Friday, October 18, 2019

DESTINATION: Cataloochee Valley, North Carolina

The last leg of our journey through the Smoky Mountains took us east back towards Asheville, N.C., and through the Cataloochee Valley.


Love anything Bigfoot like this awesome sculpture at one of the entrances to a home near the valley

Entrance sign to the Cataloochee Valley

Information sign about the valley

TK's parents stretching their legs at one of the valley's overlooks


The entrance to the Cataloochee Valley is almost non-existent!  It is a winding, gravel road that has some steep drop offs with no guard rails.  The road is narrow, so drivers may be required to stop or back up their vehicles to allow oncoming motorists to pass....something we had to do several times!

The Cataloochee Valley is nestled among some of the most rugged mountains in the southeastern United States.  Surrounded by 6000 foot peaks, this isolated valley was one of the largest and most prosperous settlements in what is now the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Some 1,200 people lived in this lovely mountain valley in 1910.  Most made their living by farming, including commercial apple growing, but an early tourism industry developed in Cataloochee with some families boarding fishermen and other tourists who wished to vacation in the mountains.

Caldwell place barn

You have to cross this creek to get up to the Caldwell home

The old Caldwell home


A variety of historic buildings have been preserved int he valley.  Structures include a church, a school, and several homes and outbuildings.  This is the best place in the park to see historic frame buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The valley's old school house

Inside the Cataloochee Valley school house

Methodist church

Inside the old Methodist Church


Bear, elk and turkey roam freely in this valley so you are advised to keep your distance from the animals.  Although we saw no bears we did see numerous elk and turkey near the valley's old school house.

Herd of elk resting in the shade near the old school house