5 Chilling Ghost Towns in the Smoky Mountains

We’ve gathered the most secluded, sensational, and sacred spots to consider exploring — even a Hollywood movie set.


You’re technically in a ghost town when you visit the Sugarlands Visitor Center at the park. Maybe it’s more of a “Ghost Valley.” Before the government bought the land, Sugarlands Valley was once a popular destination for maple syrup tapping and logging.


The National Park System eventually took over Elmont, and you can access the preserved remnants via the Jakes Creek and Little River Trails.

Cades Cove

Cades Cove is the largest “ghost town” hiding in plain sight. As part of the “quiet side of the Smokies” (a designation given to the Smoky Mountain town of Townsend), this section of the park offers a scenic drive and a valley with distant mountain views.


In the 1920s, the Interior Department bought out residents to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. By 1940, the remaining townspeople were forced out. Several buildings are preserved in the Cataloochee Valley, and you can visit with a pass to the national park.

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