Named for the Cherokee people and formed in 1839 is Cherokee County. Many of the Cherokee natives or their descendants still live in the area. Cherokee County was formed from the western part of Macon County and covers an area of 497 square miles. Murphy, NC is the county seat of Cherokee County.
Because of the natural landscape of Cherokee County, it is located in the southern Appalachian Mountains with portions falling between the boundaries of the Nantahala National Forest and the Hiawassee River, which is a tributary of the Tennessee River and flows through the county from southeast to northwest.
One historic event for Cherokee County is that in April 1974, parts of the county were affected by a historic weather event, which was the Super Outbreak of tornadoes. These tornadoes affected not only Cherokee County but at least portions of 13 states and at the time was the largest event of this kind to be recorded in the US.
It is well known that when you are in Cherokee County, you are in the westernmost portion of the state of North Carolina of all the 100 counties. Cherokee County is serviced by four major highways; US 64 which is the longest highway in the state of NC, US 74 that links Asheville, Charlotte & Wilmington with Chattanooga, TN and both US 19 and US 129, which provide connections to Atlanta GA to the South and Knoxville TN to the North.
A portion of the Nantahala National Forest is located in Cherokee County and this is considered as a national protected area. The Native American tribe living in Cherokee County is known as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and is a federally recognized Native American tribe in the United States. It is not unusual to see many of the local tribesmen today still practicing many of the original ceremonies during your visit to Cherokee County. Many Cherokee historians are affiliated with or are themselves members of the Eastern Band.