Monday, July 9, 2012

Smokies Publishes List of Trails Damaged By Severe Storm

The Great Smoky Mountains just published the following press release, which includes a list of trails impacted by the Thursday's storm:

On Thursday July 5th, a line of severe and fast moving thunderstorm cells struck the western half of the park generating wind gusts in excess of 70 mph. Within minutes thousands (perhaps tens of thousands) of trees fell on the roads and trails in the park. Preliminary reports indicate that the hardest hit areas stretched from Metcalf Bottoms to Abrams Creek, including the Cades Cove area.

Park staff are still working to clear roads, and have begun assessing trails, but due to the extensive and widespread damage, it may be several weeks before a full trail assessment can be completed. Trail status will be changing frequently. Please check this page before planning a hike, or stop by a visitor center, ranger station, or the Backcoutry Office for the latest information. You may also call (865) 436-1231 or (865) 436-1297.

Do not endanger yourself or others by using any trails that have been closed. When hiking on open trails, please be especially observant to the hazards associated with fallen, broken, or weakened trees and damaged tread on all trails.

The following trails have been closed to all use:

• Scott Mountain Trail
• Chestnut Top Trail
• West Prong Trail
• Finley Cane Trail
• Rabbit Creek Trail (Cades Cove Trailhead to junction with Hatcher/Hannah)
• Ace Gap Trail

The following trails are closed to horse riding, but open to hikers:

• Rich Mountain Trail
• Indian Grave Gap Trail
• Rich Mountain Loop Trail
• Crooked Arm Ridge Trail
• Crib Gap Trail
• Turkey Pen Ridge Trail
• Lead Cove Trail
• Schoolhouse Gap Trail
• Bote Mountain Trail
• Cooper Road Trail
• Anthony Creek Trail
• Russell Field Trail
• Gold Mine Trail

Hikers have reported that the following trails have significant damage. Park staff have not been able to assess these trails yet, so these reports are unconfirmed. However hikers are advised to avoid these trails until they can be assessed:

• Twentymile Loop Trail with Wolf Ridge
• Eagle Creek Trail (from campsite #90 to Spence)
• Jonas Creek Trail
• Welch Ridge Trail
• Bear Creek Trail
• Deep Creek Trail and others in that area
• Laurel Falls (above the falls)
• Cove Mountain Trail
• Goshen Prong Trail
• Noland Creek area, including Springhouse Branch Trail
• Hazel Creek Trail, including campsite #82



Chuck Allen said...

Jeff, have you heard if the AT is open through the park? I'm not getting through on the park's phone #.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Chuck - no, all I have is this list. My guess is that there are likely downed trees you would have to contend with - given that the list of trails above includes both sides of the state line. Also, my guess is that there will be more damage west of Newfound Gap than east. These are just my opinions, though. Let us know if you find anything definitive on this.


The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Chuck - just saw an update on the park with regards to trail closures:

"However hikers are advised to avoid these trails until they can be assessed:

• Appalachian Trail south of Mollies Ridge"

Hope this helps.


Chuck Allen said...

Thanks Jeff.