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Historic Cataloochee Valley, Smoky Mountain Elk & More

Dates: August 19, 2023

Meets: Sa from 2:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Location: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Registration Fee: $69.00


Join naturalist Esther Blakely on a guided eco-tour to one of the best-kept secrets in Great Smoky Mountains National Park--Cataloochee Valley! Be prepared to travel back in time to one of the most beautiful and remote parts of the national park over the rugged, winding mountain road once called the "Cataloochee Turnpike." Cataloochee Valley is steeped in history, laced with abundant wildflowers, and rich with wildlife, including elk, white-tailed deer, black bears, and many species of birds. Cataloochee Valley is one of those special places that is not easy to get to, but hard to forget. We'll spend the day exploring the rich natural and cultural history of the early settlers to the valley and the formation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with an emphasis on the elk reintroduction.

You must be 18 or older to register for and attend a Smoky Mountain Field School course.

Note: Participants are required to sign an electronic release and assumption of risk form before attending this course.

Student praise for this course: "Esther Blakely is a true Smoky Mountain treasure. She is so knowledgeable and such a great presenter. She loves elk and the mountains and extended her love to all of our group."


Meet at Lake Junaluska Bethea Welcome Center located at 91 North Lakeshore Drive in Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.
Fee: $69.00

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Esther Blakely

Esther Blakely, a certified master naturalist from the University of Florida, teaches weekend programs for the Smoky Mountain Field School.

Blakely also leads hikes and elk programs as a certified interpretive presenter through the Elk Outreach Program for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She is a long-standing member of the elite Elk Bugle Corps volunteer group in Cataloochee Valley in North Carolina.


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