Friday, January 27, 2012

Trail Warnings And Conditions In The Great Smoky Mountains

Trail Cautions . Warnings And Conditions

Please note that the park's backcountry is managed as a natural area where the forces of nature determine trail conditions. The following list includes some conditions that the park is currently aware of. However, hikers may encounter trail conditions not listed below that require caution. Be prepared for swollen streams, bridge washouts, downed trees, and trail erosion when hiking in the park's backcountry.

• Caldwell Fork Trail - several footbridges along the trail are damaged. Hikers wishing to use the trail will need to ford the creek.

• Trails throughout the park, especially those on the western end, have numerous downed trees due to severe wind storms. Please see the list of closed trails above. Other trails may have areas that are difficult to negotiate due to downed trees.

• Boat shuttles to and from Hazel Creek when lake levels are low are from the Ollie Cove Trailhead on the Hazel Creek embayment. Ask the shuttle service about this when making a reservation to be dropped or picked up. This is due to a bridge that is out of service on Hazel Creek and adds about 1/2 mile to the hike. Ollie Cove Trail is new - trail signs are in place to direct you from the Hazel Creek Trail and Lakeshore Trail intersection to Ollie Cove Trail that is one mile east on Lakeshore Trail from Hazel Creek.

Cave and Mine Shaft Closure

Entry into all caves and mine shafts is prohibited due to concerns about the spread of white nose syndrome among bats.

Backcountry Areas Closed

• Backcountry Campsites 3, 11 closed due to tornado damage

• Beard Cane Trail closed due to tornado damage

• Hatcher Mountain Trail North of its intersection with Little Bottoms Trail closed due to tornado damage

• Gunter Fork Trail closed due to landslides

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