Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have announced the 2017 spring opening schedule for park facilities. Here are a few key dates to remember:
Roads – Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows: Forge Creek Road opened on March 10; Clingmans Dome Road will open on April 1; Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open April 7; Rich Mountain Road and Little Greenbrier Road will open on April 14; and Balsam Mountain Road and Heintooga Ridge Road will open on May 26. Due to road damage and hazard trees, Parson Branch Road will remain closed in 2017. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for bicycle use only on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 10 through September 27.
LeConte Lodge, accessible only by trail, will open on March 24. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 865-429-5704, fax 865-774-0045, or email at email@example.com. One night at the lodge costs $145 per adult and $85 for children 4-12 (tax not included). Children 3 and under are free. The price includes two meals–dinner and breakfast. Day hikers and backpackers can purchase a prepared bag lunch and snacks/beverages at the lodge.
Campgrounds open on a staggered schedule that started on March 10. See the following schedule for exact dates. Camping fees range from $14 to $23 per site per night. The park’s developed campgrounds of Cataloochee, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby are on the reservation system through Recreaction.gov for at least a portion of their seasons. Recreation.gov provides visitors an opportunity to make reservations to many federally-managed recreation areas, including National Park Service areas, across the country. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance. Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Visitors can make reservations at the five campgrounds, all group campsites, horse camps, and picnic shelters by booking sites online at www.Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground throughout the entire season. Reservations are recommended at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for the period from May 15 through October 31. During the rest of the open season, these three campgrounds are first-come, first-serve. At these three campgrounds, campers also have an opportunity to reserve a generator-free campsite. Cosby Campground, which has mostly first-come, first-serve campsites, has a limited number of reservable sites.
To see the full opening schedule, please click here.
If you plan to visit the Smokies this fall or summer, please take a few moments to check out our Accomodations Listings for a wide variety of lodging options in Gatlinburg, Townsend, Pigeon Forge and the North Carolina side of the Smokies.