The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States! It has some of the best hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing you'll find in the U.S. We're sharing the inside scoop with you so you can plan your next trip to the Smokies.
5 Hidden Places in the Smoky Mountains You Have to Find
- July 15, 2020
The Smoky Mountains are home to popular spots you’ll love, like Cades Cove and Laurel Falls, but there are also some hidden gems in the park! If you’re hoping to step off the beaten path on your vacation and explore some lesser known areas, we can help. We’ve made a list of 5 hidden places in the Smoky Mountains you have to find.
1. House of the Fairies
A must-visit on your vacation is the House of the Fairies! This secret spot in the Smokies is actually part of a larger estate that dates all the way back to the early 1900s. The structure is an old springhouse, and hikers love stumbling upon it while exploring! You can find the House of the Fairies in the Twin Creeks area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To get there, hike the Twin Creeks Trail, which is an easy 1.9-mile trail. When you pass the Resource Center along the trail, you’ll see a small path jutting off from the trail. Take this path to the House of the Fairies!
2. Pearl Harbor Tree
The Pearl Harbor Tree is located in the popular area of Cades Cove, but many people have never heard of this hidden gem! The Pearl Harbor Tree is a reminder of what happened that day in 1941 and honors those who died. It was planted by a man named Golman Myers, who lived in Cades Cove with his wife and sons. His two older sons were of draft age, so when he heard President Roosevelt announce the attack, he wanted to do something to mark the mournful moment. He built the sapling tree, which was only about the size of a limb at the time, and place an old rim of an automobile around it to protect it. Now, the tree is about 60 feet tall, and you can often see American flags surrounding it that visitors have brought to honor it. To get to the tree, park in the pull-off about 3.6 miles along the Cades Cove Loop Road. You’ll walk west for .1 miles until you see a small clearing. Where the treeline on the western edge of the field meets the road is the hill you will climb to get to the tree.
3. Walker Sisters Cabin
The Walker Sisters Cabin is the most well known out of all the hidden places in the Smoky Mountains. When the national park was dedicated in 1940, 5 unmarried Walker Sisters still lived in the cabin. They refused to give up their family farm, so were given permission to continue living in the cabin for the rest of their lives. They became quasi-ambassadors for the park and greeted visitors, selling them handmade products like fried apple pies and children’s toys. Although the sisters are now gone, you can still visit the cabin and explore the inside! To get there, take the .7-mile hike from Metcalf Bottoms to the Little Greenbrier School, then continue for .6 of a mile to where the path crosses a footbridge. At 1.1 miles, you’ll reach the side trail that leads to the Walker Sisters Cabin.
4. Elkmont Troll Bridge
Did you know that the Smoky Mountains are home to a ghost town? Elkmont went from being a pioneer community, to a booming logging camp, to a resort town for wealthy vacationers, to an abandoned area. Not only can you see some of the empty homes and buildings in Elkmont, but you can see the Elkmont Troll Bridge! This unique spot spans a small creek a little ways off the Little River Trail. To get there, you’ll take a side trail on your right about 100 feet along the Little River Trail and walk through the forest until you spot the bridge. Just stay on the path parallel to the stone walls!
5. Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower
If you’ve never been to the Mt. Cammerer Fire Tower, you have to find it on your vacation! This hidden place in the Smoky Mountains is located in Cosby, TN. The tower is an old lookout building that offers gorgeous 360-degree views of the mountains. It was built by local laborers and the Civilian Conservation Corp in the late 1930s. The hike to the tower and back is a total of 11.9 miles, but the views you’ll have will make every step worth it! Your hike will begin at the Low Gap Trailhead.
More Places in the Smoky Mountains
Now that you know about all the hidden places in the Smoky Mountains you have to find, we bet you can’t wait to visit! Before you do, learn more about some of the other can’t-miss places in the Smoky Mountains.