Oconaluftee is the name of a river valley in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, located in the Southeastern United States. Formerly the site of a Cherokee village and Appalachian community, the valley's bottomland is now home to the main entrance to the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The Oconaluftee area parallels the Oconaluftee River as its basin gradually broadens from Smokemont in the north to the southern tip of the Qualla Boundary. The Qualla Boundary, commonly known as Cherokee, North Carolina, comprises the bulk of a federal trust that acts a reservation for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee. The national park lands in Oconaluftee are home to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mingus Mill, and the Mountain Farm Museum. Much of the area is part of the Oconaluftee Archaeological District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.GeologyNear Newfound Gap, several small creeks converge to form Beech Flats Prong. This stream flows south along the southern base of Mount Kephart, dropping 2,000 feet (600 m) over 10mi before merging with Kephart Prong, Kanati Fork, and Smith Branch to form the Oconaluftee River. The Oconaluftee continues southward, cutting a valley between the Richland Mountain massif to the east and the Thomas Ridge massif to west. The confluence of the Oconaluftee River and Bradley Fork at Smokemont strengthens the river considerably, with the valley broadening as a result. Near the park boundary, a large and relatively flat bottomland has been created by the river's junction with Raven Fork, which flows down from the northeast. Past Cherokee, the river turns west en route to its mouth along the Tuckasegee River, near Bryson City.


1194 Newfound Gap Hwy
Cherokee, NC


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