Avent Cabin in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Want to explore one of the oldest remaining cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Avent Cabin is a beautiful cabin in the Elkmont section of the park that was built over 165 years ago. Though many other historic structures have disappeared, Avent cabin was preserved thanks to continual use over its long past.
Avent Cabin History
Avent Cabin was built long before the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Avent Cabin is listed on the national register of historic places and is preserved by the park service.
Humphry Ownby built this cabin around 1850 making Avent Cabin the 2nd oldest cabin in Elkmont. The nearby Levi Trentham Cabin was built in 1830, but both of these cabins are believed to be the oldest preserved structures within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The Ownbys lived in this cabin for many years and grew apples on the hillside above their home.
It is known as the "Avent Cabin" today because Frank Avent purchased it in 1918. His family descendants continued to use cabin as a summer home until the 1990s when their lifetime lease expired.
From the 1920s to the 1940s, Avent Cabin served as a vacation retreat and art studio for Mayna Teanor Avent. She spent summers in this cabin and painted watercolors of the Smoky Mountain landscape.The large window was added to let in natural light for Mayna's studio.
Like many other properties in Elkmont, this cabin was used as a summer vacation home even after the park service bought the property in 1932 for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Avents were able to secure a lease on their property from the national park and they continued to use the cabin for several decades.
This legacy can be seen in the cabin, as original rough hewn logs are contrasted with more modern additions. These additions include a large window in the main room, a small kitchen, and some modern furnishings like a metal bedframe, drapes, and a cupboard.
Where To Find Avent Cabin
Avent Cabin is located in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
To reach this historic structure, you'll have to make a short hike up Jake's Creek Trail. The trailhead for this hike is located near the Appalachian Club in Elkmont.
Directions to Jakes Creek Trailhead
From Gatlinburg, take a left at the Sugarlands Visitor's Center and drive south on Fighting Creek Gap Road. After 5 miles, turn left onto Elkmont Road. After 1.5 miles, take a left onto Little River Rd. Continue 0.5 miles and you'll pass a parking area that serves as the trailhead for the Little River Trail. The next parking area is close to the Appalachian Club and is the trailhead for Jakes Creek Trail.
Directions To Avent Cabin
The hike to Avent Cabin requires a 1.2 mile hike on Jakes Creek Trail from the parking lot near the Appalachian Club. This hike is relatively easy, but it does involve a gradual climb and some steep sections.
First, the trail follows close to "Society Hill," a group of deteriorating vacation homes from Elkmont's past as a resort community. After 0.4 miles, the trail will fork left, but continue on Jakes Creek to the right by following the signs.
After another 0.3 miles, you'll reach the junction with Cucumber Gap Trail, but continue further on Jakes Creek Trail. About 0.1 miles ahead, you'll reach the junction with Meigs Mountain Trail, but continue a bit further on Jakes Creek Trail.
Finally, you'll see a small, unmarked trail branch off from the path to the right. This leads down a steep path towards Jake's creek – this is the way to Avent Cabin. The narrow trail crosses the creek and leads up a hill to Avent Cabin that lies a short distance away from Jakes Creek Trail.
Final Thoughts on Avent Cabin
Avent Cabin is a beautiful old structure on a beautiful mountain area near Jake's Creek. Though it requires a short hike, Avent Cabin is one of the hidden treasures of Elkmont and is a great way to explore the history of this part of the Smokies. Here is a short video tour of the exterior of the cabin.
Cabins USA offers many cabin rentals in the Great Smoky Mountains that are ideal for exploring Avent Cabin and other historic sites in the Smokies!
Jakes Creek Trail
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Written by Mark Frazier