The Walker Sister Cabin is my family's favorite historic site in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It makes for a perfect afternoon outing for the family, and the kids (and you) will love walking through the cabin and imagining the lives lived here by the Walker sisters during the early 1900's.
John Walker, a Union Army veteran, and his wife, Margaret, moved onto the homestead in 1870. Over the years, his family grew to eleven children.
Over time, family members died, moved, or married leaving five of the unmarried sisters to live their remaining lives at their mountain homestead. For over forty years, the five sisters would continue to raise sheep, grow crops, plow their own fields and make their own clothes.
Today, you and the kiddos can walk the grounds of this peaceful property, sit on the front porch and listen to the quiet stillness, and explore the small rooms of the two-story restored cabin.
If you'd like to learn more about the Walker sisters and their homestead, click here.
How To Find It
To reach the Walker Sister cabin, park at the Little Greenbrier School House parking lot and walk 1.1 miles on the Little Brier Gap Trail.
Before embarking on the trail, spend some time at the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. Built in 1882 with the help of John Walker, the last classes in the small schoolhouse were held in 1935.
If you are here on a Tuesday, there is often a volunteer dressed as a teacher from the time period to lead classes. See this link for more: School days at Little Greenbrier Otherwise, the kids will have a good time standing up front and instructing their siblings (and you).
Little Brier Gap Trail
After visiting the school and taking turns being the teacher, you're now ready to get the wiggles out on a fun hike. The Little Brier Gap trail is located at the end of the gravel road that runs behind the cemetery in front of the school house.
The trail is nice and wide and slightly uphill but overall an easy stroll to the Walker homestead. Pack a picnic to enjoy on the grounds of the cabin or afterwards drive one mile to the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area where you can dine riverside and try to catch tadpoles and crawdads.
Note that the graveled Little Greenbrier Road to the schoolhouse is short (roughly 0.4 miles) but narrow and is only open to cars from late March to early December.
Add the Metcalf Bottoms Trail
For a slightly longer (3.8 mile roundtrip) hike, park at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area and begin your hike on the Metcalf Bottoms Trail. This trail is 0.7 miles in length and leads to the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. From there, you'll resume your walk to the cabin on the Little Brier Gap Trail located above the parking area (1.1. mile).
For more fun family hikes, lodging options, and activities in the Smoky Mountains, see our Great Smoky Mountain National Park itinerary below.