Saunooke’s Mill in Cherokee has been a fixture on the Qualla Boundary since 1975. The mill sits on the bank of the Oconaluftee River near the entrance the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The land on which the mill sits has been in the Saunooke family for many generations, passing down from former Principal Chief, Osley Saunooke and former Council Member, Bertha Saunooke. Osley and Bertha’s son Charles and his wife Carol established the gristmill and water wheel still in use today after much searching throughout the Great Smokies for a millstone and waterwheel. Once they got the mill running, they built a retail store and began producing their own line of all-natural products.
Today, the mill is owned and operated by John Parker, an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. Visitors to Saunooke’s Mill can experience the traditional milling process of the Smoky Mountain region. The gristmill is powered by a water wheel that is used to create an entire line of products including corn meal, grits, flour, breading mixes, and more. Retail space offers gifts and Cherokee artwork from more than 10 local artists.
Hours: Daily 9 am-8 pm April-October
Daily 9:30 am-5:30 pm mid-March, November, December