Winter Road Status
During winter, roads in the park may close due to snow and ice, especially at night when water from melting refreezes on roads. For road status information please call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow road updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »
Elkmont Campground Water
Due to water line construction in the Elkmont Campground, drinking water will not be available in campground sinks. Containers of drinking water will be provided to campers upon check-in. We expect full water service to be restored by March 19.
Family Hiking Programs
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1203
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is holding several family-friendly hiking programs to encourage families to get out and hike the park trails, learn new skills, assist in trail stewardship and record their results! The programs are a part of a National Park Foundation grant funded through The Coca-Cola Foundation which expands the current "Hike the Smokies" and "Adopt a Trail" programs.
Participants are asked to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots and bring plenty of water and a lunch for each hike. For more information, please visit the "Hike the Smokies" website: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hike-the-smokies.htm
Join a ranger to learn the hiking basics and exploration techniques that are ranger-tested and kid-approved. Hike is 5 miles lasting up to three hours, but participants will have the option to turn around for a shorter hike.
Join a ranger for family hiking 101. Learn the fundamentals of safe and fun family hiking as you explore the remnants of an old-growth spruce fir forest. The final destination is Andrew's Bald where hikers will experience one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the Smokies. Roundtrip mileage for this newly renovated trail totals 3.6 miles and will take from 3-4 hours to complete.
Difficulty: easy to moderate as trail has several short up-hill climbs.
Hiking made easy! Enjoy this wide, graveled trail to Schoolhouse Gap and the Townsend park boundary. This ranger led hike traces the historical footsteps of school children who walked through this mountain gap to get to school. Well known for its spectacular collection of spring flowers, this is a great trail for families. Learn the basics of safe and fun family hiking; observe nature at its finest along a small mountain stream and experience the wildlife of a pine-oak forest habitat. Roundtrip mileage totals 4.4 miles and will take from 3-4 hours to complete.
Did You Know?
An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...