Great Smoky Mountains National Park modifying operations to follow recent coronavirus health guidelines


GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is modifying operations to implement the latest health guidelines regarding COVID-19 coronavirus.

The Park is continuing to take steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, CDC, and local/state authorities to promote social distancing, according to a news release.

“As of Thursday, March 19, seasonally open campgrounds at Smokemont, Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Cosby will no longer accept fees on-site. All campers must reserve and pay for sites online at to minimize the exposure risk for park employees and visitors.”


GSMNP is suspending reservations for gatherings at the following park facilities through April 30:

  • Appalachian Clubhouse
  • Spence Cabin
  • Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church
  • Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church
  • Cades Cove Methodist Church
  • Smokemont Baptist Church

“All requests for reservation cancellations for campgrounds, picnic pavilions, churches, and Special Park Use permits will be honored with a full refund without cancellation penalties.”


The Park also says that seasonally open campgrounds, picnic areas, roads, trails, and restroom facilities located adjacent to Visitor Centers will remain open and accessible to the public.

Starting immediately, backcountry campers and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers with reservations at one of the park’s 15 backcountry shelters are authorized to use a tent outside the shelter to provide for social distancing.

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.” 


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