One of the biggest reasons people visit Maggie Valley and the surrounding Haywood County – is Elk watching! As the happy home of Cataloochee Valley, a far-corner section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the origin of the reintroduced elk herd, Haywood County welcomes plenty of elk-watching fans every year hoping to get a glimpse of these awesome creatures. The elk of Cataloochee Valley roam free in the valley without cages or fences, so it is always a good idea to get familiar withthe rules and regulations of wildlife viewing. But with a little lesson on the elk and how to best enjoy their beauty, you’ll be all set for an incredible adventure.
Directions to Cataloochee Valley from Maggie Valley
From Maggie Valley, take US 19 (Soco Road) east toward Waynesville. Turn left onto US 276 North (Jonathan Creek Road) Go about six miles and turn left onto Cove Creek Road, the last left turn before coming to I-40 intersection. When the road forks, keep right. Cove Creek is a steep, ten-mile, narrow, curving mountain road. There is a three-mile paved section leading up and over Cove Creek Gap, and then winding down the other side of the mountain. When you again reach pavement, turn left and enjoy your easy descent into the valley. The road can be treacherous after heavy rains or with snow. Click on the icon below for Google map directions.