The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will partially reopen this weekend after being closed since March 24 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In phase one, most of the park's main roads and restrooms will be reopened. Most trails will be open, but hikers should plan ahead to choose routes with accessible trailheads for parking.
Campgrounds and visitor centers will initially remain closed.
Here's what roads will be open, starting at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 9:
Newfound Gap Road, Little River Road, Cherokee Orchard Road, Laurel Creek Road, Cades Cove Loop Road, Lakeview Drive Road, Deep Creek Road, Gatlinburg Bypass, and Wear Cove Road.
Where can I go to the bathroom?
Restrooms will be open at Newfound Gap, Sugarlands Visitor Center, Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cable Mill in Cades Cove, Abram Falls Trailhead, Rainbow Falls Trailhead, open picnic areas.
Can I have a picnic?
The park will open picnic areas at Chimney Tops, Metcalf Bottoms, Collins Creek, Deep Creek, and Cades Cove. Any pavilions in those areas will remain closed.
What about getting into the backcountry?
There will limited access to some trailheads because of closures. Laurel Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops and Clingmans Dome Tower will remain closed.
All other trails and backcountry campsites & shelters are open with reduced capacity limits.
Backcountry permits can be obtained started May 9 but thru-hiker permits for the Appalachian Trail will not be issued.
The following roads remain closed for motorists, but will be open for pedestrians and cyclists:
Clingmans Dome Road, Elkmont Road, Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tremont Road, Greenbrier Road, Cosby Road, Big Creek Road, Hwy 284, Cataloochee Road, Abrams Creek Road, Forge Creek Road, Rich Mountain Road, Little Greenbrier Road, Balsam Mountain Road, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, Straight Fork Road, Twentymile Road.
Concession Operations are scheduled to open on the following dates:
Sugarlands Riding Stables on 5/9; Smoky Mountain Riding Stables is pending; Cades Cove Riding Stables on 5/18; Cades Cove Campstore on 5/23; Smokemont Riding Stables on 5/23; and LeConte Lodge on 5/18. These dates are subject to change pending labor availability.
"We really want people to come to the park and recreate in a very responsible way, keeping themselves safe and the visitors around them safe," said Dana Soehn, GSMNP spokesperson.
Park visitors are urged to maintain safe social distancing. If you arrive at a location and the parking lot is full, there are likely too many people there and they urge visitors to find a less crowded area to enjoy.
They also urge people to delay their trip if they are sick or have been around someone with COVID-19.
Moving to the next phase of reopening after two weeks will depend on what the virus is doing in surrounding communities and how visitors behave in the park.
For the most up to date information about facility openings, service hours, and access, please visit the park website at www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/conditions.htm.