The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced their 2017 spring opening schedule for park facilities.
Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows:
- March 10 – Forge Creek Road
- April 1 – Clingmans Dome Road
- April 7 – Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail and Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road
- April 14 – Rich Mountain Road and Little Greenbrier Road
- May 26 – Balsam Mountain Road and Heintooga Ridge Road
Due to road damage and hazard trees, Parson Branch Road will remain closed in 2017. The popular bicycles-only mornings return to Cades Cove starting May 10, according to a Great Smoky Mountains news release. Motorized vehicles will not be allowed on the Cades Cove Loop Road until 10 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday mornings through Sept. 27.
Campgrounds open on a staggered schedule that started on March 10. Camping fees range from $14 to $23 per site per night.
The park’s developed campgrounds of Cataloochee, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby are on the reservation system through Recreaction.gov for at least a portion of their seasons. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance.
Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Visitors can make reservations at the five campgrounds, all group campsites, horse camps, and picnic shelters by booking sites online or by calling 877-444-6777.
Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground throughout the entire season. Reservations are recommended at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for the period from May 15 through October 31.
During the rest of the open season, these three campgrounds are first-come, first-serve. At these three campgrounds, campers also have an opportunity to reserve a generator-free campsite. Cosby Campground, which has mostly first-come, first-serve campsites, has a limited number of reservable sites.
The cost for group camps ranges from $26 to $65 per site per night. The park says group camping is available at the following seven campgrounds by reservation only through Recreation.gov:
- Big Creek
- Deep Creek
- Cades Cove
Horse Camps are available by reservation only through Recreation.gov at Anthony Creek, Big Creek, Round Bottom, Tow String and Cataloochee. The horse campsite fees are $20 at all horse camps except for Big Creek where it is $25.
At Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms, the picnic areas are open year round. Chimneys picnic area opened on March 11 and Collins Creek picnic area will open on April 7. Big Creek and Cosby picnic areas will open April 14. Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Pavilion will open on April 14. Heintooga picnic area will open on May 26. Look Rock picnic area will remain closed for the year.