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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Spring Road Status

    During spring, park roads may close due to ice, especially at high elevation where wet roads can freeze as temperatures drop at night. For road status information call (865) 436-1200 ext. 631 or follow updates at http://twitter.com/SmokiesRoadsNPS. More »

Road and Facility Improvements

Park map showing project areas
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During 2010, over $93,300,000 worth of improvements were made to park roads and facilities. Funding for the projects became available from a combination of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (economic stimulus package) along with previously-authorized Federal Lands Highway Program funds, partner construction monies, and annual cyclic and repair/rehabilitation funds.

The following park roadways were re-surfaced and, in some cases, rebuilt using $77.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):

  • Clingmans Dome Road
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Cherokee Orchard Road
  • Smokemont Campground
  • Heintooga Ridge Road and Balsam Mountain Campground
  • Little River and Jakes Creek Trailheads
  • Foothills Parkway East
  • Cosby Campground Roads
  • The Sinks Parking Area

In addition to the ARRA-funded work, the following road projects were undertaken using $19.4 million from the Federal Lands Highway Program:

  • Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Foothills Parkway West
  • Gatlinburg Bypass and Newfound Gap Road from the Gatlinburg boundary to the Sugarlands Visitor Center
  • Newfound Gap Road from Collins Creek Picnic Area to Cherokee, NC

Stimulus funds were also made available for other facility improvement projects, including making comfort stations accessible, trail repair, cemetery maintenance, and building painting and roof repair.

Did You Know?

The park is named for the misty clouds that hang over the mountains.

The wispy, smoke-like fog that hangs over the Smoky Mountains comes from rain and evaporation from trees. On the high peaks of the Smokies, an average of 85 inches of rain falls each year, qualifying these upper elevation areas as temperate rain forests. More...