Cataloochee Valley, lies within the Great Smoky Mountain National Park on the North Carolina side of the mountains. Like its sister community of Cades Cove on the Tennessee side, it was once part of the Cherokee lands, a Cherokee hunting grounds and later, during the 1800s an early settlement for European Settlers. This valley was excellent for free-ranging livestock such as sheep, cattle and hogs. Game was also plentiful and many made a living hunting deer, elk, bear, panther and wolves. Just as in Cades Cove, there are several buildings left from the community that was there when the land was taken for the National Park. Remaining are five houses, two churches, a school house and a barn all built between 1850 and 1905.

In February 2001 the National Park Service and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation released 25 elk into this valley. Elk had been eliminated by overhunting and a loss of habitat. Today the herd numbers approximately 100 and is a common site in the spring and the fall.

NOTE: The only way in and out of Cataloochee Valley is by dirt road. This is not recommended for people without experience in riding dirt roads, and definitely not for beginners.

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