Trail: Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail
Surface: Mountain Trail, Packed Dirt, Roots, and Rocks
Distance: 0.8 mile
Time: 30 minutes
Foot Traffic: Not Crowded
Restrooms: Twin Creeks Picnic Pavilion at the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park (backcountry regulations)
Highlights: Historical Places, Wildflowers, Stream, Cascades, Footbridge
Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail Trailhead
Nature Trail Guides
The Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail is located near Gatlinburg on Cherokee Orchard Road a mere 2.7 miles from traffic light #8 on South Parkway. Turn onto Historic Nature Trail – Airport Road and drive 2.7 miles to the parking area. The drive is seven or eight minutes, maximum.
A nature trail guide is available for 0.50 cents at the trailhead. As always, the honor system is in place, so just drop your coins into the deposit box and take a guide.
Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail Description
The surface of the Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail is a mixture of packed dirt, large roots, and rocks. Some of the rocks are considerable in size; enough for someone to climb on top.
Over the years, erosion exposed the root systems of many trees on the trail. The combination of rocks and roots make walking a chore at times. Regardless, the walk is not difficult, just be careful and wear proper shoes/boots.
Trailhead of Noah “Bud” Ogle Trail | Photo: Marc Bowman
The photo shows the beginning of the Noah “Bud” Ogle trail in front of his ancestral home. Note the large roots and rocks.
The 30 minutes allotted for walking the trail does not take into consideration the time needed for looking at the historic buildings. You could spend a couple of hours in total depending how closely you examine the old structures.
In the spring, wildflowers are in abundance.
IMPORTANT: The area surrounding the Noah “Bud” Ogle farm is a black bear habitat. The last time we visited, a young couple returning from the trail said they had seen a mother bear and her cubs just off the trail.
They were fleeing for safety. Another young couple began to run toward the bears. Both of their responses were wrong. Do you know what to do if you encounter a black bear? You need to know.
RELATED: “What to Do If You Encounter a Black Bear“
Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail Background
In the early 1800’s, Tennessee remained in the frontier stages of her history. Cherokee Indians still lived in these mountains, but not many Euro-Americans.
Martha Jane Huskey Ogle, her 7 children, and a few relatives, left South Carolina in 1807 to rebuild their lives. They proceeded to the “land of paradise” acquired by her recently deceased husband.
The Ogle family became the first to settle in the area. Soon they named the place “White Oak Flats” after the extensive number of white oak trees.
Controversy with Names
Radford Gatlin, a later addition to the community and controversial figure, renamed the town after himself. He opened a post office in his general store and named it Gatlinburg. Even though residents ran Gatlin out of town after the Civil War, they retained the name of Gatlinburg.
Speaking of names, a discrepancy exists about whether or not the family name of Martha Jane Huskey was “Ogle” or “Oglesby”.
Some claim she shortened the name to Ogle after arriving, while other sources indicate her name was Ogle from the beginning. Regardless, there are plenty of Ogles and Oglesbys throughout East Tennessee.
Noah “Bud” Ogle Farm
Noah “Bud” Ogle descended from this family and started his farm on 400 acres in 1879. The Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail runs through a small area of the original property.
Looking Through Bud Ogle’s Window | Photo: Colonel John Britt
At the trailhead, the Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin sits not far from the road. The Ogles built this house in stages. As the family needed more room, they built additions.
This particular structure is called a “saddlebag cabin” since it resembles a saddlebag. A stone fireplace is the centerpiece of the home with a room built on either side.
Two other structures still exist on the property, a barn and a tub mill. The barn is the only four-pen barn left in the park. Time, nature, and a lack of preservation efforts claimed the others.
The tub mill is also the last remaining of its kind in the park. Both the barn and the tub mill are interesting buildings that you can see up close along the trail.
Nearby Points of Interest
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is only one mile further up the road. This is a beautiful drive and several other historic buildings are open for touring. The Ephraim Bales Cabin and the Alfred Reagan home are just two of them. Gatlinburg Trail is another nearby walking trail.