Oconaluftee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

At the park’s main southern entrance, you can tour the Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of preserved pioneer buildings including a blacksmith shop, barn, cabin, and springhouse.
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Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Visitors look at the relief map of the national park at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center.

Oconaluftee Visitor Center

Talk to a ranger about the park and pick up park maps (free) and pamphlets on the different sections of the park here. Pay for the full-color and really informative pamphlets on the honor system for $1. The visitor center also features a three-dimensional relief map of the park and geology and history exhibits.

Mountain Farm Museum

The Mountain Farm Museum at Oconaluftee Valley inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The Mountain Farm Museum at Oconaluftee Valley inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For hundreds of years, Cherokee Native Americans lived and farmed in the Smoky Mountains in permanent settlements. Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. government forced the Cherokees to move to the Oklahoma Territory in what became known as the Trail of the Tears. Non-Indian settlers trickled in over the years as railroads and commercial logging transformed the area. 

Today, you can glimpse into the settlers' lives in the past. Behind the visitors center, stroll along the peaceful Oconaluftee River to a historic farm complete with barns, a chicken coop, tool shed, homestead and gardens.

Mingus Mill

Mingus Mill, the grandest, working grist mill in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mingus Mill, the grandest, working grist mill in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A historic gristmill can be found a couple of miles up the road from the Oconaluftee Visitors Center.

This turbine-powered gristmill from 1886 features demonstrations of grinding corn into cornmeal. Located on US 441, 2 miles north of Cherokee; open daily April to October and weekends in November.

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