Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
About the Authors
2017 Trail and Campsite Closings
Cooper Creek Trail has been removed from the list of trails for the 900-miler club. Although it is still maintained by the Park Service, it is recommended that hikers avoid this trail due to negative interactions with adjacent land owners.
You can combine Hike 5 in the Deep Creek area with Hike 14, starting and ending the loop with Mingus Mill Trail (16.4 miles total).
Updated List of Trail Closures (as of October 8, 2017):
Clingmans Dome Tower is closed for repairs through the end of 2017. However, the parking lot and all trails in the area remain open.
Rainbow Falls Trail Rehabilitation Begins May 8:
The trail will be closed through November 16, 2017 on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. It remains open on weekends.
Backcountry areas are still unsafe for travel following the fire in the Smokies near Chimney Top trail (known as the Chimney 2 fire). Chimney Tops Trail has reopened, as of Oct 6, 2017, although one can no longer go to the end of the trail. The following trails and backcountry campsites are closed until further notice: Bull Head Trail and Sugarland Mountain Trail from Mt. Collins Shelter to Huskey Gap trail.
The Cosby Knob shelter is closed due to bear activity. Also closed are Campsites 34, 35, 36, and 37 in the Cosby area. Campsites 17, 19, 21, 28, 90, and 92 are also closed due to bear activity. There are bear warnings for Campsites 20, 24, 66, and 113. Additionally, there are bear warnings for Russell Field and Mt LeConte shelters, and Boulevard, Middle Prong, and Little River Trails.
Ramsey Cascade Trail has reopened following repair to a damaged foot log over Ramsey Prong.
Foothills Parkway (unfinished section) - the entire unfinished section between Walland and Wears Valley is now closed to all public use due to construction.
• Scott Mountain is closed due to storm damage, from campsite 6 to Schoolhouse Gap (campsite 6 open, accessible from Cades Cove area). It is unclear at this time if the Park Service will repair and reopen this section of trail, or leave it closed permanently.
• Gunter Fork opened, but caution urged due to landslides.
The following trails have had footlogs washed out, and in times of high water, the crossings might be very difficult and/or dangerous:
Rabbit Creek at Abrams Campground
Boogerman/Caldwell Fork Trails – there is no plan at present to replace these bridges
Tom Branch Road is closed.
Cataloochee Creek road is closed from the group campground to the Palmer House.
Parsons Branch Road is closed following a washout near Sam’s Gap, and blockage by many downed trees. Standing dead pines along the road need to be removed, and is prolonging the road closure. The road is closed to vehicular traffic, but will be open to hikers and horseback riders who should assess the risk for travel as they would in any area of the backcountry. Due to the nature of wide corridor, bicyclists are allowed to use the road during the closure. Dogs on a 6-foot leash will also be allowed.
Campsite 11 is closed, but no reason is given.