Smokies Are Back! Area Update as of 5-21-2020

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The Smokies are Back! In Episode 108 join Chuck Schmidt, travel host for a journey through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as surrounding communities in the aftermath of the COVID virus.  Learn about weekly updates for attractions, hiking trails, dining, shopping and road closures. Plus, up to date information regarding the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Let’s take a look at the park.  What’s open and what’s colsed


All the visitor’s centers – Closed

Campgrounds – Closed until at least June 7th

Clingman’s Dome – Open!

Trails Closed:

All other trails and backcountry campsites & shelters (accessible from open roads) are open with reduced capacity limits

The only open roads are:

Big Creek Road
Cades Cove Loop Road (will open daily at 8:00 a.m. No closures for bicycles only)
Cherokee Orchard Road (Historic Nature Trail)
Clingmans Dome Road
Cosby Road
Deep Creek Road and Trailheads* – Down near Bryson City
Foothills Parkway
Gatlinburg Bypass
Greenbrier Road (Due to roadwork, only open to Ramsey Cascades Trailhead only)
Lakeview Drive Road* -Down near Bryson City
Laurel Creek Road
Little River Road
Newfound Gap Road
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Tom Branch Road
Tow String Road
Tremont Road
Upper Tremont Road
Wear Cove Road (Metcalf Bottoms)

The following roads remain closed for motorists, but will be open for pedestrians and cyclists: 

Elkmont Road, , Hwy 284, Cataloochee Road, Abrams Creek Road, Forge Creek Road, Rich Mountain Road, Little Greenbrier Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Straight Fork Road, Twentymile Road.

Picnic Areas that are Open as of May 23rd:

Big Creek
Cades Cove
Chimney Tops
Collins Creek and Pavilion
Cosby and Pavilion
Deep Creek and Pavilion
Metcalf Bottoms and Pavilion

Open restrooms:

Clingmans Dome
Newfound Gap
Restrooms near Cable Mill in Cades Cove
Restrooms near Oconaluftee Visitor Center
Restrooms near Sugarlands Visitor Center
Abram Falls, Alum Cave, and Rainbow Falls Trailheads
Restrooms at open picnic areas

Concession Operations are scheduled to open on the following dates: 

Sugarlands Riding Stables

Cades Cove Riding Stables

LeConte Lodge

Cades Cove Campstore on 5/23;

Smokemont Riding Stables on 5/23

Smoky Mountain Riding Stables is pending;

When you’re planning your trip, have several options in mind so that you can switch plans if an area is congested. Hikers and horseback riders should expect to encounter more debris and downed trees along trails. Our normal spring clearing operations to remove winter downfall by volunteers and staff have been delayed due to the park closure and local ‘stay at home’ orders that were in place this spring to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Open Businesses

Indeed the Smokies are back! The following businesses have reopened since last weeks update. Please note that they may have limited services and hours in addition to specific amenities and features remaining closed.

Alcatraz East Crime Museum
Big Rock Dude Ranch
CAM Cabin Crafts
Country Cascades
Davy Crockett Mini Golf Course
Gatlinburg Space Needle
Love Life Live Life
Nantahala Outdoor Center Gatlinburg Retail Shop
Outdoor Adventures
Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud Show
Pigeon Forge Snow
Pink Jeep Tours
Rip Roaring Adventures
Rowdy Bear Mountain Gatlinburg
Sevier Air Trampoline & Ninja Warrior Park
Smoky Mountain Angler
Smoky Mountain Cat House
Smoky Mountain Popcorn Company
Smoky Mountain Spinnery
Stiffy’s Ax Throwing
The Captured
The Cliff Dwellers Gallery
The Coaster At Goats On The Roof
The Spice and Tea of Gatlinburg
Zoo Knoxville

Future Reopenings

The following businesses have shared an official opening date with the public. These are still subject to change. Please contact the businesses directly for the most up to date information.

Anakeesta May 21
Pigeon Forge Trolley May 21
Buttonwillow Civil War Theater May 22
Cookie Dough Bliss May 22
Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park May 22
Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster May 22
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park May 22
Gatlinburg Trolley May 22
Ober Gatlinburg May 22
Mysterious Mansion of Gatlinburg May 22
Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies May 22
Ripley’s 5D Moving Theater May 22
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not May 22
Ripley’s Marvelous Mirror Maze May 22
Ripley’s Super Fun Zone May 22
Smoky Mountain Ziplines May 22
Tube River Rage May 22
Wonderworks May 22
Great Smoky Mountain Murder Mystery Dinner Show May 23
Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud May 23
Nantahala Outdoor Center Pigeon Rafting May 29
Biblical Times Dinner Theater May 30
Red Skelton Tribute Theater May 30
Titanic Museum June 1
Unforgettable View Massage June 1
Grand Majestic Dinner Theater June 2
Wilderness At The Smokies June 4
Country Tonite Theatre June 5
Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre June 5

There you have it, this completes my Smokies Reopening Update for 5/20/2020.

For information regarding businesses in the Smoky Mountains Area Reopening please visit: https://www.pigeonforge.com/coronavirus-updates

I’m going to be doing podcast updates every Thursday from this point on. I apologize if I got some things wrong here on this current podcast but there is a lot of information to sift through and not every business is updating their websites or Facebook pages.

Are you planning a visit to the Smokies and are wondering how to fit it all in?  Check out our sample itineraries:  https://dancingbearfoot.blog/2018/08/30/smoky-mountains-vacation-itinerary-day-1/

If this is your fist time coming to the Smokies and renting a cabin check out out blog post in what to look for when renting a log cabin.

Thank you for reading.  If you’d like to learn more about our cabin or other great things to see while visiting the Smoky Mountains please visit us at Dancing Bearfoot.com.

Like our Pizza Bear? Check out the other great artwork from Kenton Visser https://www.kentonvisser.com/

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