Keeping it Cool

The sun is hot, but the mountains are cool! With many students in Cullowhee for the summer, some for the first time, many are probably wondering: What is there to do out here? There are many places to go and lots of things to do in the Great Smoky Mountains year round. The summer is the prime time to be in the mountains. So grab your sunglasses, sun screen and let’s get started! When the days get hot, take a dip in a nice cool river or lake. Wolf Lake is only 45 minutes away from campus. There are rock cliffs to jump off into the lake, or you can just swim if you like. Wolf Lake is off of Hwy 281. Paradise Falls are also a very popular spot, as they are off of Hwy 281 as well. Fishing is also very popular as there are rivers and lakes everywhere. You must obtain a fishing license before you can fish. Fishing licenses can be obtained at Wal-Mart for a maximum of $20. The Blue Ridge Parkway is always a good place to go on a nice day. Located on Hwy 23/74 just before Waynesville it is only a 20 minute drive. Along with the scenic overlooks are marked trails. One of the more popular in the area is Water Rock Knob. Once you get on the parkway, take a right and go toward the Great Smokey Mountains. About 7 miles up, Water Rock Knob is a pull-off on the right. It is about a 15 minute hike to the top. The hike is a bit rocky. If you are willing to make the drive, Pisgah is a beautiful area as well. Places like Coontree allow you to rope swing into the river. There are waterfalls all through Pisgah, and because it is a National Park, many of the places are well marked. Sliding Rock is another place in Pisgah that is very popular among students. There is now a small fee for parking. “Unto These Hills” is currently being shown in Cherokee. This play is shown nightly, except for Sundays thru late August. While in the Oconaluftee Village for $13 you can take the guided tour of the village. On rainy days, there are still plenty of things to do. There are a plethora of antique shops and little mountain country stores everywhere. Cashiers has quite a selection of stores and one of a kind restaurants. Just take Hwy 107 South until you get to the intersection of Hwy 64. Used bookstores and antique shops are everywhere. If you are really in the mood to shop in the country, take Hwy 64 toward Brevard, and there are vendors on the side of the mountain. The next time you are bored in the valley with nothing to do, grab a friend and head out to the mountains. There are lots of things to do!