Mayna Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Mayna Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

This is a short, sweet hike with a special and nearly secret destination. Jakes Creek Trailhead is the starting point, which is found by turning left just before entering the Elkmont campground. Go on past the first parking area for the Little River Trail, to the new parking area near the old Elkmont cabins. Walk up the road to find the Jakes Creek Trail sign. Continue on Jakes Creek Trail, passing the Cucumber Gap trail at .3 miles, also passing the Meigs Mountain Trail at .4 miles. Go another quarter mile or so and watch carefully for the wooden steps (see photo below) leading to the right and down the hill towards Jakes Creek. No sign will indicate the trail to this hidden Smoky Mountain gem. The trail continues down to a footbridge crossing the creek, and just up a short incline the cabin comes into view.

Jakes Creek Trail

Jakes Creek Trail

Mayna Avent was a Tennessee artist, living from 1868 to 1959. She used the cabin as her summer studio from the 1920s to 1940s. The cabin was originally built sometime around 1850 and was purchased in 1918 by the Avent family. Mayna’s son Jim cut the large windows in the mid-1920s to make the cabin more suitable as an artist’s studio. The National Park took ownership of the cabin in 1932, but the Avent family was given a lifetime lease, and they continued to use the cabin until 1992.  Today the cabin rests peacefully on the mountainside, entertaining the occasional Smoky Mountain hiker. There is a guest book to sign, and a photo album of the cabin’s previous life as the home of an artist.

Standing on the porch, looking out over the silent mountains, it’s hard to imagine that the cabin once stood on the outskirts of a bustling Elkmont community that was replaced by the current campground.

Interior of Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Interior of Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Mayna Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Mayna Avent Cabin © William Britten use with permission only

Watch for the steps!

Watch for the steps!

Please stop in and visit me to see the complete display of Smoky Mountain Photography at the William Britten Gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.

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  1. Randy Small

    just visited the cabin today! I’d seen your blog about it when you posted it a couple of weeks ago, and decided to do Jakes Creek trail today, but didn’t make the connection between the two until I saw the cabin and realized I had seen it before. beautiful pictures – I really enjoy your work. thanks for sharing it with all of us.

  2. Bill

    Thanks Randy. Glad you found it … interesting spot but gets hardly any publicity. Bill

  3. Linda

    Thank you so much for the wonderful pics and info! Three weeks ago I was able to take a few days off work and travel to the Smokies, without any time for planning or research!! I did visit Elkmont, but had no idea of this cabin. I am planning on another trip to the Smokies in September and will put this on my list of must sees, along with your gallery! Thanks again and have a great day..

  4. Bill

    Thanks Linda!

  5. Catharine Avent Seay

    Thank you for having such passion, for a wonderful place in my heart.

  6. Bill

    Thank you Catharine … very good to hear from you. By your name, I assume you are related?

  7. Teresa Oke

    This is my favorite place to visit in the Smokies. Although I do have to say every picture I took there was loaded with orbs. I felt a calm sense of easiness and relaxation while there. It must be the artist in me knowing this was a place where such brilliant art was made! Absolutely gorgeous hidden gem! Will be going back in a month. I have read somewhere that the remnants of the old outhouse still remains in the woods. Anyone have any idea where?

    Tree in Michigan 🙂

  8. Irma & Ken McConnell

    Hiked to the Avent cabin today with two of our friends. Just a correction on the directions. After you pass Meigs trail, it is closer to 1/2 mile than 1/4 of a mile. Too bad there isn’t a sign off Jakes trail where the wooded steps are. Great hike, easy, even though you have to cross a small stream and rocks. Wear good hiking boots or shoes! Took about 1.5 hrs. to get there, but we stopped a lot to look at the most beautiful wildflowers ever!

  9. Lori opper

    We hiked to the Cabin Loved It!!!! Really have to watch for those Covered up Wooden steps or Walk right by it. I am G.S.M.A. member Could you Please put a Sign Avent Cabin at those steps pointing toward cabin. Otherwise people hike right Past it!! Thanks,Lori’s outdoor Photography pg. I posted Avent Cabin album on my front wall of my pg. It is a Hidden Gem!!!!

  10. Jeffrey Ownby

    My family and myself are going to hike up here tomorrow, we are so excited. This cabin was built by my Great Grand Father (Humphrey Ownby) and sold to the Avents in 1918. I am so glad that this was saved for everyone to enjoy. Thank you for this blog and sharing this with the world.

  11. Lisa

    After seeing this blog I decided that this cabin will be one of my hiking destinations in June.

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