Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Updates on Flood Damaged Trails in the Smokies

The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: Updates on Flood Damaged Trails in the Smokies: Great Smoky Mountains National Park crews are making needed repairs on both Chimney Tops Trail and Noland Creek Trail which received significant flood damage this winter.

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 30th, 2013. At that time, the Park's Trails Forever Crew will begin Phase 2 of the ongoing full trail rehabilitation which 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.

In North Carolina, Park crews will repair a slide area along Noland Creek Trail. In order to make the needed repairs, the trail will be closed to all hiker and horse use from April 22 - May 2, 2013 from the trailhead to Backcountry Campsite 64. Note that Campsite 64 will remain open, but Backcountry Campsite 65 will be closed during the project.

During the January 30th storm, the Great Smoky Mountains received more than 4 inches of rain in 24 hours, resulting in flooding of streams throughout the park which were already swollen from higher than normal precipitation throughout the month. Average rainfall during January across the Smokies usually averages 5-7 inches of rain, but the park received 14-17 inches of rain during the month.

Other backcountry closures you should be aware of include:

• Beard Cane Trail and campsites #3 and #11
• Hatcher Mountain Trail
• Scott Mountain Trail from campsite #6 to Schoolhouse Gap (campsite #6 is open)
• Backcountry Campsites 3, 11, 40, 54

For more information about trail closures, please call our Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297

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