The Great Smoky Mountains National Park began operating on its winter schedule Nov. 1, which includes the closing of seven of 10 campgrounds.
Through the month of November, the Sugarlands Visitor Center, two miles south of Gatlinburg, will open daily from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The Oconaluftee Visitor Center, two miles north of Cherokee, will serve visitors from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Cades Cove Visitor Center, located halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road, will be opened daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
The visitor center hours for the remaining winter months are posted on the park’s website, www.nps.gov/grsm.
Several of the secondary roads are scheduled to close as indicated: Balsam Mountain/Heintooga Roads on Nov. 1, Roundbottom/Straight Fork on Nov. 16, Parson Branch and Rich Mountain Roads on Nov. 22, and Clingmans Dome and Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail on Dec. 1.
During the winter months, the park’s two main roads, Newfound Gap (U.S. 441) and Little River, will remain open except for temporary closures for extreme winter weather conditions.
The Gatlinburg Bypass, Cades Cove Loop Road, Cosby Road, Greenbrier Road, Upper Tremont, Forge Creek, Lakeview Drive and Foothills Parkway (East and West) will open and close as road and weather conditions mandate.
For more information on winter weather road conditions, contact the park at 865.436.1200 (Then select option “2” and select “2” again to access road info).
Two of the three major campgrounds will remain open all year. These year-round campgrounds are Cades Cove in Tennessee and Smokemont in North Carolina. Starting Nov. 1, they will be on a self-registration basis with a reduced number of available sites. Elkmont Campground in Tennessee will remain open through the Thanksgiving weekend and will close on Dec. 1.
Balsam Mountain campground is already closed for the season. The six remaining self-registration campgrounds at Cosby, Cataloochee, Deep Creek, Big Creek, Look Rock and Abrams Creek, closed on Nov. 1.
Smokemont Riding Stable closed on Nov. 2. Sugarlands Riding Stable and Smoky Mountain Riding Stable will close on Nov. 29. Cades Cove Riding Stable will close on Dec. 22, but will reopen Dec. 26-Jan. 2. The Cades Cove Stable will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day. The closing dates are dependent on weather conditions.
All five horse camps — Round Bottom, Tow String, Cataloochee, Big Creek, and Anthony Creek — will close Nov. 15.