Newfound Gap Road (US-441), the main route from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC, has been closed since January due to a land slide on the NC side, near mile marker 22. Park officials have reported that road repairs are on schedule and should be completed by May 15, 2013. Newfound Gap Road is open from Gatlinburg to the Newfound Gap overlook and to Clingmans Dome Road weather permitting. UPDATE: Newfound Gap Road repairs are completed and the road is now open from Gatlinburg TN to Cherokee NC as of 4/15/13.
The following roads are scheduled to open April 12:
Parsons Branch Road
The Roaring Fork Motor Natural Trail
Due to federal budget cuts the following campgrounds and picnic areas will be closed in 2013:
Look Rock campground and picnic area
Abrams Creek campground
Balsam Mountain campground and picnic area (includes Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain Roads)
Tow String horse camp (NC)
Current park road and facilities information click here.
The first few weeks of June in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Mother Nature treats us with the annual lightshow of the synchronized fireflies. There are 12 species of the flashing fireflies know to inhabit the park. The “flashing” is caused by a chemical reaction in the firefly’s body.
Thus year the City of Gatlinburg will provide trolley service to the Elkmont Campground through June 12, as park officials will close the entrance road to Elkmont to all vehicles and pedestrians daily at 5PM until midnight. Registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground will be exempt from this road closure. Due to safety concerns visitors will not be allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance.
The trolleys will pick up visitors at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center parking area at 7PM until the parking area is full or until 9PM which ever occurs first. The last return trolley from Elkmont will depart at 11PM. The roundtrip cost is $1 per person. There is no overflow parking at the Sugarland’s Visitor Center, and restrictions will be enforced, so arrive early.
It is recommended that visitors bring flashlights with red cellophane covers to reduce white light. Visitors may bring lawn chairs, and carry food & water in backpacks but these items must be able to fit on their laps while on the trolleys. There are no services available at the site and coolers, alcoholic beverages, and pets are strictly prohibited.
Officials of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park announced Wednesday that the road to Clingman’s Dome and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will remain closed.
The road to Clingman’s Dome is now scheduled to be open June 19th. The major setback on the project was the weather. The park recorded over 130 inches of snow this past winter.
The Roaring Fork Motor Trail in Gatlinburg has not set a new opening date. In addition to weather, this project has faced major delays due to the steep, narrow winding roads. Contractors have faced challenges maneuvering heavy equipment on the scenic roadway.
For complete information on park road, trail and campground closures please go to their web site.
Officials with Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced that road work on the Cades Cove Loop Road would be completed almost a month ahead of schedule. To celebrate the early finish the park will open April 24 to only pedestrians and bicyclists until noon then motorists will be allowed access that afternoon.
On Sunday April 25 the road will be open for the “Cades Cove Loop Lope” offering runners a once in a lifetime opportunity to compete in either a 3.5 mile or the full 11 mile loop. Organized by the park and Friends of the Smokies, the event will require participants to register in advance for the run. Participation fees are high ($75 for the 3.5 and $100 for the 11 mile) but all money will be used to support park projects. We have provided a link for further information on this special event, go to the Friends of the Smokies web site.
The Clingmans Dome Road will close Dec. 1 for the season as the park begins operating under its winter schedule. When the road reopens in spring, visitors will find the road repaved and new restrooms.
The Roaring Fork Motor Trail is also scheduled to close in December for repaving; the exact date has not been announced.
For further road closures in the National Park, you may visit their web site.
A massive rock slide has closed both lanes of I-40 near the TN/NC state lines. The rock slide is located near mile marker #3 in Haywood County, North Carolina.
Eastbound travelers are being routed up I-81 to Johnson City, TN and back to I-40 via Interstate 26.
Westbound travelers are advised to use I-240 West, to I-26 West out of Asheville, NC to Johnson City, TN, then take I-81 South to I-40.