Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Some National Forest Facilities Open / Hiking Permitted

Most facilities in the national forests in North Carolina are closed due to a lapse in federal government funding.

The closure affects offices, many campgrounds, day use areas, bathrooms, shooting ranges, off-highway vehicle trails, fee areas and other facilities managed by U.S. Forest Service in the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie, and Croatan National Forests.

The following campgrounds, operated by concessionaires, will remain open.

Pisgah National Forest: Black Mountain Campground; Briar Bottom Group Camp; Carolina Hemlocks Recreation; Cove Creek Campground; Davidson River Campground; Kimsey Creek Group Campground; Kuykendall Group Campground; Lake Powhatan Recreation Area; North Mills River Recreation Area; Sunburst Recreation Area; and White Pines Group Campground.

Nantahala National Forest: Cliffside Day Use Area; Van Hook Glade Campground; and Standing Indian/Kimsey Creek/Hurricane Creek Recreation Complex.

Visitors may still hike, fish and use undeveloped recreational areas of the national forests during the closure period. No restrooms or trash collection will be available at trailheads, and visitors are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace ethics. Only essential Forest Service employees, such as firefighters, will continue working during the closure. All volunteer activities are cancelled.

Hiking in the Smokies


TBlogger said...

Jeff - My wife and I are driving 9 hour on Saturday to stay in Gatlinburg for a week. 90% of our time was planned on hiking in the National Park. You said in your blog post that hiking IS permitted during this closure. I'm assuming that we won't be able to drive to any of the trail heads. Wanted to ask if you know where that leaves us. Do you know of any trails available near the Gatlinburg area without having to drive to them? Any help you could give us would be appreciated.

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

TBlogger - just to clarify, all of the trails in the Smokies are closed - the park is completely closed.

The trails referenced above relate to trails in Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests. I assume you will be able to reach many, if not all of those trailheads.

Here are a few options I emailed to someone yesterday:

Max Patch heading towards Asheville:

There will also be some pretty good hiking at Mt. Mitchell or Chimney Rock State Parks in NC: http://www.ncparks.gov/News/main.php

Friends of the Smokies has some recommendations here:

Not sure about the Cherokee Nat'l Forest.

Hope this helps!

Catie said...

My husband and I have a 4 day backpacking trip planned for next Thursday - Sunday and a (non-refundable) hotel reservation in Bryson, NC. Any suggestions on where else in the area we can backpack for 4 days? Add to it that we started doing this last year to celebrate our anniversary as we were married in the Smoky Mountains. :(

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Catie - I'm sorry to hear that. Hopefully by then the politicians will come to an agreement and you'll be able to move forward with your plans.

However, you should probably have a back-up just in case.

I'm not a backpacker, so I can't comment on an extended trip like that outside of the Smokies. However, you ought to check out the Art Loeb Trail. I have some basic info here: http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/shining_rock_wilderness.htm

Linville Gorge is another location: http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/linville_gorge.htm

What about the AT north of the Smokies? You could include the area near Roan Mountain: http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/roan_mountain.htm


Anonymous said...


Is Linville gorge blocked off so you can't get to the trails? Wondering if their are gates or something since they are closed?

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

Anon - were you actually there, or did you specifically hear that the Linville Gorge was closed? My understanding was that it was open - but I could be wrong.

LadyGator88 said...

I haven't been able to get any infomation anywhere else so I just wanted to clarify that Whiteside mountain in Nantahala national forest is closed and inaccessible?

The Smoky Mountain Hiker said...

LadyGator - my understanding is that hiking is allowed in Nantahala NF - I can't speak to Whiteside Mtn itself, but would assume it's open as well.