Murphy’s River Walk Offers Riverfront Views and Relaxation

fd3c9b017b902d574fbfb61a3a9c9b99There’s nothing quite like traveling the Murphy River Walk. Whether you’re embarking on a morning wakeup jaunt, shaking off the stress from your workday, or helping your canine companion to burn off some steam, you’re almost guaranteed to enjoy the trip.

This three-mile walking trail is located smack in the middle of Murphy, NC, and meanders from Konehete Park all the way to the historic L&N Depot. Along the route, you’ll see lots of native plants, and maybe a few birds and fish. You might even encounter your friends, neighbors, or coworkers. In other words, you never know who (or what) you’ll find along the River Walk.

Explore the River Walk by Land and Water
The Murphy River Walk came on the scene in 2003, with organizers launching the first of several trail sections. In 2016, the now-completed trail follows the Valley and Hiwassee Rivers as they converge into part of Lake Hiwassee. With three convenient trailheads, you can pick up the walkway at one of several in-town locations. Choose Konehete Park’s ball fields or the nearby Pool/Wellness Center, the Cherokee County Health Department on Hilton Street, or the L&N Depot at the river bridge.

If you’d rather travel the trail by water, you’ll find canoe and kayak put-ins on nearby Payne Street, along with Hiwassee Street just past the River Walk trail. In fact, paddling the river route completely changes your perspective, so we recommend trying it at least once.

Enjoy the River Walk’s Many Surprises
As you might expect, the River Walk’s scenery includes native trees, shrubs, and plants that you’d see throughout Cherokee County. As seasons change, so do the trail’s colors, eventually giving way to winter’s browns and grays. The river and lake water levels also vary with the seasons, as the Tennessee Valley Authority (or TVA) manages its power generation and recreation priorities.

Besides the naturally occurring greenery, the Murphy River Walk offers visitors a few more pleasant surprises. For example, you’ll see native landscaping courtesy of a local nursery, plus directional signs crafted of reclaimed cedar from a tree lost in Murphy’s 2012 tornado.

In 2015, River Walk fans cheered the addition of an outdoor performance pavilion behind the L&N Depot and Old Hackney Warehouse. Also during 2015, the TVA completed a sturdy covered bridge connecting the main trail with the Fisherman’s Loop. After the bridge was finished, the River Walk’s many volunteers stepped in to maintain it.

The Secret of the River Walk’s Success
Believe it or not, the Murphy River Walk is the result of a wildly successful public/private partnership. Managed by the non-profit Heritage Partners, the River Walk gets ongoing support from the Town of Murphy, Cherokee County Tourism Development Authority, the TVA, several non-profit and educational groups, and many private contributors.

Of course, the River Walk’s volunteer project managers and onsite volunteers keep the effort running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, don’t be surprised to encounter a trail maintenance crew somewhere along the route, during any time of year. Thanks to these energetic folks, and the River Walk’s many supporters, getting “back to nature” in Murphy, NC just got a whole lot easier.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

October Festivals Showcase Our Mountains at Their Best

12144917_10204943336533151_2109561467051670827_nOur mountains’ gorgeous fall weather and colorful leaves make a picture-perfect setting for outdoor get-togethers. Throughout our tri-state region, community groups of all stripes have cooked up their own fall-themed festivals throughout the month of October. In fact, you’ll find several of these popular events just a stone’s throw from Murphy, NC. So pile your family into the car and head out for some classic October weekend fun.

Folk School Fall Festival: October 1 and 2
The John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival is the granddaddy of all fall celebrations, marking its 42nd anniversary in 2016. Always held on the first weekend in October, this year’s Fall Festival takes place on October 1 and 2 from 10-5. To get there, take a short ride to the school’s Brasstown, North Carolina campus, and find a parking spot in the gently rolling pasture near the school’s entrance.

Inside the Fall Festival, you’ll find over 240 fine craftspeople who have created enticing items for you to purchase. Think colorful woven scarves, handcrafted goat’s milk soaps, and recycled metal yard art, for starters. Many vendors are located along the school’s tree-lined paths, while others set up shop in nearby buildings.

For a change of pace, watch more than 40 artisans showcase traditional and contemporary crafts, including blacksmithing and quilting. Listen to the full range of live music on two stages, and satisfy your taste buds with sandwiches, snacks, and desserts. Kids will head toward the pony rides and alpaca petting zoo, and the entire family will enjoy the Humane Society’s pet adoption booth. In other words, the Fall Festival has something for everybody.

Oktoberfest in Andrews: October 8
If you’ve never visited Andrews, North Carolina, the town’s first Oktoberfest provides the perfect reason to check out this little mountain town. Located just a few minutes’ drive from Murphy along the four-lane (also known as US Highway 19/74), Andrews is smack in the middle of the most gorgeous mountain scenery around.

This year, Andrews is throwing its first Oktoberfest, set for Saturday October 8 from 2-8 p.m. in Hall Park on First Street. Andrews’ Oktoberfest is sponsored by three notable town businesses that specialize in fine libations. The Andrews Brewing Co., Calaboose Cellars, and Hoppy Trout Brewing Company have banded together to offer this appealing event.

As you might expect, the Oktoberfest offers lots of tasty food, along with beer and wine on tap. As you listen to live music, browse local crafters’ tables while keeping your holiday gift list in mind. Chances are, you’ll enjoy yourself so much that Andrews’ Oktoberfest will be on your “must do” list for next year.

Punkin Chunkin Weekend: October 14-16
If you’ve never been to a Punkin Chunkin, you’re in for an experience you won’t forget. This landmark fall event, sponsored by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, is spread throughout an entire weekend. The festivities are set in and around Hayesville, North Carolina, not far from Murphy.

The fun begins on Friday October 14 at 6:00 p.m., when the “Anything Pumpkin or Chili Cooking Contest” gets underway on Hayesville’s historic town square. Contestants can submit entries in categories such as appetizers, entrees, soups and stews, sweets, breads, sauces, and beverages. Chances are, you can snag some samples before casting your vote for the winning recipes.

Of course, you don’t want to miss the actual Punkin Chunkin, which takes place on October 15 and 16. To attend this iconic competition, head out to the Payne property on Settawig Road in nearby Brasstown. The grounds are open on Saturday from 10 to 6 and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Plenty of parking is available.

Once you get there, enjoy live music and games, and browse the craft vendors and exhibits. If you’re feeling adventurous, take on the rock climbing wall, zip line, or mechanical bull. To get a bird’s eye view of the festivities, take an airplane ride from the onsite flying field.

Finally, the famous Punkin Chunkin gets underway, with the first heats on Saturday and the final rounds on Sunday. Teams compete in the youth, teen, and adult categories. The highly energetic contestants hurl pumpkins for maximum distance, with coveted bragging rights for the winners.

As a spectator (watching from a safe distance), you might see pumpkins propelled by catapults, torsion catapults, trebuchets, compressed air devices, or human-powered launchers. As you might expect, the rules are rather loose: The pumpkin must stay intact until it slams on the ground, and combustibles are completely off limits. When the competition concludes, and the winners receive their awards, you can head back to Murphy, NC to compare notes over a tasty meal.

So, what are you waiting for? Put one (or all) of these enticing seasonal events on your calendar, and get ready to enjoy our beautiful North Carolina mountains in their fall finery. We might see you out there!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Our Mountains Provide a Great Backdrop for World-Class Motorcycle Touring

54cb169ef423b_-_dragon-tail-01-0713-deOur mountains’ spectacular scenery offers more than just a great background for pictures. In fact, motorcycle riders have discovered that our region’s twisting mountain roads, lined by green forests and occasional waterfalls, make terrific touring territory. From spring through fall, you’ll see a steady flow of motorcyclists powering through Murphy, NC on their way to higher-elevation destinations. Two of these attractions have achieved legendary status, with riders often roaring in from other states to experience the once-in-a-lifetime rides.

Cherohala Skyway
This 41-mile-long scenic highway winds though the Nantahala National Forest and Cherokee National Forest. You’ll begin the memorable climb in Robbinsville, North Carolina, trekking up and over 18 miles of 5,400-foot-high peaks. Next, you’ll travel downward for 23 miles, passing through thickly forested Tennessee mountains before arriving in Tellico Plains, where you can get some gas and fortify your stomach. During the ride, take time to pull over and enjoy the spectacular views. The landscape’s spring greens and fall colors are especially photo-worthy.

Before you tackle the Cherohala Skyway, however, be forewarned: Except for a couple of restrooms, you won’t find any facilities along the route, so plan accordingly. Even during the summer, the high-elevation air can be chilly, so dress in layers to keep yourself comfortable. Finally, stay off the Cherohala Skyway during the winter, as you could suddenly encounter snow and/or ice that can create life-threatening conditions.

Tail of the Dragon (Deal’s Gap)
Believe it or not, we’ve got the United States’ Number 1 motorcycle road right in our backyard. With 318 curves in 11 miles, the Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap is the stuff of motorcycle legend – and it’s all true.

Officially designated US 129, this high-octane stretch of road begins in North Carolina, adjacent to Cheoh Dam (or Fugitive Dam from The Fugitive movie). Bordered by the Cherokee National Forest and the Great Smoky Mountains, this remote region contains multiple 5,000-foot-high peaks. Even more impressive, 16 mountains are over 6,000 feet high. In other words, living (and riding) here has many built-in challenges.

During the ride, you won’t find any intersecting roads, businesses, or homes with driveways. Instead, you’ll encounter curves – lots and lots of curves. Each curve is different, and some are actually banked like a race track. You’ll also find super-tight turns, switchbacks, and dramatic drop-offs – one after another. Taken as a whole, this road resembles the tail of a rather agitated dragon – hence the name. Fortunately, the road is generally in good shape, as maintaining this well-known tourist attraction has become a high priority. When you finally escape the dragon’s tail at Tennessee’s Tabcat Creek Bridge, you’ll be ready for a cold drink and some lunch.

Of course, every road contains a few extra surprises for those who travel it. First, you might encounter deer, turkeys, bears, and even wild boars at any time. Fallen trees can also present a serious danger. Although North Carolina and Tennessee have banned 18-wheelers from this hazardous road, you could meet one on a curve – driving in your lane. Finally, stay off the Tail of the Dragon in winter, as it’s highly unpredictable and not worth the risk.

Cherokee County Loop
For a 50-mile round trip that’s entirely within Cherokee County, head out of Murphy, NC on Joe Brown Highway. As you cruise through scenic forests and lowlands, you’ll pass the Hanging Dog, Unaka, and Hiwassee Dam communities. You’ll also travel along beautiful Hiwassee Lake, eventually arriving at the TVA’s impressive Hiwassee Dam. Take time to relax and soak up the view. Then, hop back on your bike and return to downtown Murphy.

Get Yourself Home Safe and Sound
To increase the chances of getting yourself home in one piece, leave the daredevil tricks at home (especially on the Tail of the Dragon). Don’t attempt to ride beyond your skill level, and keep a sharp lookout for road hazards and other drivers’ antics. In other words, be ready for anything. Finally, wear heavy-duty protective gear (including a full-face helmet), just to stack the odds in your favor.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

We Couldn’t Be Happier!

We used ReMax in Florida, and we found out about The Poltrock Team when we passed by their office. We are very pleased with John and his staff. Our cabin was sold within the first week! We live in Florida, and John took care of everything for us. We couldn’t be happier! It was a great experience working with you, and we would absolutely work with The Poltrock Team again.

–Dale Rushing

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com– Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

 

 

I would absolutely work with The Poltrock Team again

I received a referral to The Poltrock Team, and I decided to work with them because they came highly recommended. Donna could not have been nicer and more accommodating. She is excellent at her job. It was most helpful to receive introductions to local craftsmen for future projects. I would absolutely work with The Poltrock Team again.

— Terry A. Yanez

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com– Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Friendly and Helpful!

We were familiar with ReMax, and found out about The Poltrock Team through the Internet. The whole team was friendly and helpful. Wayne Cofer helped us with everything from showing through closing. Throughout the transaction, we had the feeling that we could trust Wayne and the people he helped us utilize to make our long-distance closing work smoothly.

–Tom & Patty Gogoel

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com– Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

I Highly Recommend The Poltrock Team

We purchased our home using The Poltrock Team, as they were the listing agent as well. John was always there to ensure our questions were answered, and he was always very positive and encouraging whenever we came upon obstacles. John’s ability to listen to our wants and needs helped us to find the right house when we were buyers. His knowledge of the real estate market helped us sell our home when we were sellers.

I highly recommend John Poltrock and The Poltrock Team for any real estate need you may have. He is genuine and honest, and his dedication to serving his clients is second to none. If given the opportunity, we will certainly use John and The Poltrock Team again for any of our Western North Carolina real estate needs. They do a great job taking care of their customers, and their customers become long-time friends. Thank you, John, for all you do!

–Steven Gardner

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.iLoveMurphy.com– Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Canopy Tours Give You a Bird’s Eye View of the Mountains

nanty-zip-photo-400x250If you’ve ever wanted to escape the clutches of gravity, and rocket through the trees like a hungry hawk chasing his dinner, consider taking a “canopy tour” through a nearby mountain forest. Provided through specially equipped outfitters, this adrenaline-fueled experience begins when you climb to the top of a high platform. Next, a trained “tour guide” securely harnesses you to a long steel cable (or zipline) that’s strung between a series of trees.

After pushing off the platform, you’ll cruise through the forest canopy far above the ground, and arrive at the next platform for a repeat performance. Whether you fly over the forest floor, sweep along a river, or get a panoramic view of the mountains, it’s an experience you won’t forget. Fortunately, you can find some top-notch canopy tours within easy driving distance of Murphy, NC. So choose an enticing tour, pile your family or friends into the car, and get ready to enjoy some quality air time!

RIDGE RUNNER ZIPLINES
750 Wakefield Road, Andrews, NC. 828-421-8119.

RidgeRunner Ziplines is located right in Cherokee County, with its Andrews basecamp just minutes away from downtown Murphy and the Nantahala Gorge. RidgeRunner offers eleven ziplines and a suspension bridge, with some sections 80 feet above the forest floor.

You’ll begin your two-hour tour at the top of a scenic mountain. Two capable guides will harness you up and provide a helmet and leather gloves. Next, you’ll get some “ground school” basics, giving you the confidence to safely operate the ziplines. Note that each time you reach a new platform, the guides will make all your trolley and safety line connections.

Finally, you’ll push away from the platform and fly through the forest. While you’ll travel at a good clip, you’ll be in a great position to enjoy many sights and sounds you can’t see from the ground. When your zipline adventure ends, you’ll be back at RidgeRunner’s basecamp – giving you the perfect opportunity to swap stories over lunch or dinner in nearby Andrews.

NANTAHALA GORGE CANOPY TOURS AND KID ZIP!
Located at Wildwater Nantahala, 10345 Highway 19 South/74 West, Bryson City, NC. Reservations: 866-319-8870.
Local: 828-488-2384.

Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours and KidZip! are affiliated with the adjacent Wildwater Nantahala rafting operation. This Nantahala River Gorge complex, located in nearby Swain County, also includes lodgings for families and groups.

Adult Zipline Canopy Tour
The 20-acre adult zipline course features 13 ziplines (including 4 side-by-side ziplines) and eight aerial bridges.
Your three-hour tour begins with “ground school,” where you’ll learn about zipline travel and get comfortable with some easier ziplines. Next, you’ll jump right into the canopy tour, traversing high platforms and getting up close and personal with sky-high trees.

While cruising through the course, you’ll enjoy views of waterfalls, gorgeous Fontana Lake, and even Clingman’s Dome in the distance. If visibility permits, you might be rewarded with a 50-mile mountain view.

KidZip!
If your family includes children from 4-12 years old, and they’re chafing at the bit for their own zipline adventure, KidZip! can treat them to a super-fun two-hour experience. They’ll begin with their own “ground school” session, and then tackle 13 zipline sections targeted to different skill levels. A continuous cable-and-roller system means no clipping and unclipping, allowing the kids to soak up the action with minimal interruptions.

The KidZip! Course includes several tree-based platforms, along with eight climbing challenges, giving your young adventurers a run for their money. In fact, if they really race through the course, they can tackle it again and again within the two hours.

Depending on your child’s age, you might be required to accompany them on the course or serve as a course-side chaperone. Check the KidZip! website for details.

OCOEE ZIPZ
1985 Highway 64, Old Copper Road, Benton, TN. Reservations: 1-877-7ZIP ZIP (1-877-794-7947).

If the Land of Oz sounds like a good zipline destination, Ocoee Zipz will be glad to take you there. Located on 40 acres along the scenic Ocoee River in east Tennessee, this seven-zipline operation offers two hours of Wizard of Oz-themed fun.

Each Oz-friendly zipline highlights one of the major characters in the famous movie. Ocoee Zipz’s certified Flying Monkey Guides will lead your adventure, giving you the basics of zipline safety and brake training before you take to the skies.

Ocoee Zipz offers Land of Oz tours on weekends all year ’round, with private tours available on weekdays. Make your reservations on the Ocoee Zipz website.

Dressing for Your Canopy/Zipline Tour
Although each canopy tour company has its own guidelines, follow these general tips for maximum safety and comfort. First, while zipping through the canopy will be highly addictive fun, you’ll wreck your feet by braking with sandals or flip-flops. So, closed-toe shoes are highly recommended and might be mandatory.

Next, long pants or longer shorts, plus a collared shirt, will help prevent potential chafing problems from your harness and seat. If you have long hair, tie it back so it won’t tangle in the zipline gear. And leave your mobile phones in the car.

Why Good Physical Conditioning Matters
Your canopy/zipline tour will involve considerable air time, but you’ll also be expected to complete short hikes and/or stair climbs between platforms. To minimize your risks, and increase your enjoyment of the trip, you should be in reasonably good physical shape. Also, remember that your weight will affect your momentum along the ziplines. Finally, check your tour operator’s regulations about riding with existing injuries, or attempting the trip while pregnant.

Avoiding That “Lost in the Mountains” Look
When driving to your canopy/zipline tour destination, remember that some Internet mapping and/or vehicle GPS systems get their signals scrambled in our rural locations. To lessen the chances of getting completely lost, bring along a printout of the operator’s directions to the site.

After finishing your high-energy canopy tour, swap stories and photos over a tasty meal in downtown Murphy, NC. Then, make plans for a return trip while the thrill is fresh in your mind.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Mountain Biking Trails Offer Workouts with a “Wow” Factor

Tsali TrailsIf you’re a dedicated off-road bicycling fan, and you’re looking for scenic new spots to explore, load up your mountain bike and head to our western North Carolina mountains. If you’re already here, get ready to ride, because you’ve got three mountain biking hotspots not far from Murphy, NC.

Whether you’re an experienced mountain biker looking for new challenges, or are just dipping your toes into this addictive sport, you’ll find trails that match your skill level. Even better, most mountain biking trails include rest stops equipped with restrooms and picnic areas. So grab your bike and gear, and get ready to soak up some gorgeous views while you enjoy an energetic workout.

Cherokee County: Hanging Dog Recreation Area
Just five miles from downtown Murphy, you’ll find Hanging Dog Recreation Area, which borders beautiful Hiwassee Lake. This nearby destination is popular with day trippers and overnight campers, and also offers several mountain biking trails.

If you’ve racked up some previous mountain biking time, try the moderately difficult Ramsey Bluff Mountain Biking System. You’ll wind through eight miles of challenging trails, pedaling yourself silly while you burn some serious calories. On the plus side, you’ll be rewarded with enticing lake views.

Directions: From Murphy, drive roughly five miles on State Road (SR) 1326. Turn left onto SR 1447, and continue for about a mile. You’ll find parking and recreation facilities at the end of this road.

Graham County: Tsali Recreation Area
Mountain bikers nationwide flock to this well-known recreation area, named for a Cherokee Indian who once called this region home. Located in the Nantahala National Forest near Robbinsville, Tsali offers four moderately difficult mountain biking trails ranging from 4 to nearly 14 miles in length. Trails are open all year ’round, and the parking area is adjacent to restrooms.

Tsali’s single-track trails are hard packed from regular use, and they’re known for providing a fast, adrenaline-fueled ride. Depending on your chosen route, you might enjoy views of beautiful Fontana Lake or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during your trip. However, you shouldn’t encounter horses, as the narrow trails cater to mountain bikers and horseback riders on different days of the week.

Directions: From Robbinsville, drive east on State Highway 143 until you reach the Highway 28 junction. Turn right at the stop sign, and go south on Highway 28 for about 8.4 miles. The Tsali Recreation Area entrance will be on the north side (left) of the road, and has good signage. About 1.5 miles from the entrance, you’ll see a parking area, with a short walk to several trailheads.

Clay County: Jackrabbit Mountain Trails
At the other end of Nantahala National Forest, near Hayesville,  you’ll find Jackrabbit Mountain campground. In 2011, mountain biking fans celebrated the opening of the 14-mile Jackrabbit mountain biking trail network, located a stone’s throw from the campground facilities.

Built expressly for mountain biking, the Jackrabbit trails collectively form a “stacked loop” configuration. The mostly fast trails wind along Lake Chatuge’s shores, and you’ll also travel your share of rolling hills. You’ll find easy trails catering to beginning riders and kids, while advanced mountain bikers will enjoy challenging climbs and rock features. However, you won’t have to contend with horses, as Jackrabbit’s trails are off limits to equine users.

Because Jackrabbit’s trails are located at a lower elevation with more sun exposure, you might work up a sweat during your warm-season rides. Pack plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. After you finish the trip, rejuvenate yourself at the trailhead’s picnic tables, and take advantage of the basic restroom facilities.

Directions: Start your trip in Murphy at the US Highway 19/74/129 intersection with US Highway 64 East (the new 64 Bypass). Travel US Highway 64 East for 18.9 miles. After you pass Hayesville, turn right on NC Highway 175 South.

Drive 0.9 miles, and turn right to stay on NC Highway 175, crossing a long one-lane concrete bridge over part of Lake Chatuge. Go 2.5 miles, and turn right onto Jack Rabbit Road. Drive 250 feet, and bear left to stay on Jack Rabbit Road. Look for the signed parking area on the left. You’ll also see the campground straight ahead, at the end of Jack Rabbit Road.

Learn More About These Mountain Biking Hotspots
For more details on these mountain biking destinations, plus other western North Carolina mountain biking hotspots, check out the United States Forest Service website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/nfsnc/recreation/bicycling/?recid=48112&actid=24.

With three enticing places to take your mountain bike, your biggest decision is which one to choose first. And after you conquer that challenge, travel back to Murphy, NC and swap stories and photos over a tasty dinner. Chances are, you’ll begin planning your next bike ride before you’re finished with dessert!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

Hit Our Miles of Beautiful Mountain Trails on Horseback

Carters-Mountain-viewHorseback riding is probably one of the best “two-fer” experiences around. First, you get outside in our gorgeous corner of the world, poking around wooded trails and soaking up our mountain air. At the same time, you get friendly with your horse, whether you’re on a two-hour trail ride or you’re meandering along with your own equine buddy. If you’re itching to saddle up and ride, we’ve got a riding stable in Cherokee County, just a few miles from Murphy, NC. You’ll find two more horseback riding operations within easy driving distance.

Horseshoe Creek Riding Stables, 1386 Stewart Road, Andrews, NC. 828-321-2376. This multi-purpose riding facility operates seven days a week. Enjoy guided trail rides ranging from one to five hours in length, visiting familiar destinations including Tatham Gap and the Trail of Tears. For maximum enjoyment, bring a picnic lunch and camera.

For a different type of riding adventure, take a covered wagon tour on several of the same area trails. Schedule a private or group ride, with a 10-person maximum (8 in the wagon and 2 on horses). Please note: For both activities, helmets are required for children 18 and younger, and are available for adult riders.

Finally, Horseshoe Creek offers basic riding and horse care lessons, along with horse training. And by booking a riding adventure here, you’ll support the stables’ admirable horse rescue efforts. For more than 50 years, the facility has given down-on-their-luck horses a new lease on life, making them a valued part of the local equine community.

Chunky Gal Stables, 1306 Hot House Road, Hayesville, NC. 828-389-4175.
Over in nearby Clay County (Hayesville, to be exact), you’ll find Chunky Gal Stables, named for adjacent Chunky Gal Mountain from an old Cherokee Indian story.

Open seven days a week, this full-service riding facility offers one- to four-hour guided trail rides through the Nantahala National Forest. Whether you’re an experienced rider, or this is your first time on a horse, they’re happy to accommodate your needs. Children are also welcome, but please mention the kids’ ages when making your reservations. Double riding (for parent and younger child) is allowed. And yes, reservations are strongly recommended.

Maybe you’ve been bitten by the riding bug, and you’d enjoy some in-depth lessons. Chunky Gal Stables offers Western-style riding lessons for individuals and groups of all experience levels. Finally, if your own horse needs some training, these helpful folks also provide that service.

A Step Above Stables, 696 Mauney Circle, Blairsville, GA. 706-745-9051.
Finally, head over to A Step Above Stables in Blairsville, Georgia, about a half-hour from Murphy, NC. These full-service stables operate year-round, and design guided one- to two-hour trail rides for riders of all levels. Even better, this facility specializes in horses for beginning riders, which most likely will increase your comfort level.

If you’re lucky enough to have your own horse, A Step Above Stables also offers first-class boarding facilities. They’ll provide a tailored feeding program for your younger horse to your equine senior citizen, and have an on-site farrier and trainer. In other words, your horse will live in the lap of luxury.

Now that you’re ready to hit the trails, here are several tips on dressing for the occasion. First, wear comfortable clothes so you can enjoy the ride. Long pants will keep your legs from getting scratched up when you ride through the brush, and closed-toe shoes offer protection for your feet. Finally, because our weather can be unpredictable, prepare yourself for cool, warm, or wet conditions. So, now that you’ve gotten the details ironed out, saddle up and get yourself on the trails!

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team