Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the perfect place to see Tennessee history, wildlife, (including the black bear and enjoy the beauty of the mountains without leaving the city of Gatlinburg.
The motor trail is a narrow, one-way loop road. It's 5.5 miles long and filled with wildflowers, mountain streams and a beautiful picnic area. There are lots of trees and old log cabins. Parking areas are available throughout the drive. It is permissible to walk onto the properties and tour these old historical landmarks and take photos.
Roaring Fork is home to two of the Great Smoky Mountain's most popular Waterfalls
The hike to Rainbow Falls is 5.4 miles round trip and is considered a bit strenuous. Grotto Falls, also know as "Place Of A Thousand Drips" begins at the Trillium Gap Trail head. There's plenty of wildlife along the way, so take your camera! And, as always, a comfortable pair of hiking shoes, or boots is a necessity for an enjoyable hike.
The area was the home of Alfred Reagan. He was a family man who played a vital role in the community. He worked hard and held several jobs. This man loved the Lord and served as a lay preacher. It is believed that the original structure of the house was a log cabin built sometime between 1818-1894. A fireplace was it's only heat source. In it's day, this house was considered one of the area's finest! The Reagan Place had a turbine grist mill. This was pretty common, however, it had a hand-made powered bolting machine which was an unusual feature for this kind of mill. It was believed that wheat was ground into different grades. Originally, Reagan's Place also included a barn, blacksmith shop, corn crib, store building, and a wood shed. Today, all that remains is the house and the mill.
James Wesley Bales was the owner of the Jim Bales homestead. He and his brother lived in the area from the 1860's until the 1930's. Jim later married a girl named Emma Ogle who lived in a nearby homestead. The cabin on this property was moved here by the Park Service from Sugarlands. The cabin was actually owned by a man named Alex Cole. Today, all that remains of the Jim Bales Place is corn crib and the barn.