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.
Visitors Urged to Exercise Caution Near Rivers
Contact: Public Affairs Office, (865) 436-1207
Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers are reminding visitors that water recreation is not recommended in the park due to numerous hazards and dangers. Weather forecasts for the Fourth of July holiday week include heavy rain and thunderstorms which can cause river levels to rise rapidly.
Serious water-related injuries, including fatalities, occur each year in the park. Over the last several weeks, Smokies park rangers have participated in multiple river rescues with local swift water rescue squads primarily involving visitors floating on inner tubes. In March, the park suffered a water-related fatality when a visitor from Ontario was swept downstream after his kayak capsized in Little River near the Sinks.
“With the forecast of rain throughout the week, I encourage all visitors to be extremely cautious around rivers as conditions can change unpredictably. We want all our visitors to have a memorable experience in the park that is both enjoyable and safe,” said Acting Chief Ranger Steve Kloster.
In June, rangers responded to several tubing accidents at Deep Creek in NC, Little River near the Townsend Wye, and Elkmont in TN. On Friday, June 29, a group of six tubers including four adults, a six-year old child, and a two-year old child were rescued after they were stranded on the opposite side of the river. The Townsend Volunteer Fire Department’s swift water rescue team led rescue efforts with park rangers to safely bring the group across the river which was a foot above normal due to heavy rains.
In addition, rangers have also responded to several incidents where visitors attempted to cross swollen rivers and became stranded on boulders in the river channel or on the opposite bank. Visitors are cautioned that river levels can rise rapidly when thunderstorms strike the Smokies. Visitors should alter their routes to avoid crossing any rising river by waiting until the river has receded or returning by another route.
For more information about water safety, including a short video, please visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/watersafety.htm.
Did You Know?
There are at least 30 different species of salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This gives the Smokies the distinction of having the most diverse salamander population anywhere in the world and has earned the park the nickname “Salamander Capital of the World.” More...