During the night, a rockslide occurred on US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) causing a temporary closure of the entire roadway between Gatlinburg and Cherokee. The slide itself is located just below the gap on the TN side. Road crews are actively working to clear the debris and make sure the slopes are stable before reopening the roadway to vehicular traffic. There is no timetable for when it will reopen. Guests departing the lodge today can still use Alum Cave and exit at Sugarlands, or The Boulevard and exit at Oconaluftee, but there will be no crossing of the state line during the closure. Guests ascending the mountain this morning will need to use the trails out of Cherokee Orchard or Roaring Fork. For folks who had hopes of ascending Alum Cave, this means an extra 1.7 miles of hiking at minimum, so depending on one’s abilities it’s best not to wait to start up the mountain.
It’s a sunny but hazy start up top this morning with temps in the upper 50s. We should get up around 70° later today. By mid afternoon there is a significant chance for thunderstorm development, so another reason not to wait around for the main road to reopen. The rain chances could linger past sunset before subsiding. Winds to remain light. The forecast for Thursday is similar. With all this rain we’ve been having during recent months, it is not unusual for the over saturated terrain to experience rock slides and downed trees. So use caution in adverse conditions while driving and hiking in the park.
Have a great day.