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Outdoor Events

Ingles Open Road travels to Cataloochee Valley in Great Smokey Mountains National Park

The following content is produced by Ingles Markets.

I’m Chris Bainbridge… and I love the Carolinas. This is an amazing place to find adventure in all shapes and sizes – even in our changing world. Ingles has sent me on a mission to bring you the very best of what our beautiful home has to offer – food, fun, nature music, and more… all affordable, and all out of the ordinary. This is The Ingles Open Road.

There are few things that I love more than exploring our beautiful national parks. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1926. Almost a hundred years later it’s the most visited in all of the national parks system. And today, we’re visiting one of its very special places.

Cataloochee Valley is nestled among some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States. Home to one of North Carolina’s elk herds, and surrounded by 6000-foot peaks, this isolated valley was one of the largest and most prosperous settlements in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Some 1,200 people lived in this lovely mountain valley in 1910. Most made their living by farming, but an early tourism industry developed in Cataloochee with some families boarding fishermen and other tourists who wished to vacation in the mountains.

Their homes, barns, and churches can still be found here today. Palmer Chapel Methodist Church was built in 1898. Its simple beauty is serene… a place made for reflection and meditation.

And like many of the buildings here in Cataloochee it’s fully accessible. Walking through these historic structures is both quiet and exciting.

There’s the Beech Grove School…the beautiful Caldwell House…and several more buildings to explore.

And the historic man-made beauty found here settles right into the majestic mountain wilderness.

Living in the South means that even in the middle of winter getting out into nature is not only accessible… it’s downright comfortable. Even on a cool, crisp day a few layers and an active walk in the woods keeps you plenty warm as you take in this gorgeous mountain setting.

Part of the appeal of Cataloochee is that it’s a world away. So, make sure and bring your snacks from Ingles and plenty of water. And be a good visitor and leave no trace. The National Parks are one of our greatest treasures as a country. And they belong to all of us. Make sure and get out and experience them.

You can learn more and plan your visit to Cataloochee at NPS.gov. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Put your feet on a trail this winter. And explore the beauty of nature. Your weekend is waiting… on the Ingles Open Road.

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