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The Great Smoky Mountains National Park began reopening May 9! The reopening is happening in phases. In the first phase, many of the park’s roads and trails opened to the public. Phase 2 of the reopening plan kicked off on Tuesday, May 19. We’ve gathered as many details as we can about the reopening of the park to share with you!
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reopened May 9
On May 9, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park began reopening. According to a news release from the National Park Service, the reopening will happen in phases. The first phase included many roads and trails within the park. Campgrounds, visitor centers, and many secondary roads remained closed during the first phase. The first phase lasted about 2 weeks.
What’s Open and Closed in the First Phase?
- Newfound Gap Road: Open
- Sugarlands Visitor Center Restroom: Open
- Chimney Tops Picnic Area: Open
- Laurel Falls Trail: Closed
- Gatlinburg Bypass: Open
- Newfound Gap Restroom: Open
- Alum Cave Trail: Closed
- Little River Road: Open
- Oconaluftee Visitor Center Restroom: Open
- Cades Cove Picnic Area: Open
- Chimney Tops Trail: Closed
- Wear Cove Road: Open
- Cades Cove Cable Mill Restroom: Open
- Clingmans Dome Observation Tower: Closed
- Laurel Creek Road: Open
- Abrams Falls Trailhead Restroom: Open
- Cades Cove Loop Road: Open
- Rainbow Falls Trailhead Restroom: Open
- Cherokee Orchard Road: Open
- Metcalf Bottoms Pavilion: Closed
- Deep Creek Pavilion: Closed
- Collins Creek Pavilion: Closed
- AT Thru-Hiker Permits will not be issued.
All other trails and backcountry campsites not listed above are open with reduced capacity limits.
The following roads remained closed on May 9, but are open for pedestrians and cyclists:
- Clingmans Dome Road, Elkmont Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tremont Road, Greenbrier Road, Cosby Road, Big Creek Road, Cataloochee Road, Abrams Creek Road, Forge Creek Road, Rich Mountain Road, Little Greenbrier Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Straight Fork Road
You can find more information about what’s open and closed on the National Park Service website.
Phase 2 of Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reopening
The second phase of the reopening of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park kicked off on Tuesday, May 19 with the opening of Clingmans Dome! Second Lady Karen Pence paid a visit to the Smokies to announce Phase 2 and reopen Clingmans Dome Road and Observation Tower. The rest of Phase 2 will begin on Saturday, May 23 with the opening of all trails in the park. This means Laurel Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail and Chimney Tops Trail will be open to the public. The following roads and sites will also open on May 23:
- Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
- Big Creek Road
- Big Creek Picnic Area
- Cosby Road
- Cosby Picnic Area
- Greenbrier Road (To Ramsey Cascades Trailhead only)
- Tremont Road
The following operations are now open as well:
- Sugarlands Riding Stables
- Cades Cove Riding Stables
- Cades Cove Campstore
- Smokemont Riding Stables
- LeConte Lodge
The following roads will remain closed during Phase 2:
- Abrams Creek Road
- Balsam Mountain Road
- Cataloochee Road
- Elkmont Road
- Forge Creek Road
- Heintooga Round Bottom Road
- Highway 284
- Little Greenbrier Road
- Rich Mountain Road
- Straight Fork Road
- Twentymile Road
Visitor centers and campgrounds will still remain closed during Phase 2.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Safety Measures
Park managers are working closely with the National Park Service Office of Public Health, using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to ensure public and workspace safety, according the news release. New safety measures have been put into place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as areas reopen. Some of those safety measures include the following:
- Disinfectant fogging operations for restrooms and public buildings
- Installation of plexiglass shields at visitor centers
- Personal protective equipment requirements for maintenance workers
- New safety protocols for emergency services staff
- Reduced group size limits
Park managers will be examining each facility function and service provided to ensure the operations comply with public health guidance.
Read the full announcement of the reopening on the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Facebook below:
More National Park Updates Coming Soon
We’ll continue to update you on what’s open and closed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as information becomes available. In the meantime, learn more about the Smoky Mountains.