Thursday, November 02, 2006

Visitor Center, Camping, Picnicking and Road Closures Winter Schedule for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Winter in the Smoky Mountains National Park means far fewer visitors to the park and can bring on rough road conditions due to the weather. Be advised that while there is snow on the ground roads may be closed to all traffic or may be only open to vehicles with 4 wheel drive or chains.

Weather permitting the visitor centers will remain open during the winter in the National Park. The following are the visitor centers that will be open as well as their winter schedule hours:

  • Cades Cove Visitor Center 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Sugarlands Visitor Center 8:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Oconaluftee Visitor Center 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Driving the mountains roads of the Smoky Mountain National Park can be challenging in good weather and dangerous in snow or ice.

Parson Branch Road is still closed due to pervious storm damage and both Balsam Mountain/Heintooga and Roundbottom Roads are already closed for the winter season.

The next scheduled closures are:

  • November 10: Rich Mountain Road
  • November 13: Straight Fork Road
  • December 1: Clingmans Dome Road and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

All other roads including the Cades Cove Loop Road, Cosby Road, Greenbrier Road, Upper Tremont, Little Greenbrier, Forge Creek, Lakeview Drive, Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River, The Gatlinburg Bypass and Foothills Parkway will remain open during the winter as long as weather and safe driving conditions permit.

As of November 22nd the LeConte Lodge will be closed and the campgrounds in Elkmont will close December 1st.

The Cades Cove campgrounds and the Smokemont campgrounds will remain open all winter long but all of the other remain campgrounds will be closed for the winter season.

Well you want have to swat flies when picnicking in the winter but you can enjoy a family picknic in the following open picnic areas:

  • Big Creek
  • Cades Cove
  • Chimney Tops
  • Cosby
  • Deep Creek
  • Greenbrier
  • Metcalf Bottoms

Enjoy all the peace and solitude the Smokies have to offer all winter long!

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