• Cataloochee Ranch was founded by “Mr. Tom” and “Miss Judy” Alexander in 1933 and was originally located in Cataloochee Valley.
• In 1938, Mr. Tom purchased a large part of the present Ranch property on Fie Top Mountain from Verlin Campbell, the “Potato King” of Haywood County. There was a sturdy stone and log cattle barn, now the main Ranch house, and several derelict cabins and sheds.
• The property’s 5,000-foot elevation bordering the Great Smoky Mountains National Park created the ideal combination of extraordinary mountain views and cool summer temperatures.
• Mr. Tom died in 1972; Miss Judy remained hostess, until her passing in 1997.
• Members of the Alexander family have managed Cataloochee Ranch since its founding.
Mr. Tom was working for a timber company when the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was formed and it was then he decided to operate a guest ranch in the area.
“He knew he needed a high elevation for cool days and nights, open pasture lands for the vistas and plenty of water,” said Alexander’s daughter, Judy Coker, in 2015. "This place had everything."
The centerpiece of the ranch was a barn on the property when Alexander purchased it. Coker estimated the barn dated back to 1923.
The barn was renovated to become the Main Ranch House, holding a large gathering area, indoor dining space for 60, a front desk for check in, a kitchen and a second floor for office space and guest rooms.
There is additional dining space outdoors where guests enjoy cookouts and nightly entertainment including music. Cataloochee Ranch provides not only overnight accommodations in the Main Ranch House and comfortable freestanding cabins, but also, enjoys local residents and visitors who come to the ranch for a meal, hike, horseback ride or music concert.
Since the ranch’s opening, four generations of the Alexander family have grown up on the 800-acres atop Fie Mountain, helping at the guest ranch. Tom and Miss Judy had four children, and one daughter, Alice Aumen, lives near the ranch. Judy Coker passed away in 2019.
Both Aumen and Coker played an active role in the ranch’s growth through the years.
Judy's daughter, Mary, managed the guest ranch for a while, and second daughter, Judy B., was in charge of the horse barn and related activities. The ranch has been known for its family-style of management.
Things to do at Cataloochee Ranch include mountain hikes, horseback riding, wildflower walks and birdwatching; wagon rides; music concerts; cookouts; singing around the campfire; and up the mountain, snowboarding and skiing.
Cataloochee Ranch was purchased March 30, 2020, by Cataloochee Ranch Resort, LLC, owned by Ron and Camelia Ray and David and Annie Colquitt.