(GSMNP press release) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that Trillium Gap Trail will remain closed until Friday, July 19 due to expected periods of heavy rain in the forecast over the next several days. The trail has been temporarily closed since June 23 because of extremely muddy conditions along trail sections undergoing rehabilitation. Over the last few weeks, park crews have been making improvements to harden these areas for use by re-sloping the trail surface and adding gravel in problem areas.
Weather permitting, the trail will reopen on Friday, July 19 for weekend use each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and on federal holidays through November 15. The trail and associated parking lot along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will continue to be closed during this time period on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly.
This rehabilitation project started on May 13 as part of the park’s Trails Forever program. The trail crew, youth corps, and volunteers have made excellent progress along the trail this season. At this time, this additional stabilization work is not expected to affect the overall timeline for the 2-year project.
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 is no access to Grotto Falls during the trail 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.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated over $1,500,000 to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for highly skilled trail crew members to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge trails. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers and interns to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.
Volunteer work days for the Trails Forever program are held every Wednesday, May through August. Prior registration is required. Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or email@example.com for more details and to register.