Wears Valley Adventures
MOTORCYCLE TOURS, HIKING, KAYAKING, FISHING, 4 WHEELING, WATERFALL DINING, COOL MOUNTAIN CABINS
Discover Townsend Tennessee
Townsend, Wears Valley and the Smoky Mountains
Townsend has been known as the peaceful side of the Smokies for many years, a reputation well earned, but this does not mean there is nothing to see or do in Townsend.
Here are just a few things you can enjoy within easy driving distance to Townsend.
Wears Valley Visitors Center
Why Visit Wears Valley? Wears Valley, Tennessee provides a perfect place to stay when you visit the Smokies. Avoid the traffic yet be near all the Smokies have to offer. Wears Valley is perfectly situated in the middle of Sevierville Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Townsend, Cades Cove, Metcalf Bottoms and all of the areas that people who visit love. We welcome you to stay in Wears Valley.
The Appalation Trail
Though few possess the fortitude to make the complete journey, a trip on the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains provides an excellent back country experience. Even a brief walk on the trail where it crosses Newfound Gap conveys the breathless feeling of adventure.
The Logging Years
As the turn of the century approached, logging companies had discovered the rich southern Appalachian forests and set about harvesting them. The fact that much of the timber from the Smokies was felled makes the mountains an even more interesting ecological study; of the park's land, over 80 percent was once cleared of all trees, everything else is re-growth forest. If the mountains' logging could be attributed to one man, it might be Col. Wilson R. Townsend. Townsend, a successful Pennsylvania logger, was invited to the mountains by John W. Fisher, founder of the Schlosser Tannery in nearby Walland, to supply a steady stream of tan bark. Townsend purchased nearly 80,000 acres of forest for logging by his Little River Lumber Company and set up camps throughout the mountains. His base of operations was the town that carries his name today, Townsend, located on the northern border of the park.
Loggers followed the rivers and streams that mapped the area like veins. Moving upstream along the Little River from Townsend, they founded camps like Elkmont and Tremont, creating roads and railways as they went. From these camps, the loggers spread outward in search of timber. In the industry's early days, logs were simply rolled down cleared hillsides to the river where they were floated downstream to Townsend. In later days, locomotives hauled the logs more efficiently. Skidders, transported via rail, followed the loggers, collecting clusters of logs for transport. Due to the Smokies' rough terrain, a complex system of hooks, pulleys and cables was created to haul the logs through the air, placing them right beside the railroad tracks.
In its day, the sawmill at Townsend cut over half a billion board feet of timber despite being destroyed by fire three times. The creation of the national park put an end to logging in the 1930s, giving the exhausted mountains respite. But by then, logging companies were already on the move to the Pacific Northwest's verdant forests.