Hiking to John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove

December 10, 2021

When you visit Cades Cove, you will be met with an array of historical buildings. If you love history, there are many different structures that you can hike to that tell the story of the Smoky Mountains. One of those places happens to be an old cabin that was once owned by the first permanent European settlers in the area. Here is everything you need to know about hiking to John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove:

How to Get There

Cade Cove Loop Road When you enter Cades Cove, this historical cabin will be the first building you come to. It sits back a little ways off the road, so you will just have to take a short walk to get there. The parking area for the cabin is located right past Sparks Lane. Once you reach the parking area, it is about a five minute walk to the front of the cabin. This trail is suitable for all ages and skill levels because of the short distance and flat terrain. In addition, there was recently a wheelchair-accessible trail opened to make it easier for all guests to enjoy this historical structure!

What You Will See

Once you reach John Oliver Cabin, you will be amazed by how it is built. One of the most surprising things is that there are zero pegs or nails holding it together! You may be wondering how the building is still standing? Well, the Oliver family built it to where gravity and notched corners are enough to keep the building upright, which is incredibly amazing to see! The reason that some of the early settlers built their homes this way is because it was easier to protect them from harsh weather. In addition to the unique infrastructure, be on the lookout for wildlife roaming in the woods behind the cabin, including deer, turkeys, black bears, and birds.

History of the Cabin and the Oliver Family

John Oliver Cabin in Cades CoveJohn Oliver and his wife, Lucretia, moved to Cades Cove in the 1820s. This made them the first permanent European settlers in the area. Because they were the first ones, they faced a lot of challenges in their early days. When they arrived in Cades Cove, there was not a working grist mill. Therefore, they had to turn corn into cornmeal using only a mortar and pestle.

When it comes to the cabin, there is quite an interesting history behind it as well. The most interesting fact that people don’t realize is that the cabin that is in Cades Cove today is not the original cabin! The building you can hike to was actually the honeymoon cabin the family built for their son to use when he got married. In those days, it was very common for honeymoon houses to be built on the parents’ property.

More Fun Facts

After the national park was established, settlers had a very interesting decision to make. Some people decided to take the compensation being offered and move off their land willingly, while others put up more of a fight. John Oliver was one of the ones that decided to stand his ground. He ended up going to court several times over his property, but eventually lost his cause and was forced to take compensation and move away.

Today, the cabin is maintained by the national park. The goal for all buildings they oversee is to keep the look as authentic as possible when they make renovations. When you visit John Oliver Cabin, you will still see many of the same features that were there when it was built nearly 200 years ago!

Now that you know more about hiking to John Oliver Cabin, be sure to check out the Smoky Mountain hiking map to discover other great places to go hiking! We hope to see you soon!