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  1. #1
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Default Road closing in winter at Newfound gap in the smokies

    I attempted to go on a hike leaving from newfound gap in the smokies on thursday, only to find that the road was closed due to snow. Does this happen often in the winter?
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

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    yes...

    they close the road down due to snow and ice....

    its been closed a few times already this winter ish season...

    best way is to check their twitter page or call the hotline to find out which roads are open/closed....

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    Some roads, like the one from Newfound to Clingman's Dome are closed all winter, no matter what. Some of these are listed on the .PDF park map you can download.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Analog_Kidd View Post
    Some roads, like the one from Newfound to Clingman's Dome are closed all winter, no matter what. Some of these are listed on the .PDF park map you can download.


    yup....

    and it used to be that newfound gap road was closed for the winter season as well..

    that changed in 1997 when a business opened in cherokee.........coincidence or not one would say....

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    they're usually pretty quick to clear that road. knock on wood. were you going to walk out to the bunion?

    the high yesterday on Leconte was -3F.

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    On the other hand, I drove the 10 or 15 miles from Lone Pine, CA up, up, up to the "Mt. Whitney Portal" trailhead this week. Sunny, clear, and dry (the road was). Guide book said it closed Nov 15th each year. You just never know for sure about mountain roads in winter these days.
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  7. #7
    1,630 miles and counting earlyriser26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashepabst View Post
    they're usually pretty quick to clear that road. knock on wood. were you going to walk out to the bunion?

    the high yesterday on Leconte was -3F.
    Yep, that was my hike or at least to icewater
    There are so many miles and so many mountains between here and there that it is hardly worth thinking about

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    well, i hope you're still able to get out on the trails. the winter's a fun time to be in the mountains.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    yup....

    and it used to be that newfound gap road was closed for the winter season as well..

    that changed in 1997 when a business opened in cherokee.........coincidence or not one would say....
    Someone claimed to me that Newfound Gap road has always been plowed but that didn't sound right to me.
    Be Prepared

  10. #10
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    Clingman's Dome Road closes in October.
    Newfound Gap (US441) will close if there is any danger of snow, ice, or heavy fog.

    Alternative routes are Big Creek, Rainbow/Boulevard, Cosby Campground, Deep Creek, Anthony/Russell Field Trails...
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    Clingman's Dome Road closes in October.
    From the NPS website: Although Clingmans Dome Observation Tower is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require.
    Section hiker on the 20 year plan - 1,480 miles and counting!

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    I know several people that use Clingmans Dome road for cross country skiing in the winter. They ski out and back on the snow covered pavement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    On the other hand, I drove the 10 or 15 miles from Lone Pine, CA up, up, up to the "Mt. Whitney Portal" trailhead this week. Sunny, clear, and dry (the road was.
    <turning green with envy>!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCloud View Post
    Someone claimed to me that Newfound Gap road has always been plowed...
    That's what I was thinking... that 441 is sort of like a public road (not 'private' to the national park) and as such it gets plowed like any other public roads in TN.
    After all, the reason GSMNP doesn't charge an entrance fee is because the creation of 441 predated the park, built with TN and NC state funds. When GSMNP was later created, NC transferred ownership of 441 through abandonment. But TN wanted to insure that the road didn't become a toll road and signed the rights over to the federal government with a clause guaranteeing that "no toll or license fee shall ever be imposed" to ravel the road.

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    when i first moved down here in late 97----that was the first year that NFG road was not closed for a winter season.......


    up until then, from what ive heard, is that it would close for the season and then reopen in the spring....

    and coincidentally, late 97 is when a business opened in cherokee that may or may not had an influence on the road staying open....

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    here's some numbers we got from the park today about the road...


    1. How many days a year does 441 typically close due to snow and ice / hazardous winter driving?

    In 2017 (Jan 1-Dec 31, 2017) , we closed US 441 due to snow and ice or hazardous winter conditions a total of 30 days, with some of those being half day closures.
    “I believe 30 days per year is within the normal range. Of course this number does not reflect closures due to wind events, rockslides, downed trees, etc only ice/snow.”- Jamie Sanders/ NPS



    1. How many cars/trucks use 441 in a typical day during the winter months?

    These numbers are Average Daily Traffic (ADT) Counts:
    2016: typical average winter traffic day: 2,474
    January -2028
    February -1863
    December - 3533

    2017: typical average winter traffic day: 2,630
    January - 2054
    February - 2561
    December - 3276


  17. #17
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    441 may be plowed but the Park Service doesn't use salt or brine for environment reasons. Conditions can change drastically due to altitude changes so use caution (and chains) as required.

  18. #18

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    I went to school in Knoxville in the 80's, and I think the highway from Gatlinburg to Cherokee was open most of the winter at that time. I might be wrong, but I do think it was open.

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