Tennessee: Unique trails off the beaten path
The Smoky Mountains that dominate the landscape of Gatlinburg, TN are perhaps the primary reason most people visit the region. Tucked away you will find our small cabin that can become the base to explore these mountains and the park that surrounds them. However, there are some places in and around the mountains that are not promoted widely, and these create some unique trails that are off the beaten path. So, use our cosy cabin as a base and explore some of the lesser known places around Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains.
The Ghost Town of the Smokies
Everyone loves a ghost town. Buildings that have just been left standing with no one around and why the people left nobody knows. The Smokies has its own Ghost Town and by following this unique trail you find some fascination of a kind you never expected.
Not more than a stone’s throw from Elmont the empty shell of a once prosperous logging community sits abandoned. Back in its day, this place was where tourism in the Smokies truly started. In its heyday from the mid-1800s to around 1910 Elmont was a thriving community with its own schoolhouse, railroad, a hotel and a Baptist church. So called “set-off houses” that were cheap to build or buy became the predominant form of housing and the town had everything going for it.
Tourism began to grow in the town around 1910 and in the 1920s logging began to decline. It was long before the town was vacated by pretty much everyone and soon it became a ghost town. Today it is a remarkable place to explore and the peace and quiet of the ghost town make it just spooky enough to add some excitement.
The Little River Trail
Around the Mountain Honey cabin there are many trails for those who want to explore the impressive scenery. One of the lesser known but more enjoyable trails is the Little River Trail. At just under 5 miles long the trail is an easy walk and starts off following a gravel road just outside Elkmont that was once a railroad.
The Little River itself is a wonderful babbling river and from time to time otters can be seen swimming in the mountain water. Naturally beautiful the trail is interspersed with several old and abandoned cottages. There are plans to restore these houses to make them safe for tourists but for now hikers can simply use their imagination as to what these houses were once like in the 1910s and 1920s.
The Little River Trail is the perfect summer trail. The slight uphill incline is gentle, the wildlife is amazing and diverse and the peace and quiet is only disturbed by the sound of flowing water in the river itself. This trail is full of pleasant surprises and is one that very much defines the local area to a tee.
Little Brier Gap Trail
Often known as the hiker to Walker Sisters Place this two- and half-mile trail starts from the parking area on Wear Gap Road. The trail is a wonderful way to explore some of the history from around the area and is a perfect summer trail. Littered with plenty of old buildings set amongst some of the most spectacular scenery this short and sweet little trail will perhaps take you longer than anticipated as you stop, pause, reflect and explore.
Some of the buildings have been restored and others are left in a more dilapidated state adding to the joy of the trail. As always one can expect amazing wildlife, but above all this is a trail that encourages walkers to use their imagination and take a journey back in time.
Mountain Honey Cabin
The two trails and the ghost town are all within easy reach of the cosy Mountain Honey Cabin and each can be easily made part of a truly peaceful outdoors summer weekend. The Mountain Honey Cabin is the ideal place for couples or a small family to call home for a weekend or a few days away in the Smokies and makes the perfect foundation for a memorable stay away.