Rustic Log Cabins Set in Majestic Mountainside
At Hidden Creek Cabins, tucked into the Great Smoky Mountains, the crackle of campfires and hearty laughter often punctuate quiet nights. It’s appropriate, then, that a carved wooden sign on the porch of a rustic log cottage reads, “Here Let the Fires of Friendship Burn.” Other thoughtful accents—from hand-stitched quilts to decorative cast-iron cookware—are sprinkled throughout these homey accommodations. With Hidden Creek as your home base, you have easy access to a number of mountain attractions—ride through “The Dragon” scenic route near Deals Gap or go hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (an entrance is just 15 miles away).
Forest views and all-wood furnishings are featured in each cabin, but locations vary—some of the cabins are up on hilltops and have views of the Great Smoky Mountains, and some are set next to a creek. There’s a roomy hot tub on the deck at Maggie’s Cabin. Pop’s Cottage has a gas grill, and you can take to a hammock or swinging love seat to watch the sun dip behind the Smokies. Skytop Cabin overlooks an indigo ridge line and thousands of acres of protected forest. On the patio, you’ll find rocking chairs, a charcoal grill, and a hot tub; high-backed adirondack chairs surround a campfire site below.
The property’s larger units include the newly renovated A-Frame Chalet, which offers three bedrooms and views of Hidden Creek. The five-bedroom Redwood Lodge features a wood-burning fireplace, an outdoor hot tub, and more than enough room to spread out.
Bryson City, North Carolina: Small-Town Charm amid Great Smoky Mountains
Tucked into North Carolina’s southwest corner, the small town of Bryson City sits amid the woodsy slopes of the Smoky Mountains. The Tuckasegee River flows right through town, creating picturesque waterfalls and fishing holes teeming with rainbow and brook trout. On clear days, head a few miles north to catch a 360-degree view of the entire range from the 6,500-foot Clingmans Dome, the highest point of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can also tour the rugged wilderness by train—the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad runs year-round excursions in restored, historic railroad cars that depart from Bryson City.
In winter, the Cataloochee Ski Area opens 17 trails and slopes on its challenging downhill course. Once all the snow thaws, whitewater rafting and kayaking become popular attractions at nearby Nantahala Gorge. All the while, downtown Bryson City charms visitors with antique shops, handcrafted pottery, and housemade chocolates.