Great Smoky Mountains’ Ramsey Cascades Trail Closed Weekdays

The trail to Ramsey Cascades will be closed Monday-Thursday this summer to allow for trail work/NPS file

The Ramsey Cascades Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed Mondays-Thursdays through the summer to allow for crews to complete a major rehabilitation of the popular trail that started in 2022.

The four-mile Ramsey Cascade trail lies in the Greenbrier Area of the park and provides the only access to the 100-foot tall Ramsey Cascades waterfall. The trail rises more than 2,000 feet in elevation. The entire eight-mile roundtrip hike is considered strenuous. It follows rushing rivers and streams for much of its length. The last two miles pass through old-growth cove hardwood forest with large tuliptrees, basswoods, silverbells, and yellow birches. 

The two-year rehabilitation project is part of the Trails Forever program supported by Friends of the Smokies. The trail will be closed Monday through Thursday each week, except federal holidays. The weekday closures took effect Monday and are scheduled to continue until November 14. The only weekend closure planned is May 3 through May 5 while trail crews replace a foot bridge.

Trail crews will repair tread surfaces, improve drainages, construct trail structures such as staircases, turnpikes, and retaining walls and remove trip hazards like exposed roots and rocks. The rehabilitation will improve overall trail safety and protect the park’s natural resources.

Significant flooding and storm damage caused the National Park Service to close the trail completely for several months in 2022 and early 2023. Trail crews rerouted 200 feet of trail, built and installed a new footlog bridge, and built four new trail structures damaged by the flood.

The Trails Forever program is a partnership established by the Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fund a permanent, highly skilled trail crew that rehabilitates high-use trails. In 2012, the Friends set up an endowment to support the program. To date, the Friends have contributed more than $2.6 million to rehabilitate Abrams Falls, Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops and Forney Ridge trails.
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