Thank you for visiting!

Smoky Mountain National Park

P. Marlin November 2014


Noland Creek Trail & Lower Noland Cemetery

When traveling, I like to take opportunity to find old cemeteries. The Smoky Mountain National Park is full of old cemeteries, with some difficult to find. The Noland Creek Trail is located near Bryson City, North Carolina in the Smoky Mountain National Park. It is a beautiful trail that runs along Noland Creek with bridges, campsites, old homesteads and cemeteries along the way. It was along this trail that we found the Lower Noland Cemetery and the I.K. Stearns homestead.

Up until 1942 Noland Creek was the site of a streamside settlement, 50 or so families in scattered farmhouses and log cabins. The Tennessee Valley Authority built the Fontana Dam and flooded their road access. Rather than rebuild the road, the TVA condemned the Noland Creek community, evicted its residents, and donated their land to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Noland Creek

Just past the third bridge on the Noland Creek Trail, an unmarked (except for a no horse sign) path to the left, is the Lower Noland Cemetery (the third bridge is about 2.5 miles into the Noland Creek trail). This path leads to an old homestead and continues steeply up the side of a mountain with the cemetery located at the top on a narrow piece of land. There are twelve graves with stone markers (no names) and a few recently updated grave markers, noting the graves of the Stiles, Smith, Franklin and Baxter families.

Stone markers in the Lower Noland Cemetery

Another stone marker with plastic flowers.

A wooden cross next to the stone marker.

The graves with new markers.

A new marker for Sarah Stiles.

A new marker for Infant Smith

Trail selfie

The old homestead on the way to the cemetery belonged to I.K. Stearns. It was also used by the Park Service as a backcountry facility until the 1970's.

Related Blogs

All Smoky Mountain Cemeteries

Floyd Cemetery

Elkmont Cemetery

Bales Cemetery

Wonderland Hotel, Elkmont, Tennessee

Smoky Mountains Then & Now