Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Tribal Water Reopening
On Saturday May 9th, phase one reopening plan for the GSMNP went into affect allowing visitors to return to many of the parks popular areas. During phase one the following roads are open: Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Laurel Creek Road, Cades Cove Loop Road (during this phase, the road will open daily at 8:00 a.m. and there will not be any closures for bicycles only), Lakeview Drive Road, Deep Creek Road, Gatlinburg Bypass, and Wear Cove Road.
Restrooms located at Newfound Gap, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cable Mill in Cades Cove, Abram Falls Trailhead, Rainbow Falls, and Deep Creek are open at this time. The Picnic Areas at Chimney Tops, Metcalf Bottoms, Collins Creek, Deep Creek, and Cades Cove are open for you to enjoy.
Backcountry Permits can be obtained beginning May 9 but Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Permits will not be issued. More information is available at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website and we ask you to direct any questions to them.
Following this announcement the Tribal Leaders along with EBCI Principal Chief Sneed announced EBCI Tribal Waters will reopen May 15th. Also during this announcement the reopening of the roads inside the Qualla Boundary were reopened May 9th allowing non-tribal travelers to access roads inside the Qualla Boundary. This announcement was great new for those looking to access Newfound Gap Road inside the GSMNP.
I strongly caution you that all non-essential businesses will remain closed inside the Qualla Boundary and access to the Food Lion Plaza is restricted to tribal members only. This means you should get gas and food before hitting the area.
The underlying news here is that you can now access some great waters inside the Smokies. Yesterday we drove Newfound Gap Road and encountered very little traffic. Most trail access areas were vacant of cars and the waters were void of anglers. The water looked great and inviting but I was not prepared plus the family was with me.
We look forward to seeing everything back to normal. That only means that several of our friends will be visiting the shop again sharing stories of success or at least a story of something. Let us know how we can help you prepare for you adventure to the area.