View Full Version : Road Closure / Parsons Branch

10-11-2006, 23:02
For those trying to get from Cades Cove (TN) to Fontana Lake (NC), Parsons Branch (the one way road) is closed. From what the rangers told us, it will be closed for a few more weeks due to a wash out. We enjoyed this road because it allowed people another point into the AT from SE part of the park.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-11-2006, 23:06
This road has been closed for several years. From what I understand, the budget cuts have made it impossible for the NPS to repair the road.

10-12-2006, 11:34
Yep, the road going south out of Cades Cove is a single track dirt road and been closed for some time. I bet he's talking about the road going north out of Cades, which I believe is a paved road.

10-12-2006, 11:49
Rich Mountain road is dirt/gravel for a while. It closes in the winter also

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-12-2006, 12:39
Parson Branch Road is a one-way dirt road from Cades Cove (just past the mill) to Highway 129. It has been closed for years. Rich Mountain Road is also one lane and dirt - and goes to the town of Townsend (Dry Gap Road). It closes about this time every year. The only other road into Cades Cove is Little River Road. It is paved. It had a rock slide recently and is currently closed between Metcalf Bottoms picnic area and the Townsend, TN entrance to the GSMNP. It is expected to open within a week.

10-13-2006, 11:38
used to be a vital part of our shuttles when we'd hike the western end - Gregory, etc...

10-16-2006, 23:26
The rangers acted as if the Parsons Branch road was open over the summer and was again closed. Well point being... they were working on it today. If the road was never going to open again, wonder why they were patching it up? Hey, who knows....gotta love the park service.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-17-2006, 11:53
I've been to Cades Cove several times this year - Parson Branch was never open when I was there. The male dino and I hiked out the closed road about 2 miles last year. It will need some very serious rehab'ing to re-open -- the washed out portions I saw were 6 to 8 ft deep and had taken the road bed as well as the covering. Several culverts were completely missing. Pine bettles have damaged many trees and there are dozens of massive blowdowns. I saw at least 3 minor and one major rock slides on the road.

There has been a lot of outcry about re-opening the road so they may finally be doing something about it. Were they using the sort of heavy equipment that will be needed to repair what I described?

Brushy Sage
10-17-2006, 12:57
The GSMNP experienced high winds overnight, with a gust over 100 mph. Numerous roads are closed, trees down, with at least one person taken to a hospital after a tree fell on a camper trailer. See:


Frolicking Dinosaurs
10-17-2006, 13:08
:eek: Where the tree came down on the camper isn't all that far from Sgt Rock's place - DixieCritter, are you and the boys OK?

Brushy Sage
10-17-2006, 13:33
They might be without power. Trees and powerlines are down in many areas.

10-17-2006, 16:43
Campers urged to vacate Smokies
By ROBERT WILSON, [email protected] (http://us.f534.mail.yahoo.com/ym/[email protected]&YY=39054&y5beta=yes&y5beta=yes&order=down&sort=date&pos=0&view=a&head=b)
October 17, 2006

TOWNSEND - The National Park Service is recommending that campers in
Great Smoky Mountains National Park vacate the park's campgrounds
through 8 a.m. Wednesday.

That's because more bad weather and high winds are threatening to pass
through the park tonight. With downed trees and blocked roads from a
storm earlier today, authorities warn that emergency services may not
available in some areas if more bad weather hits tonight.

10-17-2006, 18:25
I did some hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway yesterday and last night.
Last night the wind was "screaming" over the ridges. I like nothing more than photography hikes in the fall foliage...but with the wind and rain we've been having I don't think the leaves are going to be around for long.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-26-2006, 19:46
We hiked out Parsons Branch Road from TN 129 / NC 28 today. We only went in about 4 miles. The road has been fixed for about 1.5 miles and the rest of the road we saw could be driven by a vehicle with 12+ clearance. One section has really uneven treadway, but a grader should be able to fix that.

Has anyone hiked in from the Cades Cove side lately?

11-29-2006, 06:21
:-? Funny you should mention this...
I planned to be in Cade's Cove yesterday and had toyed with the idea of going up to the bald. Cade's Cove was closed for spraying...I didn't find out what they were spraying for.....hopefully they're trying to save the hemlocks. Again the folks I spoke to at Sugarlands said that Parson's Branch should be open for the 2007 tourists ? March I'm guessing.
I had wanted to catch the sunrise from Clingmans Dome as the road closes
on Friday and this was my last chance to drive up there until March.
As always...my sunrise was blocked by low clouds and the Dome was socked in but I did manage a sweet morning hike on the AT through the Spruce and Fir (the woods were silent this morning.) The past few days have been incredible weather wise...highs in the 70's and there is still a good amount of snow and ice up there. I decided to head into Cade's Cove and a stop at Sugarlands put an end to that idea when I learned the Cove road was closed.....So I went to Roaring Fork instead which likewise closes soon.
I'll be one happy camper:sun when they reopen Parson's Branch as that opens a huge loop for me rather than having to backtrack over snail-paced, tourist infested 441.

I have not hiked in from the Cade's Cove side lately but the road is open to the trailhead to the balds.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-29-2006, 07:19
We hiked about 2 miles from the bald parking last year. See post #8 for details.

BTW, you can avoid the tourists infestation by using the Foothills Parkway (about 8 miles toward Maryville from the Townsend entrance) and then turning left when it ends at TN 129 / NC 28. The only downside is driving even more of 'The Tail of the Dragon (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/)' with the insane bikers. This is how the GSMNP site describes Foothills Parkway and I agree:
Running southwest from Walland to Chilhowee, this 20-mile section is the Foothills Parkway's longest segment. It provides beautiful vistas of the northwestern Smokies, including Thunderhead Mountain, highest peak in the Park's western half. Many of its south facing overlooks peer over Happy Valley, into the Smokies, and beyond. Its north facing views oversee Maryville, Knoxville, and the Great Valley.

Halfway along the segment, a trail leads to the Look Rock Tower. It is a third of a mile from the road. The trail makes a moderate climb. The tower provides a 360-degree panorama, and a platform for scientific research such as air quality. Sunsets from the tower are often spectacular.While getting the Dragon link, I found this:
Repairs will begin on Parsons Branch Road at mile marker 4.0 in the next few weeks. Some 7000 tons of gravel will be hauled in from the North Carolina side of the Dragon. There will likely be loose gravel or dust on this section of the Dragon and on US 129 in North Carolina for most of the winter. Plans are to reopen Parsons Branch Road in June 2007. This one way gravel road out of Cades Cove with 19 water fords is a great dual sport ride.We also saw a large wild hog (sow) while hiking. We were able to get pretty close, but stepped on a branch that snapped and alerted her to our presence before we got a pic. There is a lot of evidence of hog activity along the road. Also saw several does, what appeared to be fresh bobcat scat and several older bear scat piles.

Frolicking Dinosaurs
11-29-2006, 16:42
Article in the local paper about the spraying in Cades Cove (http://www.thedailytimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061129/NEWS/611280331)