Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park





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Liz Etnier


Mike Etnier



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2018 Trail and Campsite Closings


Rainbow Falls Trail closed M-Th March 16 – November 15


The 2-year trail rehabilitation of Rainbow Falls Trail resumed Monday, April 16. The trail will be closed on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. from April 16 through November 15. The trail will reopen to the public every Friday through Sunday during this time period.


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 January 8, 2018):


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.


Foothills Parkway (unfinished section) – construction on the entire unfinished section between Walland and Wears Valley is now complete and the road is open to all public use.


• 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:


Enloe Creek

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.