Newfound Gap Road (US 441) will be temporarily closed starting at 6:00 PM this evening on account of the impending Winter Storm Warning. There are several inches of snow predicted at all elevations. Alum Cave and The Boulevard trails will not be accessible for visitors looking to come to the mountain. Cherokee Orchard remains open, so guests are being advised to utilize the Rainbow Falls Trail at this time. We will continue to update you as we receive new information from the NPS, and regarding the weather and trail conditions.
Our first full day of business is in the books! A great crowd and great weather. Yesterday's high temperature was 47 degrees, and our low this morning was 34. The mid 30's are where we reside for the moment, waiting for the sun to gain some height and warm things up. A few brief showers gave us 0.25" of rainfall. Today ought to be a wonderful first day of Spring. Tomorrow though...
In the likelihood that these snow amounts come to fruition and US 441 closes, we are encouraging Wednesday's guests to consider ascending the mountain via Rainbow Falls Trail. Depending on the timing and amounts of snow early Wednesday, it's possible Cherokee Orchard Road could still be accessible for guests to make their way to the trail. Unless conditions call for something different, we will look to remain open for business on Wednesday. If Cherokee Orchard Road closes before the morning, we'll notify you of what to expect. If the road closes after guests have already gotten on the trail, we will of course provide updates and work with the NPS to determine the best means for guests to hike down and reclaim their vehicles after their stay.
With the falling temperatures and snow amounts, please evaluate your gear for ascending the mountain. These types of hiking conditions are not to be taken lightly. Waterproof boots, pants, and jackets are essential, as are warm layers for hiking and dry layers to change into when you arrive. Tall gaiters are great for creating waterproof continuity from your boots to your pants. Traction devices and trekking poles will greatly assist with stability and sure footing while navigating the snow and ice. Avoid cotton at all costs because of its high moisture retention. If your layers get wet and don't dry out, it can quickly lead to hypothermia in such cold temps. Whatever your average hiking pace may be, consider allowing yourself extra time to make the climb, as moving through snow can take more time and more energy. And just because it's cold and you may not feel thirsty, it's still crucial one stays hydrated.
Again, our plan at this time is to remain open, so please take all necessary precautions before starting up the trail. Our reservations office is open from 8-5 weekdays to assist with your planning and to answer any last minute questions you might have.
Have a great first day of Spring!