History and Culture

The Ghost of Lucy on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

On this forested drive you'll see historic cabins and mills sprouting up under the canopy of trees, and possibly Lucy, a ghost looking for a ride.

As you drive the scenic 5.5-mile Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll see why the trail got its name. The Roaring Fork river is one of the park’s largest and fastest flowing and cuts through a forested area with historic buildings, including cabins and mills, sprouting up under the canopy of trees.

However, you may also see another sight that has become synonymous with the road: Lucy, a ghost rumored to wander this popular area of the park looking for a ride. As the story goes, Lucy was a young girl or woman (depending on who is telling the story) who died when her family cabin burned down in the early 1900s.

After her death a man named Foster allegedly came across her in the dark old-growth forest on a cold winter’s night. Seeing her barefoot, he offered her ride home on his horse and brought her home. But he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Smitten by her beauty, he stopped by her house on another occasion to ask her parents if he could marry her. They told him she had died quite some time ago, making him realize she had died before he met her.

Ever since then, it has been said some travelers have caught sight of Lucy, wandering on or near the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This trail is closed in winter, but to visit it when it is open, turn off the main parkway in Gatlinburg at traffic light number 8. Take the Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard Entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. After you pass the Rainbow Falls trailhead, you’ll find the cars-only Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.