Elk in Cherokee
Weighing up to 1,000 pounds and growing up to 10 feet tall, the once nearly extinct elk are now thriving in the Great Smokies.
The elk in Cherokee are truly a magnificent sight to behold. Elk can commonly be seen grazing the fields surrounding the Oconoluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee during the day in the spring. In the summer, early evening is best for viewing. The National Park Service began reintroducing elk to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in 2000. The population is now thriving and the Great Smokies remains a favorite home for these animals. Note: Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces elk, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Do not enter fields to view elk—remain by the roadside and use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.
Photo Courtesy of EBCI Destination Marketing.