What once was a thriving mecca for moonshine and timber, Lost Cove is now a ghost town deep in the Pisgah National Forest. Located along the banks of the Nolichucky River in Yancey County, it is estimated around 100 people used to call this town home. Now, all that remains are abandoned homes, rusted cars, crumbling rock walls, and the tombstones of former residents from over a century ago.
So what happened?
In the late 19th and early 20th century the town prospered from farming and logging operations. This brought the railroad into the Blue Ridge community, and with it, more residents. During prohibition the area became a haven for moonshine producers. Due to it’s proximity along the North Carolina and Tennessee border, local law officials couldn’t agree on who had jurisdiction to police the area, which emboldened moonshiners to move to the region for production.
Eventually the timber from logging operations ran low, which led to the decision to halt the railroad service that brought passenger trains through the area. Despite a wagon road, a proper road was never built, and the loss of train service isolated the town residents making it difficult to receive supplies. All of that, combined with the area’s rough terrain, led to a gradual departure of residents until the last known family left in 1957.
Many of the structures that were left behind were consumed by a fire in 2007. However all was not lost (pardon the pun), and adventurous hikers can still find the ruins tucked deep in the forest. You can visit the remains, but only by hiking into the area. There are a couple of ways into the cove, but each requires a full day of in-and-out hiking. The slope can be rather steep in some areas as well so expect dramatic elevation changes.
Enjoy these photos taken by local photographer Adam Duff on his recent journey to Lost Cove.