to comedies and dramas, there is something for everyone.