There are nearly 400 miles of roads with unspoiled, breathtaking scenery at every
turn. Here's where to start.
There are 150 maintained trails, scores of waterfalls, picturesque valleys and breathtaking
There are more than bears in them thar hills. Fauna, meet Flora.
Before it was a park, the Great Smoky Mountains were home to explorers, adventurers
and settlers alike. Here are heritage high points worth stopping for.
Bring your basket, take a break, lay a spread and enjoy the view.
Gatlinburg, Tennessee Historical Sites
Who were some of the first settlers in the region? What did the first Smoky Mountain cabins look like? What was it like to go to school in the 1800s in Appalachia? Learn all there is to know about Gatlinburg and the Smokies at these eastern Tennessee historical sites. History and culture lessons abound in the old homesteads, mills and schoolhouses that remain in the Smoky Mountains.
Read on for more about the Gatlinburg, Tennessee historical sites that provide a window to the past for Smoky Mountain visitors.
John Oliver's Cabin
Cades Cove's first and oldest.
John and Lucretia Oliver were the first to come to Cades Cove, and they almost didn't
survive the first winter. They ate dried pumpkin given to them by the Cherokee and
ground their corn into meal with a mortar and pestle. And they SURVIVED. Take a
walk off the main loop at Cades Cove and visit one of the oldest structures in the
Smokies. It's still stands where they built it, held together without pegs or nails.
It remains erect by gravity, and anchored by the spirit of the mighty will of two
Noah "Bud" Ogle Homestead
Who says they didn't have plumbing?
If you take a drive along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail or are taking a hike
to Rainbow Falls, stop here first. The cabin, barn and working tubmill have all
been preserved and restored. One look at the Ogles' handcrafted wooden flume plumbing
system will make you think twice before you complain about the water pressure in your home shower
ever again. The tub mill is one the few left in existence. It still grinds away
powered by water diverted from nearby LeConte Creek.
The Little Greenbrier School
They really did walk nine miles to school in the snow.
On your way from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove, stop here and take a trip back to school in the 1800s. Families sent their kids here for more than 50 years, mostly in winter
when there was less farming to be done.
Greenbrier is now a ghost town, and there's a cemetery across the street. This classic
one-room schoolhouse also served as a Primitive Baptist Church. Behave when you
visit, or you'll have to sit in the corner.
John Cable's Mill and Mingus Mill
The daily grind in the late 1800s.
There are still four working mills in the Smokies. Two are little tub mills, such
as the one at Noah "Bud" Ogle's homestead. John Cable's Mill, a classic waterwheel-powered
mill, is a must-see during a day trip to Cades Cove. Mingus Mill, a half-mile from the Ocanaluftee Visitor Center, uses a turbine.
It was built under contract in just three months and completed in 1886. It was the
largest mill in the Smokies, and you can still buy cornmeal there.
A great first stop on your way into the Park.
Just two miles from Gatlinburg, the Sugarland Visitor Center is next to Park Headquarters.
The Visitor Center features tons of information, exhibits and books. Forget your
hat? Grab an official Park ballcap, and pick up a map, then take a stroll on the Sugarlands Nature
Trail to the John Ownby Cabin, one of only two structures remaining from the original