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4 Ways to Discover the History of the Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park sign
August 8, 2022

The Smoky Mountains are filled with incredible stories and history. While you can learn about some of it through reading textbooks and searching online, there are some stories that you have to travel to the Smokies to hear. This is because the tales have been passed down from generation to generation and are things you can only learn from the locals. During your trip, here are 4 ways to discover the history of the Smoky Mountains:

1. Explore the Hiking Trails

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove

One of the best ways to explore the Smokies is by hitting the trails. Inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park , you will find hundreds of miles of hikes for all ages and skill levels. In addition to incredible mountain scenery, you will also come across historical structures that can teach you about the early days of Smoky Mountain history. For example, the John Oliver Cabin is located in Cades Cove and was built in the 1820s by the first permanent European settlers. John Oliver and his wife, Lucretia, built the cabin to where gravity and notched corners was all that was needed to hold it together, meaning there are no nails or pegs!

2. Take a Guided Tour

If you want to learn some unusual facts about the history of the Smoky Mountains, a guided tour is a great activity. There are multiple options of tours you can take depending on what you are looking for. The Smoky Mountains Pink Jeep Tours will take you on an exciting open-air adventure in the back of a pink Jeep Wrangler. They offer tours that transport you to all sorts of incredible destinations, including Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Newfound Gap, the Foothills Parkway, and many more! Not only will you learn about the history of the Smokies, but you will also be treated to astonishing views of the mountains.

3. Eat at Local Restaurants

The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg

There are many restaurants that you will find in the Smoky Mountains that are filled with incredible history. The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg sits in the former home of Charles Ogle, who was a fourth generation merchant in the Smokies. In 1958, he and his wife built their dream home on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. Today, The Peddler honors their memory with the same stone chimney that was in their home. If you are in Pigeon Forge, be sure to visit The Old Mill Restaurant , which is home to one of the oldest continually working grist mills in the entire United States.

4. Explore the Attractions

Not only are the attractions in the Smokies fun for the entire family, but you will also get the chance to learn about the history of the area. At the Gatlinburg Space Needle , you can take a glass elevator up the 407-foot tower to the observation deck, where you will learn interesting facts about downtown Gatlinburg and the surrounding mountain ranges. At the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park , you can walk along the new SkyTrails and learn about the history of the park and the tragic wildfires that made their way through the mountains in 2016.

Now that you know about some ways to discover the history of the Smoky Mountains, check out some other fun things to do in the Smokies during your vacation. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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