TOWNSEND, Tenn. — A popular hiking trail in Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed except on weekends from May until November.
The trail will be undergoing rehabilitation work as part of the Trails Forever program.
“The Trails Forever partnership with the Friends of the Smokies has allowed our talented trail crews to completely transform some of the busiest trails across the park so that they can be enjoyed forever,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We know that some will be disappointed by the temporary closures, but I can assure you that the long-term results are well worth the short-term inconvenience.”
Starting on May 10, the trail and its parking areas will be closed to the public between Mondays at 7 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. The trail will be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during that time period, as well as on federal holidays. The work is supposed to be complete by November 10.
Abrams Falls Trail is one of the busiest trails in the park in one of the busiest areas of the park, Cades Cove. The trail winds through a pine-oak forest along Abrams Creek for 2.5 miles before reaching the 20-foot Abrams Falls. According to a press release, the high use has severely eroded areas of the trail and they need to be repaired to improve safety and to ensure the sustainability of the trail surface for years to come.
The trail is narrow and for the safety of workers and visitors, the park decided to close it completely during the week.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated over $2 million to support the program. It has completed work on several other popular trails in the park and will perform work be working on the Noah Bud Ogle Nature Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, and Fighting Creek Nature Trail this year as well.
While the trail crews assigned to the projects are experts, volunteers are always welcome to work alongside them. Volunteer workdays for the Trails Forever program are held every Tuesday, May through August. You must register in advance by contacting Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to register.