KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hazardous weather conditions are expected this weekend in the mountains of East Tennessee, so Great Smoky Mountains National Park is warning visitors to be prepared for heavy snow that closes roads and trails.
“Hazardous conditions are expected on our trails and roads,” the park posted on social media and on the alerts page Friday. “Use extreme caution if you choose to visit the park and stay updated on the latest road conditions on Twitter.”
Tweets are sent from an account when weather closes roads and trails in the park. Information about roads and trails closing can also be found on the WATE.com. Visitors can also get the latest road conditions and weather information in the park by calling 865-436-1200.
The average amount of snow the park receives varies by elevation, with Clingmans Dome receiving about 18 inches of snow in the month of January while Gatlinburg averages about 2.3 inches, according to the park’s online weather database.
The National Park Service offers tips for hiking in winter that includes using snowshoes and traction devices, keeping away from frozen lakes and streams, having good route-finding skills as snow may cover the trail, and avoiding following tracks that can lead you astray. Also, inform others of the exact trail you plan to take, what time you will depart and when you expect to return; dress appropriately; and always be willing to turn around.
“It’s going to be a snowy weekend in the Smokies!” the Park tweeted.
To receive updates sent to directly your phone, download the WATE news and weather apps. Be aware that cell service is mostly nonexistent within the park which will hinder the ability to receive alerts.