The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been completely closed off to the public as of January 15, due to hazardous weather conditions.
The closure encompasses a wide array of park roads, including the vital Newfound Gap/U.S. 441, a key route connecting Cherokee in North Carolina to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Other significant closures include popular areas like Little River, Gatlinburg Bypass, Cherokee Orchard at the park boundary, Laurel Creek, Cades Cove Loop, Upper Tremont, Foothills Parkway East and West, Wears Cove Gap, Old N.C. 284, Lakeview Drive, Greenbrier, Cataloochee Entrance, and Tom Branch.
In addition to the road closures, all park facilities, including visitor centers, will remain shut on January 16.
Despite the widespread closures, park staff are maintaining access to certain areas. The Spur and Newfound Gap Road from Cherokee to Towstring, and from Gatlinburg to Sugarlands, remain accessible, ensuring that some parts of the park are still reachable for those nearby.
The park’s rangers and road crews are diligently assessing the situation to determine when it will be safe to reopen the roads. The park has committed to providing updates on its website and social media platforms, with an updated news release expected early on January 16.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, known for its vast and rugged terrain, covers half a million acres across the Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee border. It is renowned as the most visited park in the National Park Service, attracting millions of visitors annually, contributing significantly to the outdoor recreation industry.
Meanwhile, the Blue Ridge Parkway, another popular destination within the National Park Service, is facing similar closures in Western North Carolina. The only section remaining open is the Asheville corridor, stretching from Milepost 382 at U.S. 70 and the Folk Art Center to MP 393/U.S. 191/Brevard Road at the N.C. Arboretum.