Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — In addition to its natural beauty and wildlife, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds a wealth of history in its foggy foothills and beyond.
One of its most celebrated stories comes from the Walker Sisters, a family who made the Great Smoky Mountains their home long before it became a national park and continued living in their homestead decades after it did.
Even after the last of the six sisters died, the national park preserved their historic home, and visitors can still reach it today.
While a couple of trails lead to the Walker Sisters Place, a popular route is taking Metcalf Bottoms Trail to Little Brier Gap Trail with the Little Greenbrier School in between.
The hike is rated as easy at about 4 miles roundtrip on a mostly gravel trail with some uphill sections.
Keep in mind, this is a popular picnic area so it's recommended to get there early, be patient and have a backup plan. Little Greenbrier Road also closes from late December until early March each year.
The Walker Sisters Cabin closed in late December 2021 for restoration work and has not reopened as of September 2022, but the grounds are still accessible.
What to expect on the trail:
Some tips before you visit:
- Let someone know where you plan to hike, when you plan to be back, what clothes you are wearing and what your car looks like.
- Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
- Pack plenty of water and snacks.
- Take a light source with you (preferably not your phone). The park said the number one reason people have to get rescued in the park is not bringing a light.
- Keep an eye on the weather.
- Pets are not allowed on the trail.
- Be courteous to other park visitors.
- Leave the plants and wildlife alone.
- Have a backup plan if the trail is closed or too busy.
- Check on road closures at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps.
Learn more about the Walker Sisters in our documentary: