Cocke County, Ten­nessee

Dis­cover the ad­ven­tur­ous side of the Great Smoky Moun­tains.

Country - - FRESH AIR - The mis­sion in Cather­ine Mar­shall’s “Christy” nov­els was in­spired by one near Del Rio in Cocke County, Ten­nessee.

(Pi­geon, French Broad and Nolichucky), a na­tional park (Great Smoky Moun­tains), a na­tional for­est (Chero­kee) and a state for­est (Martha Sundquist), Cocke County, Ten­nessee, is a par­adise for peo­ple who love all things out­doors.

Raft­ing is big here—there are about 11 raft­ing out­posts with trips rang­ing from mild to wild. Most of the ac­tion takes place on the white wa­ter of the up­per Pi­geon River. If you’d like a smoother ride, a calmer route awaits you on the lower Pi­geon River.

Horse­back rid­ing is another fa­vorite pas­time. Cocke County is home to the French Broad River Out­post Ranch— one of the few dude ranches in the East. The place is se­cluded (it sits on 346 acres in the Smoky Moun­tains), and the main build­ing looks like a saloon from the 1880s. Vis­i­tors can choose from five rid­ing trails through the ranch and the moun­tains. In ad­di­tion to horse­back rid­ing, the ranch gives fam­i­lies a chance


to get away from tech—there are no

TVs in the rooms and cell­phones won’t work here. It’s a great time to bond through old-fash­ioned game nights and ranch ac­tiv­i­ties such as square danc­ing.

For bird­ers, Rankin Bot­toms of­fers ex­cel­lent bird­ing through­out the year. In sum­mer and fall you’ll spot great blue herons, dou­ble-crested cor­morants, some killdeer and other shore­birds, and long-legged waders. In win­ter, ducks and geese take to the wa­ters, and in spring, large num­bers of song­birds fill the air with their melodies.

By wa­ter or by land, on the back of a horse or be­hind binoc­u­lars, there’s so much nat­u­ral beauty to ex­plore in Cocke County, Ten­nessee.

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