Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks

House of the Fairies

This old springhouse is actually part of a larger estate that dates back to the early 1900s, the Voorheis Estate. A man named Louis E. Voorheis bought and developed land from 1928 to 1944. He owned 38 acres of land in what is known as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Voorheis wanted this area to be a mountain retreat to get away from crowds of people.

Voorheis enjoyed experimenting with water power, which is probably why he chose the property where two creeks run across it. Voorheis used natural materials to convey a rustic appearance on the estate in the buildings and landscape features. The two creeks and several mountain streams that flow through the estate boundary were used in his landscape design. He built a dam for hydroelectric power. He built a water powered mill and many gardens where water features were prominent. Voorheis liked to use water features as part of the landscape, and he built a pool, as well as the springhouse, known as the House of the Fairies. He also planted flowers, shrubs, and trees throughout the estate.

In 1933, Voorheis deeded the property to the National Park Service. In 1952, the National Park Service took full management of the property.

Twin Creeks Trail is an out-and-back trail with a roundtrip length of 4.5 miles. You’ll walk along the creek and see many buildings from the Voorheis Estate. You can walk inside and see what living in log cabins was like. You’ll also find the Natural Resources Center of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the trail. There’s also the Voorheis Estate house you can see. On one part of the creek, you can even see the water mill Voorheis built on LeConte Creek.

Voorheis Estate, circa 1927

Much of the Voorheis Estate is still present in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park today. The estate consists of the main house, 2 guest cabins, a horse barn, and an apple barn. There are also remnants of the landscape features Voorheis designed. However, the National Park Service has removed several buildings and historic landscape plantings, and a majority of the original landscape features have faded because of lack of maintenance.

House of the Fairies

The House of the Fairies is the springhouse at the Voorheis Estate. You can find the House of the Fairies in the Twin Creeks area of the park. To get to the springhouse, you’ll hike the Twin Creeks Trail, a 1.9-mile trail anyone in the family can do! You’ll have to veer off the trail a little bit to uncover this secret spot in the Smoky Mountains, but it will be well worth it to explore the House of the Fairies.

This area, is located about a mile from Gatlinburg off of Cherokee Orchard Road. It was known as Twin Creeks Orchard because of the two creeks that run east to west on the property. To get to the House of the Fairies, you will have to hike the Twin Creeks Trail. To get to the trailhead, you can park at Ogle Place Parking area to start at one side of the trail or at Mynatt Park on the other side of the trail just before the entrance to Cherokee Orchard Road. From there, you’ll have to walk up the road to get to the trailhead.

As you’re walking along Twin Creeks Trail and you pass the Resource Center, you’ll see a small path jutting off from Twin Creeks Trail. Follow this trail to get the Fairy House. Once you get to the House of the Fairies, you’ll see an arch wall with a simple open door, with stairs leading to the top. You can go inside the springhouse. The exterior and interior are completely constructed of stone. The stone is covered in moss, which is probably why it was named the House of the Fairies!

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