Even in the most visited national park in America, roads are sometimes closed inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To help you plan your trip, we made this guide to keep you up to date on what roads are closed and opened in the Smoky Mountains!
For the latest news on closed roads and road conditions in the Smoky Mountains, check out the park service's Smokies Road twitter feed. These announcements come directly from the national park service, so it is the best way to stay up to date on current road conditions in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Tweets by SmokiesRoadsNPS
If you want information about facility and hiking trail closures, check out the Smoky Mountains road and facility closures page. Lastly, you can also call (865) 436-1200 and dial ext. 631 for road information.
This map shows major roads in the Smoky Mountains. These routes are necessary for reaching the most visited sights in the national park like Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and Newfound Gap.
Here are the main roads in the Smoky Mountains. We've included a description of each road so you can easily identify it.
These routes do not count as major thoroughfares, but they are important for reaching certain destinations in the national park.
There are many reasons why a road could be closed in the national park, but here are the main culprits.
Usually, when the national park service closes a road in the Smokies, it is either because the road is impassable or conditions make it unsafe for drivers to proceed.
When the park service closes a road or entrance into the national park, they will either close a locking gate or post a ranger to prevent visitors from entering an area of the park.
Gates are located at every national park entrance and at many road segments in the park. As a result, these gates are an effective way to keep motorists off closed roadways. Once road conditions improve or the park service is able to clear the route, the gates will reopen and visitors are again permitted to enter this section of the park.
When there is a road closure in the national park it can really put a damper on your vacation plans. After all, you can't make it to beautiful sights like Cades Cove or a popular trailhead if the roads are impassable.
The amount of time it takes to reopen a road depends greatly on conditions inside the national park and the road's relative importance.
For example, US Hwy 441 (Newfound Gap Road) is an important route through the mountains and the park service works to keep this road clear during the winter months. Another road like Cherokee Orchard Road near Gatlinburg is likely to be a lower priority since it does not serve as a major thoroughfare.
The park service does an excellent job keeping roads safe and open for motorists. In all likelihood, the part of the park you want to access will be open before long.
The 2012 "El Derecho" storm event in the Smokies is an excellent example of how quickly the national park service responded to road closures in the Smokies. Though much of the park was effected by downed trees, many roads in the park were reopened in a matter of days.
A road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park could be closed at any time of year, but there are certain seasons when road closures are most likely.
Typically, the national park sees more road closures during the winter months when the Smoky Mountains can receive snow and icy precipitation. This is especially true for high elevation regions of the national park like Newfound Gap, which has around 69" of snowfall annually.
During other times of the year, road closures can be caused by rock slides, flooding, downed trees from wind storms. These events are typically more limited in their scope than a major winter weather event.
We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to the Smoky Mountains national park! Please note that road closures in the park are usually rare and are short in their duration.