The Smokies are famed for their stunning landscape and rich history, with numerous trails, routes, and sites to explore. Here are six must-see historic places to visit during your stay.
1. Cades Cove
The most visited area in the Smoky Mountains region, this 6,800-acre valley is located about 31 miles away from Pigeon Forge. Renowned for its gorgeous scenic views, visitors can hike the forest trails near Abrams Falls and experience the impressive array of wildlife. Historic landmarks such as 19th century pioneer log cabins and churches are open to guests year-round.
Visitors can take the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile one way loop that closes every Saturday in the month of December for bicyclist and hiker access.
2. Mountain Farm Museum
An eclectic collection of farm buildings from throughout the region, the Mountain Farm Museum of Oconaluftee is a fascinating glimpse into the early eras of the Smokies. Visitors can explore an authentic log farmhouse, barn, springhouse, apple house, working smithy, and the historic Davis House. The museum also offers historical gardening and agricultural demonstrations, including livestock, with guided and self guided tours available.
3. Mingus Mill
Located just a half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Mingus Mill is an historic grist mill that still implements a water-powered turbine. Built in 1886, visitors can witness the mill in motion, watch a miller demonstrate the process of grinding corn into cornmeal, and purchase an assortment of items produced on site.
4. Ogle Log Cabin
The first home to be established in Gatlinburg, the historic Ogle Log Cabin was owned by Martha Jane Huskey Ogle in the 1800’s. Built by her husband William, who died of malaria in 1803, the cabin was occupied by Martha alone and eventually relocated to a nearby location for public viewing.
5. Old Mill Square
Located in Pigeon Forge, Old Mill Square is home to the Old Mill itself, a gristmill dating back to 1830. The square features an eclectic collection of antique shops, as well as The Old Mill Restaurant and The Old Mill Pottery House & Cafe.
6. Wheatlands Plantation
The site of the Battle of Boyd’s Creek, this Sevierville plantations was established by Revolutionary War veteran Timothy Chandler and his son John in 1791. Named for its annual wheat crop, Wheatlands went on to become Sevier County’s largest and most productive plantation, featuring the first regulated distillery in the state. The mansion was used as a field house, hospital and winter camp during the Civil War, with freed slaves inheriting a portion of the plantation in 1875. Guests can visit the home and surrounding grounds, which include the smokehouse, loom house, summer kitchen, and slave cemetery.