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“Synchronous Fireflies” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cataloochee Valley Tours

Cataloochee Valley Tours
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Cataloochee Valley Tours...The Best Kept Secret in the Smokies!Let our naturalist take you on a guided eco-tour to one of the best kept secrets in the Great Smoky Mountains-Cataloochee Valley. Cataloochee Valley is one of those special places that is not easy to get to, but hard to forget. If you want to venture there, Cataloochee Valley Tours will take you there in comfort. Note: Reservations are required, as we do not have a store front.
Huntington,WV
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Synchronous Fireflies”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2014

This was our first experience of any type of tour and it was amazing! If you have the chance to ever do the firefly tour, DO IT. Esther was a very knowledgeable guide and the ride there was very enjoyable. All the little tidbits she told us about the fireflies was very informative. The best part was the wave the fireflies did while we watched. We also happened upon two Elk bedded down for the night so that was the little "extra". We are going back in September for the Elk Tour and WE CAN'T WAIT!!!! Looking so forward.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Jackie5360
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esther B, Owner at Cataloochee Valley Tours, responded to this review, 22 June 2014
I am so happy to hear that your 1st ever tour experience was "amazing!" I greatly appreciate your high recommendation and look forward to welcoming you both back on tour in September to witness the elk rut.
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154 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“The highlight of our Smokey Mountain vacation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 June 2014 via mobile

Ester's guided tour through the Cataloochee Valley was highlighted with a viewing of the Synchronous FireFlies. This part of our trip through the Great Smokey Mountains felt like a guided tour with a dear friend. Ester does it right; every attention to detail and comfort is accented with her knowledge and love of the Valley, and the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. Her passion and respect of nature is the driving force behind her desire to share, to educate and to preserve this glorious bounty of beauty and diversity. Thank you Ester and Tim for sharing with us your company, knowledge and "secret places"! I'm still glowing. Oh, and the white chocolate macadamia nut cookies we snacked on at the end of the evening, baked by Ester, were delicious!! I even got to see my first owl in the wild:-)

Helpful?
Thank VasePlace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esther B, Owner at Cataloochee Valley Tours, responded to this review, 12 June 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed having you both on my combo tour combining our Evening Elk Eco-Tour and our Synchronous Firefly Night Walk. I truly love sharing the rich history of the Cataloochee Valley and as you said, its glorious bounty of beauty and diversity. I was so moved by your experience of seeing your first owl in the wild and honored to share with you that special moment. I also loved your visual interpretation of the fireflies as the returning spirits of the Cataloochee people. I am so pleased that this adventure was the highlight of your Smoky Mountain vacation. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.
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edgewood, kentucky
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Exceeded expectations”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 May 2014

Esther provided an enjoyable, entertaining, and informative tour of the Cataloochee valley. Her passion for the habitat as well as its past and current inhabitants was contagious. We expected to see elk and some pristine mountain scenery, and we did. We did not expect, however, to gain insights into the people and culture that called this valley home. We also learned about the volunteers and nonprofit organizations that helped make the return of the elk possible. Esther's genuine concern for this habitat was evident at the conclusion of our tour, when we found a bag of trash left at an observation post that had been ripped open (probably by a bear). Despite the nasty task, Esther insisted on carrying the smelly, heavy, wet bag to the trash receptacle. Her new, hybrid SUV is the ideal vehicle for this tour, and Esther's knowledge and charm made this a truly memorable experience. Highly recommended for those who want more than just a walk in the park.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank edistocarol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esther B, Owner at Cataloochee Valley Tours, responded to this review, 20 May 2014
Dear Carol: I am delighted to know that you found the Evening Elk Eco-Tour informative, entertaining and enjoyable. Thank you for helping with that big bag of trash...the thought of someone leaving it in that beautiful, pristine place still disturbs me. I appreciate your high recommendation.
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Harrisburg, PA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Cataloochee Valley Elk Tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 May 2014

Cataloochee Valley Tours is amazing, so is Esther. The untouched beauty of the valley is breath taking and the elk are simply amazing. It is a special gift to see these creatures in their natural habitat. We learned things and saw things we would have never learned/seen if we had made this journey on our own. Esther was so gracious and didn't mind all my picture taking. Her knowledge of the area and wildlife is very impressive. It truely was a memorable and most enjoyable evening. A treasured memory for sure! If you are in the area make time to do one of her tours you will be so glad you did. Our tour was at 5:30, we arrived early and spend the afternoon in the charming little town of Waynesville, NC, also a hidden gem.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank Lemar S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esther B, Owner at Cataloochee Valley Tours, responded to this review, 15 May 2014
Dear Lemar: I am so pleased to hear that your Eco-tour experience was enjoyable and a "treasured memory." I am truly grateful for your esteemed recommendation.
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Chester, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“One of the best eco-tours I have experienced!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 May 2014

Ester, you are one of the best guides I have had the opportunity to experience! Both Gene and I thoroughly enjoyed his birthday trip to Cataloochee valley...we both couldn't stop talking about the tour not only during our stay but since we have returned to Virginia....If we are back when the the grandkids are a little older, we will add your eco-tour to the activities....thanks to you though, I was able to take a few of them over early in the day and we lucked out and saw a few elk then too...but not anywhere like when you showed us the valley - and the deer and turkey were the "icing on the cake!" - it was a wonderful evening and a great memory to bring back home. Thank you, not only for offering this type of tour, but for doing such an excellent job of sharing the families' story as well as the elk project specifics. You have our vote for the Best Tour in the area! Judy and Gene Thayer-

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank ChesterJudy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Esther B, Owner at Cataloochee Valley Tours, responded to this review, 10 May 2014
Dear Judy & Gene: I am delighted that you both enjoyed learning about the elk and the history of the Cataloochee people. Also, seeing the turkeys and deer together like we did does leave an indelible memory. Thanks for your vote as "Best Tour in the area!"
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