GSMNP announces spring opening schedule

Photo courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

(WVLT) -- Springtime is in full swing and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is ready for the 2019 season to begin.

Park officials have finalized the 2019 spring opening schedule for park facilities. Most campgrounds, picnic areas, and roads will open this Friday, April 19, in time for Easter weekend, while the remainder of the facilities will open between Friday and Memorial Day weekend.

“Our staff has worked diligently over the last several weeks to complete the hiring process for our seasonal workforce and ready facilities for openings across the park,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash in a news release. “In addition to de-winterizing water treatment and waste-water systems, crews have been busy clearing fallen trees and limbs from multiple wind events this winter. I’m proud of our staff for their exceptional efforts in preparing the park for the upcoming season.”

Big Creek, Cosby, Cataloochee and Deep Creek campgrounds will open April 19, while Abrams Creek campground will open April 26. Elkmont and Balsam Mountain campgrounds will open in May.

In a statement from the national park, the roads will open as follows:

"Clingmans Dome Road opened on March 30; Rich Mountain Road, Forge Creek Road, Little Greenbrier Road, and Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open on April 19; Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail will open May 1; and Balsam Mountain Road and Heintooga Ridge Road will open on May 17. Due to road damage and hazard trees, Parson Branch Road will remain closed in 2019. Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for bicycle use only on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 8 through September 25."