Motorists planning to travel in the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains should be sure to check on current weather and road conditions before visiting the national parks there. Snow, ice, and downed trees from a major winter storm have created dangerous driving conditions in all three major parks of the region. The 105-mile long Skyline Drive in Virginia's Shenandoah National Park is completely closed. Some sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina/Virginia have been closed or rendered unusually hazardous to drive. Highway 441 (Newfound Gap Road) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is subject to closure, especially at night, due to ice on the road.
It may take weeks before some of the closed sections can be reopened. This is especially true in the highest and coldest areas of the parks where the melting of snow and ice is slowest. Unfortunately, road conditions could significantly deteriorate in the near future, Forecasters anticipate that as much as six inches of additional snow may fall in some of the affected areas, such as the Asheville, North Carolina vicinity.
Unusually cold conditions prevail in much of the affected region. Asheville, for example, has had its longest stretch of sub-freezing weather in more than three decades.
Since it’s not possible to close all sections of park highways that have dangerous driving conditions, motorists must exercise due caution traveling anywhere in the storm-impacted region.
For additional information about current weather and road conditions in the three major parks, motorists can access recorded messages at the following numbers. The recorded messages may not provide all the weather information you need, so be sure to consult other appropriate sources.
Blue Ridge Parkway: (828) 298-0398
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: (865) 436-1200 x631
Shenandoah National Park (Skyline Drive*): (540) 999-3500
* All park facilities are closed for the winter (reopening in April). Though Skyline Drive is currently closed, it is open, weather permitting, throughout the year.