Ancient and isolated, the Smoky Mountains are home to tragic tales of ghosts and otherworldly phenomena. Visit here, and you’re closer to the spirit world than you might imagine.
Today, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a scenic highway. In the early 1900s, it was a trail for travelers. A horseman encountered a young woman walking barefoot there. He gallantly offered her a ride and she accepted, saying her name was Lucy. The rider fell in love as they rode to her family’s cabin.
He left her there, but the next day returned to ask for her hand. Astounded, her parents told him their daughter Lucy had died in a fire the previous year. Locals say you can spot Lucy by the trail, forever trying to get home.
Gatlinburg’s Greenbrier Restaurant was a guest lodge in the 1930s when a guest named Lydia stayed there the night before her wedding. The next day, her fiance failed to turn up. Lydia fled back to the Greenbrier and hanged herself there, still wearing her wedding dress. Visitors and staff say you can hear Lydia’s lamenting cries. Some believe they see the marks of the fatal rope on a wood beam.
Cades Cove is famed for 19th-century cabins and churches. The settlers who built them left behind tiny family graveyards with just a handful of graves and church graveyards with dozens of burials. While Cades Cove is a popular destination, when twilight falls and visitors drift back to town, those graveyards hold a secret. Some lingerers claim they’ve seen balls of glowing light floating over graves. Are these spirits hovering over their bodies’ last resting places?
Lumber built Elkmont in more ways than one. Wooden buildings housed workers who felled trees for the bustling logging industry in the early 20th century. By the 1910s, Elkmont was a tourist destination. City slickers built clubs and cottages in the forest.
By the 1930s, the creation of the national park required Elkmont’s residents to leave. The buildings remain to this day, dubbed “Elkmont Ghost Town.” Visitors describe a profound chill when they enter certain crumbling buildings here, even in steamy summer. Visit the tidy but isolated cemetery, where visitors used to find quartz stones placed on graves–supposedly to keep the dead peaceful.
Visit these spots for yourself. Then tell ghost stories by the fireplace at your Smoky Mountains vacation cabin.