3 Hidden Gems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park You Have to Find
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park, welcoming more than 11 million people each year. Of course, there are popular spots you don’t want to miss out on, like Cades Cove, Laurel Falls, and Clingmans Dome. But, there are also some incredible hidden gems you should explore, and we want to help you find them. Here are 3 hidden gems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you have to find:
1. House of the Fairies
House of the Fairies, also known as “the Fairy House,” has become one of the most sought-after hidden gems in the Smoky Mountains. People all over the country come to the Smokies to try to find this secret spot. The House of the Fairies is actually a springhouse on what used to be the Voorheis Estate. Although a majority of the original landscape features have faded, many of the buildings remaining are in good condition. One of those buildings is the House of the Fairies! It’s an old stone building that hikers love stumbling upon. To get to the House of the Fairies, you’ll hike the Twin Creeks Trail. Once you pass the Resource Center, there’ll be a small path jutting off from the trail. Follow this path to get to the Fairy House! You’ll see an arch wall made of stone with a simple open door. Once you’re there, take some time to go inside and explore!
2. Pearl Harbor Tree
Most everyone who visits the Smoky Mountains wants to take a trip to Cades Cove. This popular 11-mile loop road offers incredible opportunities to see wildlife, along with many historic structures. What most people don’t know is that it’s actually home to this hidden gem: the Pearl Harbor Tree. The tree serves as a reminder of World War II and to honor those who died. It was planted the day of the attack and is still standing today. The tree is surrounded by American flags that visitors have brought and stuck around it, and there’s a sign on the tree that reads, “Golman Myers transplanted this tree Dec. 7 1941.” To get to the Pearl Harbor Tree, the closest parking area is the pull-off about 3.6 miles along the Cades Cove Loop Road. From there, you’ll walk west for .1 miles until you see a small clearing on the north side of the road. Where the treeline on the western edge of the field meets the road is the bottom of the hill you climb to get to the tree. Even though it’ll be surrounded by other trees, you can’t miss it.
3. Elkmont Troll Bridge
Did you know that there was a ghost town in the Smoky Mountains? Elkmont Ghost Town is a hidden gem all in itself, but the Elkmont Troll Bridge has become one of the top hidden gems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to find! The bridge is made of stones and covered in moss. While no one is sure the exact reason why the bridge was built, we know it was a part of the Elkmont community. Elkmont became the second largest town in the county in the early 1900s because of the logging and mining industries that were coming to the area. The town had a post office, a school, a hotel, a general goods store, a church, and homes. Today, the bridge has become a popular spot where visitors stop and take pictures. To get to the bridge, you’ll hike the Little River Trail for about 100 feet. Then, you’ll follow a small path on the right that will take you right to the bridge!
Now that you know about these hidden gems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we bet you can’t wait to visit! Before your trip, take some time to learn more about it! Check out 3 things you probably didn’t know about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.