Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reopens Popular Trails

Chimney Tops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

When you hike Sugarland Mountain you will be looking down on the iconic Chimneys of the Smokies!

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reopens Popular Trails! Bullhead Trail and Sugarland Mountain Trail are set to reopen after extensive fire damage in 2016. The trails will reopen Friday October 26, 2018. These are two of our favorite trails at HeySmokies.com. They offer amazing high altitude vistas with the Smokies hallmark forest diversity. Both trails are fantastic walks for viewing fall color.

These trails have been closed since November 2016 due to damage resulting from the wind event and fire damage associated with the Chimney Tops 2 Fire. Park trail crews spent several weeks this year repairing over 500 feet of trail tread, cutting 758 downed trees, removing over 20 large rootballs and boulders, and repairing and replacing 53 trail drainage structures.

The trail crews accomplished an amazing amount of work to safely repair and reopen these trails under very challenging conditions,” said
Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are excited to offer this opportunity to hikers, but also want to remind them to stay alert for trail hazards as they pass through the burned areas.”
Great Smoky Mountain Superintendent, Cassius Cash, is always happy to meet park visitors.

Great Smoky Mountain Superintendent, Cassius Cash, is always happy to meet park visitors.

Bullhead Trail begins on the Cherokee Motor Nature Trail near Gatlinburg at the intersection with Rainbow Falls Trail. The trail climbs 3,500′ steadily for 5.9 miles towards the historic LeConte Lodge on the summit of Mt. LeConte. Spring wildflowers are prolific on this hike as well as fantastic winter views. If you have never visited Mount LeConte we urge you to add it to your bucket list.

Sugarland Mountain Trail begins on the Appalachian Trail near the road to the Clingmans Dome  and ends in the Laurel Falls parking lot on Little River road west of Sugarlands Visitor Center. This 11.9 mile hike has many ups and downs and generally drops close to 4,000′ so plan on doing some climbing even if you hike high to low. The fall color and winter views are two great reasons to put this hike on your list but remember it is a great walk any time of year!

These trails pass through areas in the park which burned at a high intensity, including some sections where the entire tree canopy was lost. Hikers should remain alert for hazards such as loose rocks and falling trees or limbs and should avoid hiking these trails during and after high wind or rain events. At all times, hikers should avoid lingering around standing dead trees.

The Friends of the Smokies provided $195,000 for this rehabilitation. The donation was made possible thanks to the generous support of donors from across the country who responded to help fund park recovery needs following the wildfire.

For more information about hiking safety check out our great blog on hiking essentials or visit the park’s website at NPS.gov.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Virtual Synchronous Firefly Event
Virtual Synchronous Firefly Event...
Can't make it to the big Smoky Mountain firefly event? No problem go virtually! Virtual Synchronous firefly event to be held Monday, June 1,[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Fire Ant Invasion...
Fire ants have marched into Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Smoky Mountain Fire Ant Invasion is underway. This small intruder may pose [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Virtual Campout...
Smoky Mountain virtual campout will be fun for the entire family! Great Smoky Mountains National Park will co-host the National Park Service[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Clingmans Dome Opens...
Clingmans Dome Opens to the public for 2020 season. Clingmans Dome Opens. Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular destinations in the Grea[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Attractions Open...
Smoky Mountain attractions open after COVID-19 closures. Smoky Mountain attractions open after two months of covid-19 fears. Smoky Mount[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Opens
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Opens...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park opens with much anticipation. The Covid-19 virus pandemic forced the closure of Great Smoky Mountain[Read More >>]
Karen Pence Gets Outside Smoky Mountain Style
Karen Pence Gets Outside Smoky Mountain Style...
GSMNP Superintendent Cassius Cash welcomes dignitariies. Photo credit - GSMNP Karen Pence gets outside Smoky Mountain Style. Second Lady Kar[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Tamale Recipe
Smoky Mountain Tamale Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Tamale recipe. Homemade tamales are always a Smoky Mountain special event! Did you know that the Smoky Mountains are on the [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Phased Opening
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Announces Phased Opening...
Wildlife braces for the return of humans to GSMNP. Photo credit - myvetcandy Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces phased opening. B[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Dandelions
Smoky Mountain Dandelions...
Smoky Mountain dandelions (whose Botanical name is Taraxacum officinale) considered by many to be an obnoxious, stubborn, persistent weed are an[Read More >>]
Merle Fest Virtual Concert
Merle Fest Virtual Concert...
Merle Fest Virtual Concert scheduled. Music fans can view 2012 broadcast of MerleFest from Wilkesboro, NC. this weekend. The current pandemic ca[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event Cancelled
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event Cancelled...
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event Cancelled. National Park officials announced the cancellation of the popular synchronous firefly ev[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Eastern Spotted Skunk
Smoky Mountain Eastern Spotted Skunk...
Smoky Mountain Eastern Spotted Skunks give fair warning and provide some interesting acrobatics just before sending out a cloud of noxious spra[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Plane Crash
Smoky Mountain Plane Crash...
Smoky Mountain Plane Crash. National park officials have identified the pilot who survived after making an emergency landing in Great Smoky Moun[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail Mushrooms...
Smoky Mountain Turkey Tail mushrooms are always in season! Trametes versicolor (common name Turkey Tail mushroom) is a decomposing polypore mush[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Pink Moon
Smoky Mountain Pink Moon...
Smoky Mountain Pink Moon. The Pink Moon or "Fools Moon" will not be turning pink despite the name. April’s full Moon arrives on Tuesday, April 7[Read More >>]
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories...
Dolly Parton Reads Imagination Library Stories. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free books to childre[Read More >>]
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground...
Dollywood Cades Cove Expansion Breaks Ground. Smoky Mountain officials announced today the expansion of the popular theme park has begun. The pr[Read More >>]
Native American Fry Bread Recipe
Native American Fry Bread Recipe...
Native American Fry Bread Recipe. This bread has been sustaining Americans for centuries. The simple recipe has been handed down through the ge[Read More >>]
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
Corona Virus Closes Great Smoky Mountains National Park. GSMNP closes to support COVID - 19 prevention efforts. Park officials have closed all a[Read More >>]