• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Temporary Closure of Gunter Fork Trail

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Date: August 5, 2011
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207

Managers at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have announced that the Gunter Fork Trail between the Camel Gap Trail and the Balsam Mountain Trail is closed until further notice due to three landslides. The slides occurred during a heavy rain event on or about July 15.

The 4.1 mile Gunter Fork Trail lies in the east end of the National Park in Haywood County, NC. The Gunter Fork Trail is one route that takes users from the Walnut Bottoms area up to Balsam Mountain and Mt. Sterling, but is not one of the Park’s most heavily travelled trails. The Swallow Fork Trail provides alternative access to the same areas.
Managers have no estimate of when the Gunter Fork Trail may reopen. All or parts of five other Park trails west of Cades Cove in Blount County, TN are still closed for repairs. The trails: Rabbit Creek, Hatcher Mountain, Cooper Road, Beard Cane and Wet Bottom were heavily damaged by an F4 tornado on April 27. For the latest advice on hiking in the Smokies visitors are invited to stop at the park’s three visitor centers. Hiking information is also available by phone at (865) 436-1297.

Did You Know?

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001.

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...