Here are some updates from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 2011. See our Great Smoky Mountains Vacation Guide for NC for more.
Road Updates Via Twitter or Text
Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitors and local travelers may now sign-up to receive status updates about the Park’s most frequently used roads via text message or the Internet. Those who wish to be notified of the status of the Park’s four most popular roads – Newfound Gap (U.S. 441), Little River Road, Laurel Creek Road, and Cades Cove Loop Road – can opt to get text messages to their cell phones by texting follow smokiesroadsnps to 40404. To stop receiving the text message alerts, text stop smokiesroadsnps to the same number. Standard text rates will apply. The public can get that same information via the Internet by going to http://twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps to read recent road notification postings. This is a Twitter website maintained by the Park, but anybody can access it at any time, without having to establish a Twitter account. Information on all of the roads in the Park as well as other Park information may be obtained by calling the park’s information line at (865) 436-1200 and following the prompts.
New Smokies Visitor Center near Asheville
A new $3 million Oconaluftee Great Smoky Mountains Visitor Center opened April 15 in Cherokee. It’s adjacent to the wonderful Mountain Farm Museum.
Reservations Now Required at Cataloochee Campground
Cataloochee Valley Campground in North Carolina went live on Recreation.gov on February 9, 2011. Under this system, campers will be required to make advanced reservations to stay at the 27-site campground. Reservations can be made either online at: http://www.recreation.gov or toll-free at 1-877-444-6777. The camping fee will be $20 per night which includes the contract costs for the reservation system and is the same as several other campgrounds in the Park with similar amenities.
9.5 Million Visitors in 2010
During a year of weather extremes, landslides, and major construction projects, Great Smoky Mountains National Park visitation in Calendar Year 2010 pulled through to match 2009 levels. Visitation through the Park’s three main entrances and outlying areas in 2010 was 9,463,538, just slightly below 2009, the Park’s 75th anniversary year which reported 9,491,436 visits.
New Zip Line Canopy Tours & Jeep Rides
The new Waterfall Gorge Canopy Tour on the north side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park takes you into the Smoky Mountain Creek Gorge. Also new is guided jeep rides with local guides from Wildwater that follow the steps of the early explorers, visiting the back roads of the region and learning more about the Great Smoky Mountains. Read more!