cataloochee valley
August 22, 2022

Cataloochee is a valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. It is known for its picturesque nature views and rich wildlife. You should definitely put it on your list of must see vacation spots. For now, here are five interesting facts about the valley and its rich history.

Preservation of History

cataloochee church

A lot can change through the years in tourist spots such as this one. It’s a good thing that Cataloochee Valley preserves its history. You can see a total of 9 historical buildings as you walk through the park, including a church, a school and many houses. One example is the Caldwell House, which was built in 1909. It is located at the end of the road as you pass both the church and the school.

Early History

The Cataloochee Valley has a rich history. The Cherokee Indians hunted and fished there, but it was never a permanent settlement for them. Later on, it was home to a large community of people. In 1834, Henry Caldwell purchased the land and lived on it with his family. The community of people continued to grow. However, they were forced off the land when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in the 1930’s.


elk in cataloochee valley

Elk began to be released into the Smoky Mountains National Park in February 2001. Since then, their population has grown significantly. Therefore, you are bound to see numerous elk grazing in the fields as you walk through the park. The best time to spot them is usually in the early morning or late evening. Make sure not to get too close and refrain from feeding the elk human food for both the elk’s safety and your own.

Two Communities

The large community was actually split into two different parts: Big Cataloochee and Little Cataloochee. Even though the Norland Mountain acted as a divider between the two sides, the people still remained in close contact through both blood and marriage. By 1910, there were over 1,251 total people living in Big and Little Cataloochee. It became the biggest community in the Smoky Mountains.


Applesappleswere seen as one an important crop to the Cataloochee community. In fact, one way that the residents acquired wealth was through commercial apple growing. Apples were also popular because they could be eaten in many different forms. They can be eaten raw or used to make other recipes such as pies or apple cider vinegar. People preserved apples by drying them out. This was helpful because the lighter weight of dried fruit makes it easier to transport. In the 1900’s there were numerous varieties of apples. Unfortunately, many of them have since disappeared. It is not surprising that apples were so popular. After all, we have all heard the age old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”

This popular spot in The Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-see vacation spot. If you are interested in learning more about it, get all the information you need about Cataloochee Valley.