National Park announces winter closings

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced its winter season facility closings schedule. As cooler weather approaches and visitation decreases, various facilities will close, including 7 of the 10 campgrounds, and operational hours for some visitor services will be reduced.

Through the month of November, the Sugarlands Visitor Center will open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Oconaluftee Visitor Centerwill serve visitors from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Cades Cove Visitor Center will be opened daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Several of the secondary roads will close as indicated: Balsam Mountain -Heintooga Roads on Nov. 1; Parson Branch and Rich Mountain Roads on Nov. 9; Roundbottom Straight Fork on Nov. 12; and Clingmans Dome and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trails on Dec. 1.

During the winter months, the Park’s two main roads, Newfound Gap (U.S. 441) and Little River, will remain open throughout the year, except for temporary closures for extreme winter weather conditions.

The Gatlinburg Bypass, Cades Cove Loop Road, Cosby Road, Greenbrier Road, Upper Tremont, Forge Creek, Lakeview Drive, and Foothills Parkway (East and West) will open and close as road conditions mandate.

For more information on winter weather road conditions, contact the Park at 865-436-1200.

LeConte Lodge will accommodate guests until Nov. 20 when it will close for the season.

Two of the three major campgrounds will remain open all year. These year-round campgrounds are Cades Cove and Smokemont in North Carolina. Starting Nov. 1, they will be on a self-registration basis with a reduced number of available sites. Elkmont Campground will remain open through the Thanksgiving weekend and will be closed on Dec. 1.

Balsam Mountain campground is already closed for the season. The six remaining self-registration campgrounds will be closed on Nov. 1. Cades Cove Campground Store will be closed on Nov. 1 except for the vending machines, which will remain in service throughout the winter.

Seven picnic areas will remain open through the winter: Chimney Tops, Cades Cove, Cosby, Greenbrier, Metcalf Bottoms, Big Creek and Deep Creek.

The Cades Cove Riding Stables is scheduled to be closed on Nov. 5. Sugarlands Horseback Riding Stables will be closed on Nov. 1 and the Smoky Mountain Riding Stables will remain open through Nov. 25,weather permitting. The Smokemont Riding Stable is closed for the season. All five horse camps are scheduled to be closed on Nov. 12.

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