3 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Historic Elkmont Ghost Town

December 24, 2018

The Elkmont Ghost Town is one of the most fascinating parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to visit! Before the establishment of the national park, Elkmont was a hot spot to be for logging and vacationers way back when. Even with is considered a “ghost town” now it is well worth a visit!

1. Rich History to Explorebuilding in elkmont

– In the early 1900s, Elkmont had a large logging boom era. The Little River Lumber Company was formed by businessman Col. Wilson B. Townsend and purchased 86,000 acres of land in the area. The logging lead to the installation of a railroad. Moreover, this booming business brought other buildings and workers to the area.

– Before long, the railroad brought not only lumber, but people too! Well-to-do families came looking for a peaceful and nice retreat in the mountains. The town took on the name “Elkmont” from the Knoxville Elks Club members that vacationed in the area. In the area you will find the leftover buildings for the Appalachian Club and the famous Wonderland Hotel.

– When the national park became established in 1934 Elkmont residents had to make a change. Unfortunately, it was either sell and relocate for a high dollar, or sell at discounted prices to the park and maintain a lifetime lease. In 1992, most leases expired leaving the national park with around 70 historical buildings.

– After some neglect, today, several historical buildings in the Elkmont Ghost Town are being properly maintained and cared for.

2. Several Hiking Trails in the Area

The Elkmont Ghost Town area and the Little River Road area have quite a few hiking trails and several that are very popular and beautiful to see!

  • Laurel Falls Laurel Falls is a very popular waterfall hike that is paved and is only 2.3 miles round trip!
  • Little Brier GapThe Little Brier Gap Trail leads to the Walker Sisters Place where you can explore the famous sisters’ old homestead!
  • Little River Trail– Little River Trail is a great peaceful hike! It offers great views of spring wildflowers. Historical sites, and the river.

river in elkmont3. It’s Peaceful

Exploring Elkmont is a one-of-a-kind peaceful place. Hikers can have the opportunity to step back in time and understand what life was like at the turn of the century. You can explore cabins and buildings that time has forgotten and others that are finally being preserved. Visitors can enjoy the river any time of year here! You can see it decorated with snow in the winter or even fish from in the summer!  During spring and fall, guests can enjoy wildflowers and bright fall colors as well. The

Historic Elkmont Ghost Town is a popular place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However, once you take a look around it’s easy to find areas that have been lost to time. Thankfully, due to restoration programs some cabins in Elkmont and the history it holds should be preserved for many years to come! If you are looking for more places that time has forgotten we invite you to visit the abandoned steam engine on the Grapeyard Ridge Trail!