Tremont is a treasured and slightly secret region for local families, hikers and history buffs. This area is dearly loved by longtime Smokies backwoods adventurer and probably has more interesting and controversial stories than any place in the park. Tremont has been a pioneer farming community, called Walker Valley, a key logging area and logging town for the Little River Lumber Company, a hotel of notorious fame and a Girl Scout Camp.
William Marion Walker was the first family to settle in the valley around 1859. That valley now bears their name. They had a production of many bee stands, sold honey and constructed grist mills and the farming community grew. The Great Smoky Mountains Institute is now located on parts of the Walker farmland. This center has made a significant impact by providing a first-hand experience for understanding the environment and ecology of the mountainous terrain.
The John English Logging Company cut timber in Tuckaleechee Cove in the 1880’s and 90’s. After he went out of business, Colonel Wilson Townsend formed the Little River Lumber Company and eventually the base of that operation became the logging town, Tremont, putting tree and mountain together. There are still buildings and evidence of the logging town in the woods now. The Tremont Hotel was opened in 1926 and was housing for loggers and became a location that had a reputation among the mountain people.
Thankfully, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed in 1934 and the extreme logging was finally put to an end. Now, we have the forests and trails to enjoy at our leisure. These hiking trails are really exceptional and easily accessible. Spruce Flat Falls is one of the better short hikes with a 30 foot tall waterfall with multi-tiers. Middle Prong Trail follows an old railroad bed and features 3 large waterfalls. West Prong Trail is a challenging, secluded, forested trail that is used mostly by backcountry campers that want to overnight at Campsite 18.
From the Sugarland Visitor Center just take a right on Little River Road and enjoy the next 20 winding miles towards Cades Cove. At the “Y” where Townsend and Cades Cove road meet, go left towards Cades Cove and begin looking for the Tremont sign on your left.
Come visit and explore the beauty and lifestyle of East Tennessee.
Excited about the area and want more information, visit knoxville-tn.com or call 800-747-0713.