Thursday, October 21, 2010

Seasonal Road Closing Season

If you intend to hike any of the trails along the Balsam Mountain Road or the Heintooga Ridge Road in Great Smoky Mountains National Park before winter arrives, you have less than two weeks left before these roads are closed for the season.

Both roads are located in the Southeastern corner of the park between Maggie Valley and Oconaluftee in North Carolina. The two seasonal roads will close on Monday, November 1, and won’t reopen again until late next May.

Of course the trails along these roads will continue to be open, but you may have problems reaching the trailheads. The following trails will be impacted: Flat Creek Falls, Hemphill Bald, Rough Fork, Palmer Creek, Balsam Mountain, Beech Gap and Hyatt Ridge trails.

Heintooga Ridge Road is accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 458. This two-way road dead-ends into the one-way Balsam Mountain Road.

Balsam Mountain Road is a thrilling ride on a one-way gravel road. Along the way you’ll see sweeping mountain vistas overlooking the vast wilderness area where many Cherokee Indians retreated in order to avoid removal on the tragic Trail of Tears. The road also passes the highest picnic area in the park, which affords outstanding views as well.

Five other seasonal roads, Roundbottom, Parson Branch, Rich Mountain, Roaring Fork and Clingmans Dome Road, will be closing throughout the month of November.


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