Things to Do & See

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<em>Smoky Mountain Magic</em>

Smoky Mountain Magic

SMOKY MOUNTAIN MAGIC--Horace Kephart's fictional adventure set in the Deep Creek watershed, Cherokee Indian Reservation, and Bryson City in the summer of 1925. Written in 1929 and never before published. The original manuscript was passed down for 3 generations recently surfaced during the park's 75th anniversary celebration. "What better topic than a journey into a forbidden realm, complete with witches, robber barons, noble savages and a winsome lady, all wrapped in a cloak of mystery and myth?" asks reviewer Gary Carden. Kephart is featured in Ken Burn's PBS series on our national parks. He is the author of "Our Southern Highlanders", "Cherokees of the Smokies", and "Camping and Woodcraft". Available in hardcover and softcover. Read More >

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Ranger Guided Events

Free and fun activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Cades Cove and Oconaluftee

Blacksmith Demonstrations.
Meet at the Blacksmith building near the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area.
Saturday & Sunday, September 22 & 23 
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, October 20 & 21, 27 & 28 
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, November 3 & 4  
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Learn the art of blacksmithing and why it was important in the Cades Cove community.

Traditional Old Tyme Music
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop Road.
September 16 - 20 & 24 - 26
October 1 - 5 & 8 - 10
10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The group Tymes Past presents music gleaned from the Old World and altered to reflect a new life in the Appalachians.

Evening on the Mountain Farm
Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Friday, October 12
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
The farm comes to life as park staff and volunteers provide an evening of demonstrations, stories, and more on the Mountain Farm. Come share stories and cider on the farm.
Duration: 1½ hours

Back Porch Old-Time Music
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturdays, September 15, October 20, & November 17
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Bring an acoustic instrument and join in on this old-time jam.  Or just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds as others play traditional Appalachian music.

Sorghum Molasses Making Demonstrations
September 1-3,  14 – 16 & 21 – 23  11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
November 9 – 11, 16 – 18 & 23 – 25 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
At the Cable Mill historic area halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road.

Cades Cove Full Moon Hike
Sunday, September 30 & Thursday, October 25  7:30 pm
Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Easy. Wear comfortable walking shoes
Accessible                                                         

Cades Cove Stargazing                                             
Saturday, September 15
8:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road.
Join a park ranger and the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society as we learn about the stars and galaxies. Numerous telescopes will be available for viewing the night skies. Bring warm clothes, a blanket to sit on and a flashlight. Carpooling is strongly encouraged. The program will be postponed in case of rain and/or cloudy weather where the night sky is not clear for viewing. Call 865 448-4104.
Difficulty: Easy ¼ mile walk to the program site in a field.
Accessible                                                                    
                                                                                        
** Note that travel time to programs at Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area could be an hour or more once you get into the Cove due to heavy traffic volume. Plan accordingly.

Ranger-guided Walks & Talks for September 16 – November 3, 2012

Gatlinburg/ Sugarlands Area

Daily

Cataract Falls Walk
Sugarlands Visitor Center
11:00 a.m.
Do you have a few minutes? Get away from the hustle and bustle by taking an easy stroll to a beautiful waterfall and learn more about the Great Smokies.
Duration: 1 hour
Level: Easy

Sunday

“Bearing” the Winter
Meet on the Sugarlands Visitor Center Patio
1:00 p.m.
How do bears prepare for the winter months? Find out from a ranger. Fun for the entire family!
Duration: 1 hour
Accessible

Autumn Arrives in the Smokies
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to discover the wonders of the Smokies in fall. Find the best places to view foliage and get some tips on everything from photography to beating the crowds.
Duration: 20 minutes
Accessible

Tuesday

Cherokee Legends and Folklore
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to learn about Cherokee history, lore, and rituals.
Duration: 45 minutes
Accessible

Wednesday

Autumn Arrives in the Smokies
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to discover the wonders of the Smokies in fall. Find the best places to view foliage and get some tips on everything from photography to beating the crowds.
Duration: 20 minutes
Accessible

Thursday

Why Did They Come Here? Why Do We?— History Hike
Meet in front of Sugarlands Visitor Center
1:00 p.m.
In the early 1800s the first white settlers began coming to the Sugarlands Valley to build a new life. Walk in their footsteps to find out why they chose this spot and how they made a life in these mountains. Bring water and wear sturdy shoes.
Duration: 2 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Autumn Arrives in the Smokies
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to discover the wonders of the Smokies in fall. Find the best places to view foliage and get some tips on everything from photography to beating the crowds.
Duration: 20 minutes
Accessible

Friday

Laurel Falls Hike
Meet at Laurel Falls Trailhead
10:00 a.m.
Come and hike to one of the most popular waterfalls in the Smokies. Discover the natural diversity of the Smokies. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring water.
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Easy to moderate

Autumn Arrives in the Smokies
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to discover the wonders of the Smokies in fall. Find the best places to view foliage and get some tips on everything from photography to beating the crowds.
Duration: 20 minutes
Accessible

Saturday

Autumn Arrives in the Smokies
Sugarlands Visitor Center Theater
2:00 p.m.
Join a ranger to discover the wonders of the Smokies in fall. Find the best places to view foliage and get some tips on everything from photography to beating the crowds.
Duration: 20 minutes
Accessible

OCONALUFTEE/
SMOKEMONT AREA

Daily

Mingus Mill Demonstration
Located a half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on US 441 (Newfound Gap Road)
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Chat with a miller and feel the rumble of this historic gristmill in action.
Accessibility: Two steps into mill

Mountain Farm Museum
Adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Dawn to Dusk
Walk down to the farm for a glimpse into the past. Self-guiding brochures are always available and some days you may find demonstrations such as blacksmithing, hearth cooking, gardening, or weaving taking place.
Accessible

Sunday

Predator Versus Prey!
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
11:00 a.m.
Are baby deer truly defenseless? Are black bears really vicious? Do they actually attack and eat baby deer or maybe us? Come find out about the different relationships between predators and prey here in the park.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Monday
 
Coffee with a Ranger
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
10:00 a.m.
Join a Ranger for a cup of coffee and find out what’s happening in the park! Coffee provided. Bring a cup if you have one.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Down on the Farm
Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Walk down to the farm and see demonstrations of the activities that kept mountain families busy in the past. Demonstrations vary.
Duration: Ongoing two hours
Accessible

Thursday
 
It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Green
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
11:00 a.m.
Ever wonder how the leaves go from glossy green to glowing gold or blazing orange? Wonder if it will be a good leaf color year? Come explore the components needed for nature’s paintbrush to fill the mountain side canvas with wonder. Meet on the Oconaluftee Visitor Center porch for a tutorial on leaf color. 
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Are they really Sleeping???
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
3:30 p.m.
Do bears hibernate? Are there any other animals that hibernate? Join a ranger to discover the answers to these and many more questions about hibernation.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Friday
 
Discover the Oconaluftee Elk Herd
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
11:00 a.m.
Where did the elk come from? When will they be out in the field? How much do they weigh? Come discover the parks largest mammal and find out the best time to see them.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Let’s Get Reintroduced
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
3:30 p.m.
What native animal species were missing when the park was established? What happened to them? How did the park bring them back? Join a Ranger on the road to rediscovery!
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Saturday

Whoooooo Gives a Hooooot?
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
11:00 a.m.
Whoooooo! Have you ever heard this sound in the Smokies and wondered whoooooo it belongs to?  Come discover the owls of Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

Down on the Farm
Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Walk down to the farm and see demonstrations of the activities that kept mountain families busy in the past. Demonstrations vary.
Duration: Ongoing two hours
Accessible

ELKMONT/LITTLE RIVER AREA

Wednesday

Old Town of Elkmont
Meet behind Elkmont Ranger Station
10:00 a.m.
Take an early morning stroll with a ranger and learn about Elkmont when it was a turn-of-the-century logging boomtown.
Duration: 1½ hours
Level: Easy

Friday

Twilight by the Dancing Waters
Little River Trailhead near Elkmont Campground
7:00 p.m. in September;
6:00 p.m. starting October 1
Enjoy a twilight walk along the dancing waters of the Little River and learn about Smokies critters that are more comfortable in darkness than in the light of day.
Duration: 1½ hours
Level: Easy

Saturday

Old Town of Elkmont
Meet behind Elkmont Ranger Station
10:00 a.m.
Take an early morning stroll with a ranger and learn about Elkmont when it was a turn-of-the-century logging boomtown.
Duration: 1½ hours
Level: Easy

Devastation to Preservation
Elkmont Amphitheater
8:00 p.m.
It’s hard to imagine, but less than a century ago most of the Smoky Mountains had been stripped of their trees by mechanized logging. Join a park ranger around a campfire and listen to stories of how Great Smoky Mountain National Park was established “for the enjoyment of future generations.” 
Duration: 45 minutes
Accessible

METCALF BOTTOMS/
LITTLE GREENBRIER AREA

Monday

The Walker Sisters of Little Greenbrier
Meet at Little Greenbrier School, near Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
1:00 p.m.
Join a ranger for a 2.2 mile roundtrip hike to learn about the famous Walker Sisters of Little Greenbrier.  We’ll talk about adaptation and the flexibility required of these strong-willed sisters to live in the old-fashioned way.
Duration: 2½ hours
Level: Easy to Moderate

Tuesday

Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse
Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse near Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area
11:00 a.m. - noon, and 2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Go back in time to discover what it was like to live in a mountain community and go to school in a one-room schoolhouse. This program is fun for all ages. Please arrive 15 minutes before program start; space is limited.
Duration: 1 hour
Level: Easy

CADES COVE
Note that travel time to programs at Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area could be an hour or more once you get into the Cove due to heavy traffic volume. Plan accordingly.

Sunday

Junior Ranger Program
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop Road
1:00 p.m.
Join a Park Ranger for a hands-on exploration of the Smokies. Participation counts towards credit for earning a Junior Ranger badge and certificate.
Duration: 45 minutes
Accessible

WILD Program
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop road.
2:30 p.m.
A short talk and demonstration about the wild things in the Smokies.
Duration: 30 minutes
Accessible

Wednesday

Evening Hayride
Meet at the Cades Cove Riding Stables
5:00 p.m.
Enjoy a ranger-led open air hayride viewing wildlife and discovering the diversity of Cades Cove.
Duration: 1½ - 2 hours
Fee: $14.00/person
Accessible

Thursday

Early Bird Hayride
Meet at the Cades Cove Riding Stables
8:00 a.m.
Enjoy a ranger-led open air hayride viewing wildlife and discovering the diversity of Cades Cove.
Duration: 1½ - 2 hours
Fee: $14.00/person
Accessible

Friday

October Night Hike (October 5, 12, 19, 26) 
Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road
7:00 p.m. start time
Listen to the spirits of Cades Cove.
Duration:  2 hours
Difficulty: 2½ miles. Easy. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Flashlights recommended. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

Saturday

Blue & Gray - Junior Ranger program
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop Road
1:00 p.m.
Attention Junior Rangers! The American Civil War needs young folks to enlist for the union or confederacy. As you begin your term as a recruit you will learn about the life of a soldier and how you kept in touch with friends and family. Join a park ranger as we find out how the Civil War affected small communities such as Cades Cove.
Duration: 30 - 45 minutes
Accessible

WILD by Design
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop Road.
2:30 p.m.
A talk and hands-on demonstration about some of the wild things in the park
Duration: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Accessible

Cataloochee Valley

Sunday

Smoky Mountain Elk
Palmer House, Cataloochee Valley
6:00 p.m.
Fall is a great time for viewing elk in Cataloochee Valley. Hear them bugle throughout the valley! Learn what the “rut” is all about. Feel the weight of the antlers they carry on their head.
Duration: 40 minutes
Accessible

SPECIAL PROGRAMS
                                              
Blacksmith Demonstrations.
Meet at the Blacksmith building near the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area.
Saturday & Sunday, September 22 & 23 
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, October 20 & 21, 27 & 28 
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday, November 3 & 4  
10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Learn the art of blacksmithing and why it was important in the Cades Cove community.
Accessible
                                   
Traditional Old Tyme Music
Meet at the Cades Cove Visitor Center/Cable Mill area halfway around the Loop Road.
September 16 - 20 & 24 - 26
October 1 - 5 & 8 - 10
10:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
The group Tymes Past presents music gleaned from the Old World and altered to reflect a new life in the Appalachians.

Sorghum Molasses Making Demonstrations
At the Cable Mill historic area halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road.
September 1 - 3,  14 - 16 & 23 - 24 
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
November 9 - 11, 16 - 18 & 23 - 25
11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
 
Cades Cove Full Moon Hike
Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road
Sunday, September 30 & Thursday, October 25  7:30 pm
Duration: 2 hours
Level: Easy. Wear comfortable walking shoes
Accessible                                                           

Cades Cove Stargazing                                               
Meet at the Orientation Shelter at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road.
Saturday, September 15
8:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Join a park ranger and the Smoky Mountain Astronomical Society as we learn about the stars and galaxies. Numerous telescopes will be available for viewing the night skies. Bring warm clothes, a blanket to sit on and a flashlight. Carpooling is strongly encouraged. The program will be postponed in case of rain and/or cloudy weather where the night sky is not clear for viewing. Call 865 448-4104.
Difficulty: Easy ¼ mile walk to the program site in a field.
Accessible

Mountain Life Festival
Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturday, September 15
10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Join park staff and volunteers as we celebrate the fall harvest. The Mountain Farm Museum will be alive with history as demonstrators provide visitors with a glimpse into the past as they make soap, apple cider, sorghum molasses, hominy, music and more.

Evening on the Mountain Farm
Mountain Farm Museum adjacent to Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Friday, October 12
5:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
The farm comes to life as park staff and volunteers provide an evening of demonstrations, stories, and more on the Mountain Farm. Come share stories and cider on the farm.
Duration: 1½ hours
Accessible

Back Porch Old-Time Music
Porch of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Saturdays, September 15, October 20, & November 17
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Bring an acoustic instrument and join in on this old-time jam.  Or just sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds as others play traditional Appalachian music.
Accessible

Accessible = MC2 and Accessible to persons using wheelchairs