Trillium Gap Trail Opens

Grotto Falls is one of the many highlights of Trillium Gap trail!
Grotto Falls is one of the many highlights of Trillium Gap trail!

Trillium Gap Trail Opens after two years of rehabilitation.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials celebrated the completion of a two-year Trillium Gap trail project on Tuesday, November 10, 2020. The 6.7-mile Trillium Gap Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park leading hikers to Grotto Falls and Mt. Le Conte. The trail reopened a few days ahead of schedule following work completed by the park’s Trails Forever crew, American Conservation Experience Conservation Corps, and volunteers.  

Trillium Gap trail opens after two year rehab.
Trillium Gap trail opens after two year rehab.

Year after year, the Trails Forever crew transforms highly used, highly eroded trails into trails that will stand the test of time,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “Their work exemplifies the mission of the National Park Service by protecting these special places for the enjoyment of future generations.”  

The trail crew worked on targeted segments along the trail to improve overall safety. They rehabilitated the tread surface, reduced trail braiding, and improved drainage systems to prevent erosion. There were several areas along the trail where erosion and small landslides had damaged significant sections, making the trail difficult to follow. The crew installed 681 steps through steep corridors, constructed 224 square feet of retaining walls, dug 525-linear feet of drainage ditches, created 378-linear feet of elevated trail surfaces, installed 51 drainage features, and placed over 538 native stones along the trail to create a durable, sustainable trail corridor. Trail improvements have not only made the trail safer for visitors, but also for the LeConte Lodge llamas which use the trail weekly to haul supplies to the summit.    

Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated over $2 million to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Rainbow Falls Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Chimney Tops Trail, and Forney Ridge Trail. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations. 

In 2021, the Trail Forever crew will begin a rehabilitation project on the popular Abrams Falls Trail among other critical trail work across the park on trails such as the Noah Bud Ogle Nature Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, and Fighting Creek Nature Trail. Due to the rehabilitation process on Abrams Falls Trail, a full closure will be necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. The Abrams Falls Trail and associated parking areas will be closed May 10, 2021 through November 10, 2021, excluding federal holidays, on 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. 

Source material – GSMNP

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Hellbenders
Smoky Mountain Hellbenders...
Smoky Mountain Hellbenders are the largest aquatic salamanders in the national park. You may recognize the Hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganien[Read More >>]
Spur Tunnel Repairs Begin
Spur Tunnel Repairs Begin...
Smoky Mountain road closures set to snarl traffic. Spur tunnel repairs begin. Northbound Spur traffic will be one lane beginning January 3 t[Read More >>]
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe...
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years day? Some folk[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[Read More >>]
Christmas Cookie Recipe
Christmas Cookie Recipe...
Christmas Cookie Recipe. When the holidays arrive in the Great Smoky Mountains there are many HeySmokies sweet treat favorites but the tradition[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon
Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon...
Smoky Mountain Long Cold full moon is on the rise! Smoky Mountain Long Cold Full Moon is on the rise! The final full moon for 2022 will appe[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!...
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash! Who wouldn’t love a beautiful ornamental tree, not too large or too small, with an abundance of [Read More >>]
Laurel Falls Trailhead Closure
Laurel Falls Trailhead Closure...
Laurel Falls Trail Closure Laurel Falls Trailhead closure will begin Monday, November 7, 2022 and end Thursday, November 17, 2022. A geotech[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 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 ne[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Hunters Full Moon
Smoky Mountain Hunters Full Moon...
Smoky mountain full hunters moon HeySmokies.com Smoky Mountain Full Hunters Moon. Most of the time, the full moon isn’t completely full. We [Read More >>]
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains!...
Take a Scenic Drive on Moonshiner 28 near the Great Smoky Mountains! Perhaps no image is more stereotypical of the rural South than that of the [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Love is in the air for Smoky Mountain Elk. Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is on. The call of the wild echoes in the Smokies as Bull Elks seek mates.[Read More >>]
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains...
10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. Packing the 10 Essentials for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is like your insurance [Read More >>]
All You Need to Know About Snakes in the Smoky Mountains
All You Need to Know About Snakes in the Smoky Mountains...
Yes, there are 23 species of snakes found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but only 2 of them are poisonous; so don't let that keep y[Read More >>]
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region...
Giant Hogweed Invades Smoky Mountain Region. Giant Hogweed looms large on it's march toward the Smokies. Giant Hogweed can reach up to 20-f[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe...
Smoky Mountain Southern Fried Green Tomato Recipe is the perfect solution to all the extra tomatoes from your garden. The HeySmokies.com culinar[Read More >>]
The Big Creek Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Big Creek Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
Big Creek ranger district is found on the eastern edge of Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a small campground for 12 sites for tents onl[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens...
Smoky Mountain Parsons Branch Road Opens after a six year closure. GSMNP officials celebrated the reopening of Parson Branch Road with a ri[Read More >>]
Great Smoky Mountains  Seeks Help Identifying Historic Homesites
Great Smoky Mountains Seeks Help Identifying Historic Homesites...
Dan Lawson place is one of the many historic homesites preserved in the Smoky Mountains. Great Smoky Mountains Seeks Help Identifying Histor[Read More >>]