Hiking to the Noah Bud Ogle Cabin on the Self-Guiding Trail

April 07, 2023

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is full of history. From moss-covered stone fireplaces to restored and maintained homesteads, you’ll find all kinds of unique history here. If you’re someone who loves history and wants to see what living in the Smokies would have been like, then you’ll want to see the Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin. This short hike will take you back to the pioneer days and into nature.

Getting to the Cabin

noah bud ogle tub mill in the great smoky mountainsTo get to the cabin, you’ll need to turn at Traffic Light #6 in downtown Gatlinburg onto Cherokee Orchard Road. This road actually connects to Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a one-way scenic drive that provides a beautiful nature view of the Smokies. You’ll continue along the road for 2.7 miles, passing hotels, several hiking trail trailheads, and the Twin Creeks Science Center. The next stop on the right is the parking lot for the Noah “Bud” Ogle Cabin and trailhead.

Hiking the Self-Guided Trail

Once you’re parked, you’ll be ready to explore the short and scenic hike. It is 0.7 of a mile long, making it easy for just about everyone to hike. The trail is a loop instead of an out and back design, and you’ll pass bubbling brooks and rhododendrons along the way. About a third of the way in, you will see an old tub mill that has been well preserved for visitors to see in real life. The Ogles built this tub mill as a part of their homestead to grind corn into meal. It was built around 1885 and was powered by water from LeConte Creek fed from an 80-foot log flume. Near the tub mill, you will find the “drove-through” barn, which is where wagons could park in the middle section. There are 4 log pens where livestock lived, and they probably included cows, chickens, and pigs. From the barn, you’ll be able to see the Noah Bud Ogle cabin a short walk away.

Noah Bud Ogle Cabin

noah bud ogle cabinThe log home you see is known as the Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin. It is a saddlebag design, meaning that a central chimney connects the two living quarters. According to the National Register of Historic Places, the saddlebag is a rare floor plan, making this cabin even more unique. The home started off as one living quarter with the chimney, but as the Ogle family grew, they built onto the existing building. You can actually walk inside the homes and see the chimney from the inside too. There are two small doorways, one on both living quarters, that connect at the chimney space. Each quarter has a small window that lets in light. There are porches built on the front and back part of the home, probably where people sat to watch kids play or enjoy the fresh air. You’ll find troughs on the back porch too.

There’s nothing quite as cool as seeing old homesteads in the Smoky Mountains and imagining what life must have been like back in the day. Taking in the incredible craftsmanship and knowing how much hard work went into building homes and livelihoods is humbling. After you enjoy seeing the Noah Bud Ogle cabin, you should head back to your car and continue along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail for even more fun!