We get out about once a week to hike usually in central to western North Carolina. We hike slowly and stop often to enjoy the views and the little treasures that nature offers. We enjoy waterfall, river, and mountain hikes frequently visiting The Blue Ridge Parkway, the Great Smoky Moutains National Park, and Pisgah National Forest.
This little nature trail is on Cherokee Orchard road accessed from Gatlinburg, Tennessee but in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We probably would have missed this neat little trail if there hadn't been a virtual geocache on it. The house can be see from the parking lot. We walked through the house and Mitch spotted a bird nesting in the ceiling rafters.
The nature trail begins to the right of the house and ends by the barn so we saved the barn for the end of the walk. The trail leaves the house clearing and enter the woods. There are small runs to cross and lots of flowers. We took a short detour on the Twin Creeks trail to view more of the wildflowers. This trail intersects the nature trail and leads back toGatlinburg.
Along the first half of the trail we followed an old road through areas that had once been fields and a cow pasture. The trail passes the remains of the "weaner cabin." There is a brochure available at the trail head that explains these and other stops along the trail. Around the corner from the cabin site we reached the creek and a very interesting little building.
We have seen a number of mills in the parks we have visited but this is the first tub mill that we have seen. This is a small mill that is designed for the use of a single family. The water wheel was under the timy building and horizontal instead of vertical. We went inside and looked at the grinding stomes still set up.
Outside the trail continues along the creek where the flume is still in place before turning back toward the barn through an area that is much rockier. There are a couple of places where the trail required stepping over or walking on rocks. There is another small run to cross and lots more woodland flowers along the way. This entire trail is mostly level. The trail comes out behind the barn at the end of the house clearing.