News Release

Upcoming closures in Cosby and Ramsey Cascades Trail as next Trails Forever project begins

View from below of water cascading over rocks with trees and blue sky with white clouds in the background.

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News Release Date: April 4, 2022

Contact: Ashley Courtney, 828-506-0637

Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced that a two-year trail rehabilitation project will begin on Ramsey Cascades Trail as part of the Trails Forever program supported by Friends of the Smokies. The trail, Ramsey Prong Road, and the Cosby area of the park will be closed to all traffic on Wednesday, April 6 and Thursday, April 7, to allow for helicopter delivery of project supplies and materials.  Park visitors with backcountry permits will be allowed access through the closure area, but they should expect short delays when the helicopter is overhead.  The closures are necessary for hiker safety and to ensure that the flights are as time efficient as possible.  

The helicopter operation will deliver approximately 35 loads to five different drop-off sites along Ramsey Cascades Trail from a staging area located near the Cosby Picnic Area. The loads include bundles of locust logs, tools, and equipment for the project. The two-day helicopter operation is weather dependent and will be managed by personnel from Cherokee National Forest and the park. 

The four-mile Ramsey Cascade Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park and lies in the Greenbrier area. The trail provides the only access to the 100-foot Ramsey Cascades, the tallest waterfall in the park. Beginning May 2 through November 17, 2022, the trail and Ramsey Prong Road will be closed Monday through Thursday, excluding federal holidays, to safely conduct the full-scale rehabilitation work. There will not be any access to Ramsey Cascades during the weekday closures.  

The trail will be fully open Friday through Sunday each week.  

The rehabilitation will improve overall trail safety and protect the park’s natural resources. The work will consist of repairing and re-grading the tread surface, improving existing drainage, adding new drainage, covering up social trails, and removing tripping hazards such as roots and rocks. Trail structures such as retaining walls, staircases, water bars, and turnpikes will be constructed, as needed, using locust logs and native stone found onsite. 

The Trails Forever partnership program was established between the Friends of the Smokies and the park to fund a permanent, highly skilled trail crew who focus on rehabilitating high use trails. In 2012, the Friends established an endowment, now worth more than $6 million, to support the program. The effort was made possible, in part, through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation and in honor of avid hiker and Friends of the Smokies founding board member, Lindsay Young. To date, the Friends have contributed more than $2 million through the program, resulting in the full rehabilitation of Abrams Falls, Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge trails.  

The program provides a mechanism for volunteers and Conservation Corps Crew interns to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations. Volunteer workdays are offered weekly, May through November. Prior registration is required. Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or e-mail us for more details and to register. 

For more information about trail closures, please visit the park’s website at or call the Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297. 


Last updated: April 5, 2022

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