Mingus Mill

Mingus Mill is a historic and active Mill, located just a short distance past the Oconaluftee Visitors center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both the mill itself and the land surrounding the mill are beautiful.  The mill is a popular stop for people traveling through the park, and especially for photographers.


The mill is located just off of Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road).  There is a large parking area and restrooms, and Mingus Mill is just short walk down a trail from the parking lot.

Operating hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily from mid-March through mid-November.
Directions: From Cherokee, NC and the Oconaluftee visitor’s center, take 441 into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  The mill is just a few miles past the visitor center on the left.  You’ll see signs.  From Gatlinburg, TN take 441 into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Pass Sugarlands Visitor Center and travel about 30 miles through the park, until you see the signs for Mingus Mill on your right.  If you reach the Oconaluftee Visitor center, you went too far.
Things to see: Historic and operating old mill, creek and beautiful forest.  There are public restrooms here as well.

Mingus Mill History

The Mingus family moved into the Oconaluftee Valley in late 1700s.  Most historians think that the existing mill, the one you can visit today, is the second mill on this site.   The current mill was completed in 1886, and was one of the most advanced mills in the Smoky Mountains due to its use of a steel turbine design.

Mingus Mill was designed and built by Sion Thomas Early, an apprentice Millwright and native of Virginia. Early built the mill in 3 months, at a total cost of $600.00.  In 1968, the National Park Service fully restored Mingus Mill.

The Mill was the largest in the Smoky Mountains, and served over 200 families.  Some of the families would bring their corn and wheat for more than 15 miles to have it ground at the mill.

Sion Thomas Early
Sion Thomas Early, Millwright

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