Trail Openings and Closings in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Visitors should be aware of some recent trail openings and closings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail reopens just as Alum Cave Trail closes on weekdays until November 19, 2015 for needed restoration work.

roaring-fork-motor-trail-new-bridge-heysmokies

One of eight new bridges on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a unique 5.5 mile, one-way road through a very beautiful slice of the National Park and provides access to several trails leading to the summit of Mt. LeConte and LeConte Lodge. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail leads you into a majestic, natural sanctuary just three miles from downtown Gatlinburg.

Directions to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

At traffic light #8 on the Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, turn onto Historic Nature Trail-Airport Road. Keep right past the turnoff to the left to the Park Vista Hotel and enter the National Park on Cherokee Orchard Road. You’ll pass the Noah “Bud” Ogle Self-Guiding Nature Trail. Go another half-mile to reach the entrance to the auto trail through the historic Roaring Fork Community.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Highlights

  • Experience Forest Communities of Cove Hardwood, Pine-Oak and Old-Growth Hemlock.
  • Visit Historic Farmsteads: Ephraim Bales Place and Alfred Reagan Place.
  • See “Place of  a Thousand Drips” Waterfall.
  • Rainbow Falls Trail and Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls.
  • Note: Large motor homes, buses and trailer are prohibited.

PrintAlum Cave Trail will be open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as the Trails Forever Crew work during the week to restore several locations along the five-mile trail.

The summit of Mt. LeConte, LeConte Lodge, and the LeConte Shelter can still reached by hiking one of five other trails, three of which are accessed via Cherokee Orchard Road which leads to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Rainbow Falls Trail – 6.6 miles from the Rainbow Falls Parking Area on the Cherokee Orchard Road to the summit of Mt. LeConte. Rainbow Falls is 2.7 miles from the trailhead.

Trillium Gap Trail – 8.7 miles from Rainbow Falls Parking Area on the Cherokee Orchard Road to the summit of Mt. LeConte. Grotto Falls is 3.5 miles from the trailhead.
 The Boulevard Trail via The Appalachian Trail – From Newfound Gap hike north on the Appalachian Trail for 2.7 miles, then hike 5.3 miles on the Boulevard Trail to the summit of Mt. LeConte.
Bull Head Trail – Accessed via Old Sugarlands Trail near the Rainbow Falls Parking Area on the Cherokee Orchard Road. Walk .4 miles on Old Sugarlands Trail to Bullhead Trail. Then walk 6.4 miles to the summit of Mt. LeConte. Many folks hike up to Mt. LeConte on Rainbow Falls Trail and return on Bull Head Trail for a nice loop walk.
Brushy Mountain Trail via Porters Creek Trail – Porters Creek Trail begins in the Greenbrier section of the National Park located off U.S. Highway 321 about six miles east of Gatlinburg. Travel approximately 4.1 miles down Greenbrier Road to a traffic loop with a gate and trail sign. Walk 1 mile on Porters Creek Trail, then 4.5 miles to the intersection with Trillium Gap Trail with the summit of Mt. LeConte in another 3.6 miles.

Parking is limited at all of these trailheads so carpooling is greatly encouraged.

For more information about the restoration project for Alum Cave Trail visit www.nps.gov.

 

 

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Winterfest
Smoky Mountain Winterfest...
Smoky Mountain Winterfest begins November 22, 2019 and runs through February 15, 2020. This celebration of light gives our mountain communities [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Southern Mac And Cheese Recipe is the perfect side dish for any meal and sometimes it is a great meal all by itself. All you [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020...
Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly Event 2020. It’s never to early to start making plans to see the Synchronous Fireflies (and the Blue Ghost Fi[Read More >>]
Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event
Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event...
  Biltmore Downton Abbey Exhibition Special Event will be featured through April 7, 2020. Costumes, sets and more are part of the new Down[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is heating up in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The fall mating season begins each year around mid-September and is [Read More >>]
Dollywood Light The Way 5K
Dollywood Light The Way 5K...
Dollywood Light The Way 5K is scheduled for Friday November 15, 2019 at Dollywood. This annual event is celebrating its seventh year running. Th[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Full Beaver Moon
Smoky Mountain Full Beaver Moon...
Smoky Mountain Full Beaver Moon is set to rise November 12, 2019. There is no place more special to view the rise of a full moon than Great Smok[Read More >>]
Don't Feed The Bears Event
Don't Feed The Bears Event...
Don't Feed The Bears Event benefitting Appalachian Bear Rescue will be Saturday, November 16, 2019. The event will be held at the Enchanted Vall[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Stargazing Event
Smoky Mountain Stargazing Event...
Great Smoky Mountains Stargazing Event will be held at the Highlands Science Learning Center Friday, November 15, 2019 in North Carolina. The Hi[Read More >>]
Apple Dapple Cake Recipe
Apple Dapple Cake Recipe...
Apple Dapple Cake Recipe. Fall is one of our favorite times of the year in the Smoky Mountains. With the cooler temperatures comes the annual ap[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories...
Smoky Mountain Ghost Stories. The Smoky Mountain region is steeped in strange and unexplainable occurrences that some say are supernatural. We h[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Update
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Update...
Smoky Mountain Campfire Ban Update. As of October 22, 2019 the Great Smoky Mountains National Park backcountry campfire ban has been cancelled. [Read More >>]
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk...
Appalachian Bear Rescue's Bearly 5K Run/Walk Saturday October 26, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. This fun family event will begin at the ABR Visitor and Edu[Read More >>]
Dollywood Fall Fun Events
Dollywood Fall Fun Events...
Dollywood Fall Fun Events! Everyone is invited to “get their fall on ya’ll” at Dollywood’s annual Harvest Festival. Dollywood’s Harvest Festival[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon...
Smoky Mountain Hunter's Moon is on the rise this month. This full moon is often called the Blood Moon, Sanguine Moon and the Full Hunter's Moon.[Read More >>]
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains...
Priceless Historical Heirlooms Return To Great Smoky Mountains. Millions of national park visitors visit the Dan Lawson homestead in Cades Cove [Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bans Backcountry Campfires
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Bans Backcountry Campfires...
Great Smoky Mountains National Park bans backcountry campfires. Park officials have placed the ban due to recent drought like conditions in the [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Poets
Smoky Mountain Poets...
Smoky Mountain Poets. These mountains have inspired generations to express themselves through songs, deeds and words. Remarkable words that tran[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod...
Smoky Mountain Goldenrod. Of all the wildflowers that grace the fields in late summer and fall, probably none is more misunderstood than goldenr[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted...
Great Smoky Mountains Fantastic Fall Foliage Forecasted. Leaf peeping is always a Smoky Mountain special event! A fantastic display of fall foli[Read More >>]