Run 1: Oconaluftee Visitor Center
The Oconaluftee Visitor Center is located in the southeastern region of the park 2 miles north of Cherokee, North Carolina. It’s a great place to start your adventure because you can pick up a map of the trails for $1 (it’s more detailed than the free version) and fill up on water.
You can even get your first run under your belt from the Visitor Center parking lot. To do so, head down to the river and follow the narrow gravel path that is the Oconaluftee River Trail. It’ll take you past some of the historic buildings on site and then, for the next 1.5 miles, follow alongside the river as you make your way toward Mingus Mill. Out and back is about 3 miles with lots of wide open area for you to cool down.
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