Cherokee Orchard and Roaring Fork roads are temporarily closed due to current and incoming weather associated with Hurricane Zeta. That leaves visitors with utilizing Alum Cave Trail along US 441 (Newfound Gap Rd) to access the lodge. With the heavy rains, high winds, and exposed ridge tops, using The Boulevard out of Newfound Gap is NOT recommended at this time.
We will continue to provide updates regarding the weather, and Park road/trail conditions as we receive them.
Our area is under a Flash Flood Watch that begins this evening and will last into Thursday. Heavy rain associated with Zeta is already pushing across Southern Appalachia and will arrive this morning. Now through Friday morning the Smokies could receive upwards of 4 to 6 inches of rainfall. Winds along the upper elevations will be at their highest on Thursday, sustained at times from 20-30 mph with gusts as high as 60 mph over the mountain tops. Temps are still going to be mild in the 40s and 50s, but the wind and rain will certainly make it feel cooler against the skin, especially if hikers are poorly dressed for the conditions.
Guests should avoid trails that aren’t Alum Cave for multiple reasons these next couple days. If everyone uses the same trail, hikers can communicate with each other and help keep the lodge notified of one’s whereabouts if conditions/hazards create delays. The other trails also have numerous unbridged stream crossings that can swell rapidly and pose serious risks for hikers in times of sudden or long lasting wet weather. Lastly, it’s smart to to keep your belongings protected from the elements as much as yourself. Dry stuff sacks and pack covers to compliment your rain jacket, pants and boots will be appreciated once you reach the top and find out your change of clothes are still dry. We sell shirts and ponchos from our summit gift shop, but that does little for you on the ascent, so please come prepared to have yourself as safe and enjoyable a hike as possible.