In a particularly severe storm earlier this week, parts of the Laurel Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains, just outside of Knoxville, experienced a significant amount of damage. The damage was great enough to have to temporarily close the trail until the damage had been remedied.
As of yet, no current date to reopen the park is set in place, as it is contingent upon a full assessment of the state of the trail and the overall severity of the damage. Most of the damage was caused by an exorbitant amount of rain, ice and snow storms.
According to Trails Program Manager Tobias Miller, “our trail crews are experienced with these kinds of washouts and will work to make the necessary repairs so that the Laurel Falls Trail, one of our most popular in the park, can be safely reopened for hikers.”
The 1.3 mile long trail already has steep grades and drop-offs and is roughly paved, so the extra damage makes the trail more dangerous for hikers and families than usual. A long-time favorite of park-goers, the trail leads to one of the most popular attraction of the entire national park – the waterfall.
The attraction is so popular, that the park has already had to re pave the path leading up to the falls, so as to preserve the integrity of the path. The closing of the trail has many visitors complaining that they will not get to experience the full park experience.