Two popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are going to be closed for a while so crews can repair damage caused by flooding this winter.
In North Carolina, crews will repair a slide area along Noland Creek Trail. To make the needed repairs, the trail will be closed to all hiker and horse use from April 22 – May 2 from the trailhead to Backcountry Campsite 64. Campsite 64 will remain open, but Backcountry Campsite 65 will be closed during the project.
In Tennessee, the popular Chimney Tops Trail has been closed since January when high waters destroyed the pedestrian bridge across Walker Camp Prong at the beginning of the trail. Crews are working to replace the 70-foot-long bridge to allow trail access and estimate reopening the trail by June 30.
At that time, the park’s Trails Forever Crew will begin Phase 2 of the ongoing full trail rehabilitation. That work will necessitate closing the trail each Monday through Thursday from Monday, July 1 through Thursday, October 17, while the trail continues to undergo a major facelift.
During the rain event on January 30th, the park received more than 4 inches of rain in 24 hours. That deluge resulted in flooding of streams throughout the park, which were already swollen from higher than normal precipitation throughout January.
Average rainfall during January across the Smokies averages 5-7 inches, but the park received 14-17 inches of rain this January.