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The town of Cherokee, which is located in Cherokee County, North Carolina, is one that can’t -- and shouldn’t! -- be missed if you’re in the area or anywhere nearby. Nestled in what is perhaps one of the most scenic areas in the United States, Cherokee is a small town on the reservation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. This is a town filled with history, as well as being a hop and a skip from the Great Smoky Mountains -- only serving to enhance the already gorgeous scenery.
In town, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy, especially if you’re eager to learn about the local culture, and the culture of the region’s native people. There are definite stops for you and your pup pal to explore in the area, but while in Cherokee proper, you’d be doggone crazy to skip over the Sassy Sunflowers Bakery. An award-winning bistro, this bakery doesn’t just serve bread and cookies. You can find well-prepared salads and sandwiches that are out of this world, in addition to the usual fare. With an expansive outdoor patio where you’re welcome to bring your diva doggy to dine, you truly can’t go wrong at this bakery.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee is just a paw’s pitter patter away from Cherokee, and there are a number of things you could do in the area. Special attention should be paid to the central area of the city, where you’ll find the Village Shops! A small locale, the Village Shops are a group of small specialty stores where you can buy any number of fun souvenirs. It’s advised, if you have a small dog, to bring a doggy stroller along so your pup won’t have any problem gaining entry to most of the stores, aside from Simply Animals, a pet store where leashes suffice.
In southwest Gatlinburg, you’ll find the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is home to many trails, though it is worth noting that most do not allow you to bring your furry friend. Just the same, leashed dogs are welcome on the Gatlinburg Trail as well as the Oconaluftee River Trail and the campgrounds. Pack a lunch and bring your pup for a picnic at one of the tables available. Be prepared to pick up after your pooch, and keep them on a leash at all times. You’ll have plenty to do in spite of the park's restrictions.
While in Gatlinburg, make your way towards the western area of the city, and discover the Gatlinburg Sky Lift. As the name implies, the Gatlinburg Sky Lift takes you to the top of the mountain in one of their lift cars -- best of all, you’re allowed to bring your doggy along! Keep a close eye on your pup, and you can enjoy the scenery with your best pal as you make your way higher and higher into the sky. You’ll need to keep your pup secured, but the sights you’ll see on this adventure can’t be beat by a long shot!
If you and your daredevil doggy are the type who love a good adventure, your precious pup will thank you for bringing them to Waterrock Knob Trail, located in the Blue Ridge Parkway. In this stunning location, you’ll find a hiking trail a little over a mile long that will certainly test you and your canine companion's endurance. Scale inclines, make your way over or around large rocks, and strike a trail to the lookout point at the very tip-top. Be sure to bring water for you and Fido, and be prepared for a fun path ahead!
Last but certainly not least on your doggy to-do list is making a trip to East Franklin, back in North Carolina. Here, you’ll find a beautiful dog park with all the amenities one could ask for. Big Bear at Little Tennessee River Parkway is almost beyond words. With a long, paved sidewalk along the river for you to walk your leashed dog, you’ll have a place to stretch your legs before letting your pup run dog wild in the designated dog park area. It's separated into two sections for large and small dogs; just be sure to bring plenty of water and doggy waste bags.
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