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Water Rock Garden

Water Rock Garden Retreat was designed specifically to showcase the incredible natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. Water Rock Garden Retreat is located on a 15-acre knoll just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. At an elevation of 4500 feet, there are breathtaking 360-degree views with a 30-mile view of Tennessee and the great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is located at a high elevation in a rare location. From the 4500 elevation knoll and to the West you can see most of the entire length of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with Clingman's Dome the center of the view. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To the south you face directly up to the 5800 peaks of the Plott Balsam Range. To the East is our namesake Waterrock Knob. It is the highest peak in the Plott Balsams and is the 16th-highest mountain in the Eastern United States.
Within a short hike is a private trail to a stunning series of waterfalls on Black Rock Creek culminating in 100 feet plus Kobe Falls.
Extremely private, there are no other homes within site or sound. The retreat has large terraced grounds covered with an abundance of gorgeous flowers for the enjoyment of our guests. There is lots of flat yard space for the kids to run around and a great firepit area for nights around the campfire.
Located within easy driving distance of the finest outdoor recreation areas in Western North Carolina for both hiking and rafting, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Nantahala wilderness area, Cataloochee Ski Area , and Cherokee Indian Reservation.
Water Rock Garden Retreat is ideal for people who love solitude, unspoiled views, spectacular gardens, wildlife, starry nights and full moons, and the sound of rushing mountain streams in the distance. It is beautiful any time of year!
The Retreat's ground floor is open and spacious with ten-foot ceilings and a fireplace. The house has four bedrooms (three upstairs, one downstairs), including a large master bedroom. The rooms are equipped with two queen-sized beds, one full-sized bed, two twin beds, one twin-sized futon, and two twin-sized bunkies. The house has two full baths, an antique claw foot tub, a stem shower, and a wood-fired hot tub! We will provide one set of sheets and blankets for each bed as well as plenty of towels.
The large custom kitchen is well equipped with utensils, dinnerware, pots, pans, and an outdoor grill. The house also has a 500-square-foot, partially covered, cedar deck and an enclosed crow's nest atop for all-weather viewing of the incredible, panoramic view.
Waterrock Garden Retreat may not be for everyone! This is a very remote location. You will feel like you are the only ones in the world! It is best enjoyed by those looking to get away from it all and unplugging in the cathedral of nature. While you are located at the heart of outdoor recreation many guests report they get there and don't want to leave for the duration of their stay! The Retreat is located three-point-seven miles up a well-maintained (but bumpy in spots) gravel road. Water Rock Garden Retreat is easily accessible by car, SUV and even trucks with trailers. The road dead ends at the retreat. The road is passable by almost any car except under snowy or icy conditions when a four-wheel drive would be necessary. It takes approximately 15 minutes to travel the road. Cars that ride extra low (such as some luxury or sport cars) may not be appropriate. Ask us if you are not sure about yours.
Located 10 miles from Harrah's Casino in Cherokee and the Blue Ridge Parkway, central to the Smoky Mountains Country Club Golf Course and the Great Smoky Mountain Railway Station in Historic Dillsboro where you will find unique shops, galleries, collectables, and crafts.
Centrally located to Maggie Valley, Cherokee, Bryson City and to Rafting and Tubing in the Nantahala Gorge with numerous hiking and biking trails throughout the area. Enjoy outdoor recreation along nearby waterfalls, hike and commune with nature, float the many rivers and streams on tubes or rafts, or visit local area flea markets.
No hunting or shooting permitted at the retreat. We encourage wildlife to stay in the area.

Water Rock Garden Retreat

Water Rock was designed specifically to showcase the incredible natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains and to provide an example of mountain area permaculture.

  • House Property
  • 10 Sleeps
  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • 3 Minimum Stay
  • 275 avg/night

About The Owner

I moved to the mountains of WNC at the age of 21 when I first laid eyes on the incredible Great Smoky Mountains in Cherokee. As a young man at the time I lived "off grid" for four years in a log cabin on the Qualla Boundary , caretaking a cabin for a Cherokee family. Since then I have successfully raised four children with my partner. Love of nature and all it has to offer us has been deeply instilled in me from an early age and was greatly reinforced by that experience. I have since spent my life in various ways



Water Rock Garden


Best getaway we have had in years. Can’t wait to go back. Huge place and very comfortable. We had 10 and it was perfect. Long drive up the mountain but that's the only way to get a view that amazing. The host was amazing and made sure we had everything we need. Get there in the daylight the first day and put a fire in the hot tub first bathing. Its a learning experience but proved to be fun. Enjoy. We will be back for sure. We led to go skiing but you really don't need to. Enjoy.


Had an amazing week long stay at Water Rock. Once you reach the house, it is secluded and offers so much with the views, trails and a garden (tomatoes were delicious) that you just don't want to leave. On the days that we did leave the house, we found it was excellently situated for Clingman's Dome, Catalooche Valley and Bryson City. The interior of the house is well furnished, with some nice touches (steam room with shower and standalone bath). Finally, the owner (Tama) is relaxed and helpful, he was available via phone and email to answer our questions. Highly recommended for anyone who loves mountains and/or nature!


The drive up the mountain was a great adventure that was the end of a five hour drive from our house. My husband was seeming concerned. Then we arrived! It was breathtaking to say the least. We were met by a large flutter group of butterflys beconing us to share their lofty hideaway. The house felt like home the second we came through the door. We toured around the property for the next hour just getting a glimpse of the hidden treasures that seemed to await us at every corner. The amazing sunsets taken in at the upper deck.... the view of the mists and clouds on the surrounding mountains in the morning. All rare gems that cannot be described... they are to be experienced. Our entire family enjoyed the hot tub and the roasting of hotdogs, marshmallows and smores at the fire pit. Breakfast cooked on cast iron and games without electronics! A very overdue vacation! There are plenty of attractions very nearby... Cherokkee and the Blue Ridge Parkway to the west, and Maggie Valley to the east.... but the best attractions were those spent enjoying our time at Water Rock. We are already planning to visit again. If you enjoy the outdoors, there are tons of beautiful places and this place is one of them. There were beautiful flowers, wild edible berrys, butterflies, creeks and more to see just in the yard of a beautiful house perched upon a majestic view. Nothing like waking up above the clouds. With the internet and basic phone we were able to connect to the outside world, but otherwise we were secluded into a piece of heaven. It was a great time had by all.

Heidi T.

We had a wonderful family vacation here. Beautiful location with stunning views. Had a great time hiking to Black Rock. If you want to get away from it all this is the place for you. We were a group of 12 so a shower in the downstairs bath would have been nice.


The views are amazing from this property. The road leading up to the property is long and in some places a bit bumpy, but we were able to travel this road every day without a four wheel drive vehicle. I might add, the journey was worth it. The house some age to it, but was very well suited to us. The only thing I would add would be cable. As much as I liked lounging and watching the sunsets, I am ashamed to say I missed seeing what was going on in the world. Thank you for a relaxing vacation, we hope to be back!

Melissa E.