A Haunting Vacation: Ghosts of the Great Smoky Mountains

Ghost stories and haunted houses have been a part of American culture for hundreds of years. These stories provide thrills and chills, and many love sitting around a campfire listening to the storyteller share their scariest tale. An anticipated ending, the unexpected flashlight hoisted into speaker’s face, and the peak of horror has become a tradition for story lovers everywhere.

Whether you believe these tales to be true or not, Tennessee has plenty of haunted history – hauntings based on real people and actual events. Many of these haunted accounts are well-founded and interest ghost hunters from all over. Where do these hauntings occur? The areas surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains remain some of the most haunted in the state. Some regional ghosts tours have even earned top honors as some of the best in the U.S.. Additionally, all of these attractions are open year round.

Ghosts of the Smokies: Popular Places and Other Spooky Things to Do

Ghost Tours Gatlinburg TN

Photo: Bryan Sherwood

Take a Ghost Tour

Grab a lantern and take a nighttime Gatlinburg GhostWalk tour through grave sites, houses and other haunted buildings, some predating the Civil War. Learn about history and ghostly tales from researchers and scientific investigators. All stories are original and true, and many include Cherokee tribe and early settlement history. Tours are available for couples as well as large and small groups.

When in the area, the Dandridge GhostWalk tours the state’s second-oldest town. See nearly a dozen sites, including a historic cemetery the company calls “very spirited.” Dandridge is a quick drive from Pigeon Forge and offers its own haunted legends and history.

Ghosts Smoky Mountains TN mansion

Photo: Erica…M

Scream in a Haunted House

Those who love a traditional haunted house experience must see Mysterious Mansion, Gatlinburg’s original haunted house. Guests can tour this three-story house full of secret passageways and actors who delight in scaring everyone. Take caution though because some people get lost in this top attraction. Others have reported that the attraction houses a ghost as well.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, another top-rated attraction, takes visitors through 10,000 square feet of actors and scary scenes. Some oddities include shrunken heads, themed exhibits and a spinning vortex tunnel the Odditorium.

Take a Drive

While in Gatlinburg, take a scenic car ride along Roaring Fork Motor Trail. During the day, this route features waterfalls and scenic trees. However at night, some claim to have met Lucy, a local spirit. According to legend, she passed away in 1909, but still asks visitors for a ride.

Ready to grab the camera and head out for a ghostly adventure? Find where to stay in the Smoky Mountains.