Additional Flooding in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Causes ‘Full Closures’: PHOTOS

by Jon D. B.

On Thursday morning, another bout of torrential rain caused further damage to roadways in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As NPS photos show below, Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) continues to battle flooding. As a result, park officials have closed the Greenbrier area. The decision comes after “additional road damage caused by an estimated three inches of rain occurring during the early morning hours on Thursday, July 21,” GRSM cites in their media release to Outsider.

Previous July flooding has left the roads in Greenbrier inaccessible to visitors. Early Thursday, “Roads were further damaged by floodwaters that rose above riverbanks and also from overland waterflow from above the roadways,” the park continues.

According to GRSM officials, “The overland waterflow caused a slide both above and below a steep road section between the Greenbrier Ranger Station and the Greenbrier Picnic Area. Water is now flowing below the road surface which has undermined the stability of the road.”

As for the closures, Greenbrier Road is currently unstable and is not safe for motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists to travel across. Engineers will be assessing road stability over the next several days. Once they do, officials will heed recommendations for repair options.

Webcam image from Purchase Knob, Lightning strikes as storms take over Cataloochee Divide. (GRSM, NPS media release)

Across the park, rainfall was estimated between one and three inches overnight, GRSM cites. At this time, all Smokies visitors are cautioned to avoid hikes that involve unbridged river crossings until high waters subside.

GRSM’s Greenbrier area will remain closed to all public use until further notice.

Closures in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Include:

  • Ramsey Prong Road
  • Porters Creek Road
  • Ramsey Cascades Trail
  • Porters Creek Trail
  • Greenbrier Picnic Area
  • Greenbrier Picnic Pavilion, and Backcountry Campsites 31, 32, and 33

In addition, Old Settlers, Brushy Mountain, and Grapeyard Ridge Trails remain open. But hikers must access them from parking lots near the Greenbrier entrance or from other areas on the park.

The park notes that these closures are temporary and subject to change at any time. GRSM has remained flexible as flooding continues to be an issue this summer.

As our Tennessee national park, Great Smoky Mountains is close to our hearts at Outsider. We’ll keep you updated as the situation develops.

For more information about temporary road closures across the park, please visit the park website here before visitation. Stay safe out there, Outsiders.