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Great Smoky Mountains National Park Updates

leah kirk

Temporary and seasonal closures and construction projects include:

Parsons Branch

Foothills Parkway (unfinished section) - the entire unfinished section between Walland and Wears Valley is now closed to all public use until 2018 due to construction.

Blue Ridge Parkway - for information about parkway closures, please call (828) 298-0398 or visit the parkway's website at

For information about seasonal closures, including Clingmans Dome, Rich Mountain Road, Parson Branch Road, and others during the winter months, please see:

Backcountry trails and campsites:

 Bear Closures - areas that are closed due to bear activity. Sites #9, #19, #21, #24, #34, #36, and #37

Bear Warnings - areas where bears are active

Russell Field Shelter and Mt. LeConte Shelter

Sites #10 and #38

Abrams Falls Trail

Other Backcountry Closures and Warnings

The Appalachian Trail between Low Gap and Cosby Knob Shelter is closed to horse traffic until further notice due to a compromised retaining wall. It remains open to hikers at this time but they are advised to exercise caution when passing through this section.

Rainbow Falls Trail is closed May 8 - November 16, 2017 Monday 7:00am through Thursday 5:30pm weekly for trail maintenance.

The following trails are closed due to fire or storm damage until further notice: Chimney Tops Trail, Road Prong Trail, Sugarland Mountain Trail from Mt Collins Shelter to the junction with Huskey Gap Trail, Rough Creek Trail, and Bull Head Trail.

Scott Mountain Trail is closed from campsite #6 to Schoolhouse Gap. Campsite #6 is open.

Backcountry Campsite #11 is closed.

Trail Cautions

Cosby Nature Trail was impacted by flash flood, resulting in a bridge being washed out. While the trail remains open, hikers need to be prepared to ford the stream.

Rabbit Creek Trail - the bridge where the trail crosses Abrams Creek is out. This is a wide crossing that may be deep during high water events.

Boogerman/Caldwell Fork trails - several bridges are out. No schedule for repairs at this time. Trails are open, but be prepared to ford the streams.

Enloe Creek Trail - the footbridge crossing Enloe Creek has washed out. The steel bridge crossing Raven Fork is not affected.

Trails throughout the park have downed trees due to severe storms. Please see the list of closed trails above. Other trails may have areas that are difficult to negotiate due to downed trees.

Boat shuttles to and from Hazel Creek when lake levels are low are from the Ollie Cove Trailhead on the Hazel Creek embayment. Ask the shuttle service about this when making a reservation to be dropped or picked up. This is due to a bridge that is out of service on Hazel Creek and adds about 1/2 mile to the hike. Trail signs are in place to direct you from the Hazel Creek Trail and Lakeshore Trail intersection to Ollie Cove Trail that is one mile east on Lakeshore Trail from Hazel Creek.

In related news, prosecutors have dropped arson charges against two juveniles in connection with the Gatlinburg wildfire that killed 14 people and tore through thousands of homes and businesses in November, a law enforcement official said Friday. In December, Dunn announced charges of aggravated arson against the juveniles in connection with a fire in the remote Chimney Tops area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that officials have said blew several miles into Gatlinburg, ravaging the vacation town.