There are a number of historic cabins to be seen in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
And one of those historic cabins is the John Oliver cabin (aka John Oliver Place) that is located in Cades Cove on the Cades Cove Loop Road.
You can also walk inside the log cabin to try to imagine what life might have been like back in the day. You’ll also get mountain views from inside the cabin, as well as the grounds surrounded the cabin.
According to the National Park Service, John Oliver was among the “first Euro-American settlers in Cades Cove” and they arrived in Cades Cove in 1818.
When the Olivers built the house, they were relatively isolated.
But as early as the 1850s, 5 roads had reached Cades Cove.
The National Park Service also says that Great Smoky Mountains National Park has “one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States.” It lists the John Oliver cabin as an example of a well-preserved log cabin that was “built in diversified architectural style.”
Read more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a world heritage site. And if this historical aspect interests you, be sure to also visit the Mingus Mill and Mountain Farm outdoor museum that’s also located in the national park.
Self-guided Cades Cove history tour
If you are interested in the historical aspect of Cades Cove, be sure to pick up the Cades Cove tour booklet so you can make it a self-guided tour as you drive the loop road!
This costs $1. You may be able to pick up a Cades Cove auto tour booklet at the small information center located right before the Cades Cove Loop Road begins. You can also find them at a Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitor center. Cash only, so bring dollar bills! If you still have time before your Smoky Mountains vacation, you can order the Smokies starter kit of tour booklets online too.
The John Oliver Place is a historic cabin along the scenic Cades Cove loop road
It’s popular to drive the Cades Cove Loop Road, and you can stop at the John Oliver Place when you do this drive.
You can bike to the John Oliver cabin
Biking is a popular activity for the Cades Cove loop road, and a popular option is to bike the whole 11 miles of the loop. So you can also bike the Cades Cove loop and stop by the John Oliver Place. There are car-free times, and if you have flexibility in your plans, it would be best to bike Cades Cove when cars aren’t allowed on the loop. You can bring your own bike, or you can rent a bike once you get to Cades Cove. (Because of the popularity of biking, there is a chance that there may not be bikes available when you go, though.)
You can walk to the John Oliver cabin
It can also be reasonable to walk to the John Oliver cabin, as long as you don’t mind walking around 5 miles. This will be the historic cabin in Cades Cove that would be the easiest to walk to, meaning it’ll be the shortest walk to get to. There’s a parking lot at the start of the Cades Cove Loop Road, and you can park there. And then, you can start walking to the Cades Cove loop directly to the John Oliver cabin. After that, you can make it a shortened loop by cutting across and walking on Sparks Lane to return back to where you started. Or, you can also make it an out-and-back walk. Parking lot to cabin, and back.
There’s a short trail to the cabin
Whether you’re driving, biking, or walking to get to the cabin, once nearby, there is a final short trail to get to the cabin itself. It can be accessed from 2 sides. Both sides have a trail. You can make it a loop too.
Actually, you could say it could be access from a 3rd side, the Rich Mountain Trail.
Pets not allowed on the trail to John Oliver cabin
In general, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not a pet-friendly park when it comes to hiking trails. Pets are not allowed on the vast majority of hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains, and that includes the trail to John Oliver cabin.
Side note! See the more of the Smoky Mountains:
- Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains
- Best hikes with VIEWS in the Smoky Mountains
- Best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains
- Driving the scenic route from Gatlinburg to Clingman's Dome
- Driving the slow scenic route from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove
- The big list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains
A bit of what a visit to the John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove can be like!
So you’ll start off on the Cades Cove Loop Road.
You can start to pay attention more closely once you see a sign for Sparks Lane. You’ll find the sign for John Oliver cabin shortly after that.
And then you can make the hike to John Oliver Place and walk around the grounds of the cabin!
And that’s a bit about what a visit to a historic Cades Cove cabin in the Smoky Mountains can be like!
For walking in Cades Cove, see about walking part of the Cades Cove Loop Road.
For biking in Cades Cove, see about biking the Cades Cove Loop Road.
For waterfalls in Cades Cove, see about the famous Cades Cove waterfalls hike.
For camping in Cades Cove, see about the Cades Cove Campground.
There’s also the big list of things to do in the Smoky Mountains!
HAPPY VISIT TO JOHN OLIVER PLACE!
Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky MountainsYou will want good shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.
In general, the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains will be hiking boots (more ideal) or trail running shoes (more versatile for everyday activities compared to hiking boots but still will give you advantages compared to regular shoes).
I liked wearing my hiking boots for the thicker soles (good on rocky trails) and the waterproof (water resistant) nature of them.
They were especially helpful on rainy day hikes to keep my shoes (and socks!) dry! They are also better to be walking on mud compared to regular shoes.
On rougher terrain (like the trails that are a bit rougher with more rocks), hiking boots are more ideal so you won't feel it on the bottoms of your feet as much.
If you want shoes that can work out better as everyday "out and about" kind of shoes, then you might like trail running shoes better! Trail running shoes are a little more durable than regular shoes, so they can also work out as good hiking shoes. Trail running shoes are a bit lighter weight and less bulky compared to hiking boots.
Shoe fit is very important for your feet! Be sure to break in your new shoes by walking around the neighborhood and/or at the grocery store before you go on your "big hike" in the Smoky Mountains!