Trillium Gap trail closure for renovations in Great Smoky Mountains.
Smoky Mountain Trillium Gap Rehabilitation Closes Trail. Beginning May 13, 2019 work begins on improving the much loved Trillium Gap trail. This trail is one of our favorite routes to the summit of Mount LeConte. Park officials announced the 2-year project will begin next week. Due to the construction process on the narrow trail, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. The trail and associated parking lot along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail near Gatlinburg will be closed May 13 through November 15, Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and on federal holidays.
Trillium Gap Trail is one of the busiest trails in the park as it provides access to the popular Grotto Falls and the summit of Mt. Le Conte. There will not be any access to Grotto Falls during the weekday closures. Hikers can still reach Mt. Le Conte, LeConte Lodge, and the Le Conte Shelter by using one of the other four trails to the summit including the recently restored Rainbow Falls and Alum Cave Trails.
“We recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Trails Forever partnership with the Friends of the Smokies and I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing work accomplished by our crews, youth interns, and volunteers in transforming trails across the park,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “While we hate to disappoint hikers with weekday closures, the results are well worth the inconvenience and allow us the opportunity to continue to protect these special places for generations to come.”
The trail crew will focus efforts at several spots along the entire length of the trail. The work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by improving the tread surface, reducing trail braiding, and improving drainage to prevent further erosion. There are several areas along the trail where erosion and small landslides have damaged significant sections, making the trail difficult to follow. Trail crews will also perform critical trail work in other areas of the park as part of the Trails Forever program including rehabilitation along Deep Creek Trail, Rough Fork Trail, Smokemont Trail, and Noah Bud Ogle Trail.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. Friends donation exceed $1,500,000 supporting the program. Knoxville based Aslan Foundation has been a key partner. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for highly skilled trail crew members to focus efforts on high use trails in the park. The targeted trails include Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge trails. The program also provides a way for volunteers and interns to work alongside the crew. Volunteers will assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.
Volunteer work days for the Trails Forever program are held Wednesdays, May through August. Prior registration is required. Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or Adam for more details and to register.