‘Trails Forever’ project in Smokies to close popular trail for rehabilitation May through November

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(Photo: GSMNP)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A trail near Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed for most of the year for the park’s “Trails Forever” rehabilitation project.

According to GSMNP officials, Abrams Falls Trail and its associated parking areas will be closed Monday, May 10 through Nov. 10, 2021; excluding federal holidays, on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  

Park officials also noted in a release that Abrams Falls Trail is one of the busiest trails in the park in one of the busiest areas of the park, Cades Cove.

Here’s more information from a GSMNP release:

Abrams Falls Trail winds through a pine-oak forest along Abrams Creek for 2.5 miles before reaching the 20-foot Abrams Falls. Due to high use, many areas are severely eroded and in need of repair to improve safety and to ensure the sustainability of the trail surface for years to come. The trail crew will focus rehabilitation efforts on several targeted locations between the trailhead and the falls. The work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by improving the tread surface, reducing trail braiding, and improving drainage to prevent further erosion. 

Due to the rehabilitation work along the narrow trail corridor, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. There will not be any access to Abrams Falls, Abrams Falls Trail, or associated parking lots during the weekday closures. Trailhead access from Cades Cove to the Rabbit Creek Trail will also be closed, but the trail itself will remain open and can be accessed from Abrams Creek. 

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, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly-skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge trails.

In addition to the work on Abrams Falls Trail in 2021, the crews will perform other critical trail work across the park on trails such as the Noah Bud Ogle Nature Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, and Fighting Creek Nature Trail. 

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