View Full Version : Smoky Mountains Weather

03-17-2010, 03:13
My sister called me tonight and said that she (and her family) might want to go "somewhere in the Smoky Mountains" the first week in April. The family would stay in hotels. However, my 17 year old nephew wants to do a day hike "in the mountains". (He is new to hiking).

Any thoughts regarding the anticipated snow cover in the higher elevations in 2-3 weeks?

Do you also have any thoughts regarding a fun place to go in the Smokys (for non-hikers)--that won't have much in the way of crowds?

Any thoughts regarding a good, safe, possible day hike that would get my nephew to a higher elevation--but not require any great hiking or outdoor skills? (His dad would probably go with him--but again no history of any significant hiking or outdoor skills for the dad either).


03-17-2010, 08:28
You can get a general idea of the snow depth, etc... here (http://www.highonleconte.com/daily-posts.html) by reading the daily post of the managers of the LeConte Lodge. A very brief mention of snow depth and trail conditions at Mt. LeConte is included in the blog. As of today, there is still 2 feet at that elevation. Good luck in April!

Gray Blazer
03-17-2010, 08:36
You can drive to Mt Sterling Gap and it's only a coupla miles walk to the tower on Mt Sterling.

03-17-2010, 12:58
My thought is to hike high and sleep low. That's what I do in the Smokies, if I don't want to haul a bunch of really warm camping gear with me.

03-17-2010, 13:12
Here's an idea...Everybody could load up early in the morning and head to Newfound Gap. You could then drop off whoever wants to go hiking. It's about 6 miles round trip to Icewater Spring Shelter. Or 8 miles round trip to Charles Bunion. Who ever doesn't go on the hike can keep driving down the mountain to the town of Cherokee. It's a fun place to visit and the crowds aren't bad. There is also a casino there if thats your thing. [Just don't forget about your hikers returning to Newfound Gap]. After a couple of hours visiting Cherokee, turn around and pick back up your nephew and head back to Gatlinburg or Pigion Forge for dinner.

03-17-2010, 22:39
NE corner of the park has Cataloochee valley. Kind of like Cades Cove on the west side, but a million less people. Cataloochee is where the elk are...really cool if you see them.

If they want to go to Cades Cove (a really neat place, I like it better during the week, and early in the day before it gets bumper-to-bumper on the 11 mile loop road, be sure that they check current road conditions. There was a project scheduled for this spring to repave the loop road, which will close or delay traffic at times.

Also, I believe work is still on-going on I40 for the rock slide at just inside the NC state line. That might make it harder getting to Cataloochee if coming from the west.

Gatlinburg used to be a cool tourist town. Now it's overrun by corporate stuff (all the chain restaurants, chain shopping, etc. Might as well go to Myrtle Beach.

03-18-2010, 10:46
It wont be easy to get to Cattaloochee Valley from the North side of the park. I-40 is closed until May due to rockslide from past October.

There is likely to still be considerable snow along the higher elevations in the Smokies (above 4500 ft) well into April. I was at NFG yesterday and there is still about 3 ft of snow on the ground. They are getting light snowfall every couple of days, then warm weather every couple days. Snow appears to be melting at about the same rate that is falling on a weekly basis. That is likely to continue for a couple more weeks. They are having a fun time trying to keep the road open across the mountain. It freezes at night and thaws during the day. And there are snowbanks in excess of 6 ft tall along the road that will likely continue this process for a while.

Another suggestion for a hike would be to go up Alum Cave trail to Mt LeConte. The trail starts at lower elevation that will likely be snow-free. They can hike up as far as they feel comfortable and then return. They would get to see Alum Cave, a great view of the valley back towards Chimney Tops and Gatlinburg, and if they make it to the top get to relax at the lodge for a bit.

03-18-2010, 12:39
The Ranger I talked to when I reserved my shelters for the first week in April said there would still be about a foot of snow on the ground at the higher elevation.

The Solemates
03-18-2010, 14:29
It wont be easy to get to Cattaloochee Valley from the North side of the park. I-40 is closed until May due to rockslide from past October.

It is my understanding that the road from Waterville connecting from Big Creek to Cattaloochee within the park is also still closed due to the damage in the winter storms this winter.

Silver Bear
03-18-2010, 20:38
Cades Cove 11 mile loop road is closed until some time in May. The road is being completely rebuilt.