Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials continue preparations for Hurricane Florence and have announced road and facility closures beginning Saturday, September 15. Predictions from the National Weather Service indicate Florence will be a tropical depression rated-storm when she reaches the Smokies beginning as early as Saturday evening. Officials anticipate sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts Saturday afternoon and into Monday, with the most severe weather predicted for Sunday. Rainfall amounts of 4-8 inches Saturday afternoon through Monday evening are estimated, with higher rainfall amounts possible for the North Carolina side of the park. Due to the potential for hazardous conditions due to downed trees, flooding, and landslides the following closures will be put into effect out of concern for public safety.
Closing Friday, September 14, 2018
• Heintooga/Balsam Mountain
Front Country Campgrounds
• Balsam Mountain
• Round Bottom
- North Carolina
• Balsam Mountain Road
• Heintooga Ridge Road/Round Bottom Road/ Straight Fork Road
Closing Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm (unless noted)
• Big Creek, Cosby, and Greenbrier
Front Country Campgrounds
• Abrams Creek, Big Creek, Cataloochee, and Cosby
• Big Creek and Cataloochee
• Abrams Creek Road
• Cosby Access Road
• Foothills Parkway East
• Foothills Parkway West, from Look Rock to Hwy 129 – at 8 pm
• Greenbrier Road
• Newfound Gap Road, from Sugarlands Visitor Center to Newfound Gap – at 8 pm
• Ramsey Cascade Road including Ramsey Cascade Trail
• Rich Mountain Road- at 8 pm
• Tremont Road (Upper) from Tremont Institute to Middle Prong Trailhead- at 8 pm
• Wear Cove Gap Road- at 8 pm
Roads - North Carolina
• Cataloochee Entrance Road
• Clingmans Dome Road- at 8 pm
• Newfound Gap Road, from Smokemont to Newfound Gap- at 8 pm
• NC Hwy 284
• Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center at Purchase Knob
• Appalachian Clubhouse- after last reservation
• Clingmans Dome Information Center-at 8 pm
• Leconte Lodge
• Spence Cabin- after last reservation
Park officials will continue to monitor the track of the storm closely. If the storm continues on its current track, additional closures may go into effect on Sunday, September 16.
Scheduled closures will make most park trailheads inaccessible. Overnight backcountry use is not recommended beginning Saturday through Monday due to the potential threat of downed trees and flooded stream crossings causing rivers and trails to become hazardous. All backcountry reservation holders are encouraged to change their itinerary or cancel their permit and receive a refund. Refunds will be available to those who are unable to reschedule their trip for an alternative date.
Following the storm, roads, campgrounds and facilities will be reopened as quickly as possible once they are passable and safety assessments have been made.
For up-to-date information about roads and trail closures, visit the park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm, follow the park on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GreatSmokyMountainsNPS, or follow “SmokiesRoadsNPS” on Twitter.