There are many surviving examples of early European pioneer structures along the Parkway, beginning at Milepost 5.8 at the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center and Mountain Farm exhibit.
The easy Mountain Farm Self-Guiding Trail takes you through a collection of 19th-century farm buildings, and in the summer months there are often living history demonstrations. The Visitor Center exhibits represent the most complete effort at interpreting the Blue Ridge region with stories about early housing, community, entertainment, and transportation.
At the Peaks of Otter (Milepost 85.9) there is a moderate loop trail leading to the Johnson Farm, in which generations of the Johnson family lived and worked with other members of the now-vanished community.
The Trail Cabin (Milepost 154.6); Puckett Cabin (Milepost 189.9); Brinegar Cabin (Milepost 238.5); Caudill Cabin (Milepost 241) and Sheets Cabin (Milepost 252.4) are all 19th-century log cabins illustrating the occasional isolated existence of mountain residents and the efforts of the original park planners to save log structures as opposed to other types of larger farm houses they found. The Jesse Brown Farmstead (Milepost 272.5) consists of a cabin, spring house, and the relocated Cool Springs Baptist Church. The country estate movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century is brought to life at the Moses Cone Estate (Milepost 294).