Park Reopens Bull Head Trail and Sugarland Mountain Trail

October 25, 2018

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of Bull Head Trail and Sugarland Mountain Trail on Friday, October 26. Both of these trails extend from the highest peaks in the park to the lower elevations, providing incredible opportunities for hikers to enjoy fall colors over the next few weeks.

These trails have been closed since November 2016 due to damage resulting from the wind event and fire damage associated with the Chimney Tops 2 Fire. Park trail crews spent several weeks this year repairing over 500 feet of trail tread, cutting 758 downed trees, removing over 20 large rootballs and boulders, and repairing and replacing 53 trail drainage structures.

“The trail crews accomplished an amazing amount of work to safely repair and reopen these trails under very challenging conditions,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We are excited to offer this opportunity to hikers, but also want to remind them to stay alert for trail hazards as they pass through the burned areas.”

Both trails pass through areas in the park which burned at a high intensity, including some sections where the entire tree canopy was lost. Hikers should remain alert for hazards such as loose rocks and falling trees or limbs and should avoid hiking these trails during and after high wind or rain events. At all times, hikers should avoid lingering around standing dead trees.

The Friends of the Smokies provided $195,000 for this rehabilitation. The donation was made possible thanks to the generous support of donors from across the country who responded to help fund park recovery needs following the wildfire.

For more information about hiking safety, please visit the park’s website at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hikingsafety.htm.