June 27, 2019
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that Trillium Gap Trail will be temporarily closed through Thursday, July 11, due to hazardous trail conditions. The area received heavy rainfall over the last couple of weeks causing extremely slippery, muddy conditions on the trail surface undergoing rehabilitation.
“The safety of our visitors and staff is our highest priority,” said Park Trails and Roads Facility Manager Tobias Miller. “Dense clay soils, disturbed during the recent trail rehabilitation construction process, have become very muddy and slippery with the frequent rains and heavy visitor use on the weekends.”
Park trail crews will continue to diligently work on these sections during the closure to make needed repairs. The full closure will allow time for the trail tread to set up and harden for use. Weather depending, the trail is expected to reopen after July 11 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.