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Phase reopening starts in the Smokies

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened most trails and roads when it entered its first phase of reopening last weekend, but some areas and facilities remain closed. 

Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Laurel Creek Road, Lakeview Drive Road, Deep Creek Road, Gatlinburg Bypass and Wear Cove Road are now open. Cades Cove Loop Road will open daily at 8 a.m., with no closures for bicycle-only traffic at this time. 

Restrooms are open at Newfound Gap, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cable Mill in Cades Cove, Abram Falls Trailhead, Rainbow Falls Trailhead and at all open picnic areas. Open picnic areas include Chimney Tops and Cades Cove. The picnic areas at Collins Creek, Metcalf Bottoms and Deep Creek area open, but their pavilions are closed. 

Laurel Falls, Alum Cave and Chimney Tops Trails are still closed, as is the Clingmans Dome Tower. However, all other trails and backcountry campsites and shelter are now open, though with reduced capacity limits. Many trailheads will not be accessible due to road access. Backcountry permits are now available, but A.T. thru-hiker permits are not.

The following roads remain closed to motorists but are available for pedestrians and cyclists: Clingmans Dome Road, Elkmont Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tremont Road, Greenbrier Road, Cosby Road, Big Creek Road, Old N.C. 284, Cataloochee Road, Abrams Creek Road, Forge Creek Road, Rich Mountain Road, Little Greenbrier Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Straight Fork Road and Twentymile Road.

Visitor centers and campgrounds remain closed, but the Sugarlands Riding Stables are open. Cades Cove Riding Stables and LeConte Lodge will reopen on May 18 and the Cades Cove Campstore and Smokemont Riding Stables will reopen on May 23. The Smoky Mountain Riding Stables’ reopening date is pending. Dates are subject to change.

Special Park Use Permits will be issued only to groups of 10 or fewer for outdoor locations and durations up to 30 minutes. 

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