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Oconaluftee River Trail



1.6 mile 2.5 kilometer point to point
100% Runnable


Ascent: 0' 0 m
Descent: -39' -12 m
High: 2,025' 617 m
Low: 1,987' 606 m


Avg Grade: 0% (0°)
Max Grade: 1% (0°)


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Trail shared by Tom Walsh

A short, easy trail to the edge of Cherokee, North Carolina.

Tom Walsh

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Runner Notes

This is a flat easy 5k running trail that is well maintained by the Park service. The heavy tree canopy provides ample shade for summer runs and a nice wind break in the winter. Runners will enjoy the sounds and views of the river along the majority of this trail.


The trail runs from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center past a historic farm setting then along the Oconaluftee River to the edge of Cherokee, NC. It is a well maintained and relatively flat with a few small hills. The trail winds through dense forest, which provides nice shade in the summer and a wind break in the winter. There is one easy road crossing at Saunooke Bridge road (Google maps mislabels this as 441) then the trail continues for approximately 1/10th mile before turning back.

Elk frequent this area so be watchful. The Oconaluftee River Trail is frequently used by joggers, walkers, and bicyclists.

Flora & Fauna

Spring flowers, moss, and ferns blanket the forest floor, rocks, and trees. Poison ivy is very prevalent though out this area so be watchful when venturing off trail.

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Aug 23, 2019
Amber Manke
Saw huge ass make elk! Scared me
Mar 23, 2019
Margot Strasburger
3.7mi — 12h 00m

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 7 votes


in Oconaluftee


  3.3 from 7 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Oconaluftee


in North Carolina


7 Views Last Month
548 Since Sep 4, 2015



Oconalufttee River on the Oconalufttee river trail looking towards Cherokee.
Feb 19, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
So peaceful here.
Jun 9, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
January snow near the Oconaluftee River Trail.
Feb 19, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
Mountain Farm Museum at Oconuluftee Visitor Center.
Sep 2, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
Elk in the Fall months are in rut and can become very unpredictable.
Feb 19, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
A peek into the humble housing preserved at the Mountain Farm Museum.
Aug 4, 2016 near Cherokee, NC


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