There is certainly no shortage of wonderful things to see and do in Gatlinburg, TN! While some attractions like Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies or the Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area are famous, there are also a number of lesser known destinations in Gatlinburg that are definitely worth visiting. To help you plan your trip, Alpine Chalet Rentals has put together a guide to four of the best Gatlinburg attractions off the beaten path:
1. The “Ghost Town” at Elkmont
Located about 4.5 miles past the Sugarlands Visitor Center, Elkmont is one of the most fascinating abandoned locations in the Gatlinburg area. Over a century ago, Elkmont was a bustling logging area and a popular resort town for wealthy residents of Knoxville, TN. Today, you can see historic buildings from this bygone era when you visit the “ghost town” at Elkmont.
2. Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum
A trip to the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is an absolute must for anyone vacationing in Gatlinburg. This one of a kind museum is home to over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from every decade! What is so impressive about the collection is the seemingly endless variety of shaker designs. Guests will see shakers that look like presidents, space aliens, animals, houses, cars, U.S. states, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum is also one of the most affordable Gatlinburg attractions off the beaten path. Admission is only $3.00 (kids 12 and under are free), and that money goes towards the purchase of any set of salt and pepper shakers in the gift shop!
3. Santa’s Claus-et
If you want to enjoy a bit of the Christmas spirit during your getaway, stop by Santa’s Claus-et. Located near the entrance to the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community, this fun shop is a winter wonderland all year round. Visitors will find an expansive selection of specialty foods, toys, ornaments, decorations, and many more excellent items. The Big Guy himself is known to frequent Santa’s Claus-et, so your kids can get a special keepsake photo with Jolly Old St. Nick!
4. The Walker Sisters Place
The Walker Sisters Place is a historic cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a great story attached to it. This 19th century cabin is famous for being the home of John Walker’s six unmarried daughters. When John passed away in 1921, his daughters took over his farm and continued the traditional way of life, even when the national park was formed in 1940. Rather than moving away, the Walker Sisters lived in the national park and greeted visitors who came to visit Little Greenbrier. One of the sisters lived in the cabin until 1962!
The Walker Sisters Place is along the Metcalf Bottom Trail. To reach the cabin, first take the 0.7 mile hike from Metcalf Bottoms to the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse (which was built by John Walker). Then, continue on the trail for 0.6 mile, where you will cross a footbridge. After 1.1 miles, hikers will find the 0.2 mile side trail to the Walker Sisters Place.
When you stay with Alpine Chalet Rentals, you will be near all of these excellent Gatlinburg attractions off the beaten path! To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals.