5 Former Towns and Attractions In The Smoky Mountains That Still Exist

The Smoky Mountains are home to natural beauty and a lot of history, including some former towns that have been preserved and still remain.

Here are five places you should try to visit, three of which are open to the public.

Elkmont‘s Daisy Town / Elkmont Ghost Town

a house Elkmont's Daisy Town
A house in Elkmont’s Daisy Town

Elkmont was once a booming logging camp and resort for the wealthy, is one of the most complete ghost towns in the Smoky Mountains.

Its history began in the early 1800s when the Little River Lumber Company was formed. This sparked Elkmont’s growth as a company town, with the Little River Railroad connecting it to outside towns and attracting affluent visitors.

Now, it serves as a historical site and is within a short walk from the parking lot.

House interior in Elkmont’s Daisy Town

Many of the buildings have been restored, and are open to walk through.

Cades Cove

John Oliver Cabin At Cades Cove

Cades Cove, one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, draws parkgoers with its historic structures and rich wildlife.

Before becoming a popular destination, Cades Cove was a community where European settlers built homes from the early 1820s.

Churches and schoolhouses were built as the population grew in the valley,.

white church in cades cove
Church in Cades Cove

Land acquisition to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park took over the area, forcing some residents out and some residents to remain until their passing.

Since then, Cades Cove transformed from a community to a historical area.

Today, the National Park Service maintains the cove, restoring buildings to reflect the valley’s past and inviting visitors to step back in time to visit these buildings.

Fun Mountain

Fun Mountain Abandoned Theme Park in Gatlinburg
Fun Mountain Abandoned Theme Park in Gatlinburg

Fun Mountain was an amusement park in Gatlinburg that closed and was never entirely removed. You can still see the remains of part of it, including this ski lift heading into the trees.

We took the picture above from a balcony at the Margaritaville resort in Gatlinburg, so it’s still easy to see from many points in the City. 

Ghost Town In The Sky

Ghost Town in the Sky, perched atop a mountain in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, was an amusement park with western-themed attractions and rides.Ezoic

Originally accessible only by a chairlift or an inclined railway, the park was a mountain peak attraction, showcasing a replicated western town.

Despite its initial success, Ghost Town faced challenges, including ownership changes and maintenance issues, which led to a decline in visitor numbers and eventual closure in 2002.

Efforts to revive Ghost Town included the significant investment of new owners in 2007, which led to a temporary reopening with renovated attractions.

However, financial difficulties, exacerbated by the 2007-2008 financial crisis, led to bankruptcy and further closures.

Subsequent attempts to reopen the park were hindered by natural disasters, including a massive mudslide in 2010 and ongoing financial struggles.

Little Greenbrier

Little Greenbrier was once a thriving Appalachian community.
Located in a valley from Metcalf Bottoms along Little River to the upper slopes of Cove Mountain, this area distinguished itself from its larger namesake to the east by the prefix “Little.”

Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse
Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse

Today, Little Greenbrier is known for its preserved historical sites, such as the Walker Cabin and the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse, both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Little Greenbrier
Little Greenbrier

The Little Greenbrier School, built in 1882, served educational and religious purposes until 1936.

The Walker Sisters Place was home to five sisters who resisted selling their land to the national park.

Little Greenbrier is accessible via short trails, including the Little Brier Gap Trail and the Cove Mountain Trail.


These sites within the Smoky Mountains are a great way to learn about the area’s history.

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