5 Unusual Sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park You’ll Want to See

end of a tunnel

If you visit the Smokies often, you’ve probably seen all of the popular features, like Cades Cove. Are you wanting to see something different the next time you come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? There are plenty of things you probably haven’t seen! Check out these 5 unusual sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll want to see:

1. Cataract Falls

cataract fallsThere are a ton of waterfalls throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ve probably heard of Laurel Falls and Grotto Falls, which you have to hike a pretty good ways to get to. Did you know there are easily accessible waterfalls? One of those waterfalls is Cataract Falls. The hiking trail to get to the waterfall is only 1.1 miles long. When you start on the trail, you’ll cross over a foot bridge over small streams. The path is clearly marked most of the trail, making it easy to walk on. Once you reach the falls, you’ll be able to see water fall from 25 feet up into a pool of water. The steady stream of water is pretty, but it’s really impressive after it rains. Cataract Falls is a great feature that isn’t too well known in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you’ll definitely want to check out.

2. House of the Fairies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is full of rich history. People lived in what is now the park long before it became a national park. The Voorheis Estate was 38 acres in the north district of the park. It included a house, a barn, garden areas, and other buildings Louis E. Voorheis build when he owned the land. He reportedly loved to play around with waterpower and was an inventor. Voorheis wanted to create a mountain oasis to get away from the crowds. Over the course of four years, he build many of the buildings, bridges, and other constructions that were found in the area. One that is still standing is the springhouse, which has gotten the name of the House of the Fairies. To get to this unique feature, just take the Twin Creeks Trail about 2 miles in, and you’ll veer slightly off the path. Stone steps and the building itself are still intact, and it’s really a cool place to see!

3. The Sinks

the sinks in the great smoky mountainsDid you know there are waterfalls you can actually drive to in the Smokies? One of them is known as The Sinks. The river creates an S shape, and water flows over huge boulders in the curve into giant pools of water. People come to The Sinks to see the water flow over the rocks and hike the trails nearby. Some people do swim in the deep pools of water, but signs are posted and rangers recommend people do not swim or jump from the rocks into the water. People have drowned in this area before, so be cautious if you want to visit this area and get in the water.

4. Thomas Divide Tunnel

Located near Clingmans Dome, the Thomas Divide Tunnel is a hidden gem of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This tunnel was built to prevent Appalachian trail hikers from having to cross Clingmans Dome Road. People like to go to the tunnel and walk through it for fun. The tunnel can be found less than a mile west of the junction between Clingmans Dome Road and Newfound Gap Road. It’s definitely a unique site in the Smokies!

5. Elkmont Ghost Town

elkmont ghost townIf you enjoy thrillers or history in general, you should definitely visit the Elkmont Ghost Town. Elkmont was a pioneer community long before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established. At this location, you’ll find empty cabins left from logging communities. The oldest building in the Ghost Town was built in the 1830s. People continued to live in this area until their leases were up in the 1990s! The national park was going to demolish all of the buildings until the National Register of Historic Places added Elkmont to its list. The National Park Service then had to come up with a plan to restore the buildings, which is still in the process of being done. Seeing the Elkmont Ghost Town should be at the top of your unique sites list!

The next time you’re in town, you should definitely check out these unusual sites in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re looking for other fun things to do, look at our Freedom Fun Pass you’ll get when you book a cabin with us!

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