Aggressive Bears Close Shelter in Great Smoky Mountains

Published Aug 16, 2014

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sign ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Sign ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Aggressive bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) have forced park officials to close two shelters in the backcountry camping areas near the Appalachian Trail.

The GSMNP website lists the two closed sites as backcountry campsite #13, near Gregory Bald, and the Spence Field shelter along the Appalachian Trail. Both spots have been frequented by bears foraging for berries and whatever else they could find to eat.

Aggressive bear warnings have been issued for areas where bears are active in GSMNP.

Current Aggressive Bear Warning Areas

  • Appalachian Trail from Shuckstack to Doe Knob
  • Laurel Falls Trail
  • Backcountry Campsite #113
  • Davenport Gap Shelter
  • Icewater Spring Shelter

Other Backcountry Closures

  • Chimney Tops Trail will be closed Monday-Thursday from May 5 through October 16 for trail rehabilitation work. The trail will be open on weekends.
  • Gunter Fork Trail is closed due to a landslide.
  • Scott Mountain Trail is closed from campsite #6 to Schoolhouse Gap. Campsite #6 is open.
  • Backcountry Campsite #11

Trail Cautions

GSMNP's backcountry is managed as a natural area where the forces of nature determine trail conditions. Hikers should be prepared for swollen streams, bridge washouts, downed trees and trail erosion when hiking in the park's backcountry.

  • Boogerman/Caldwell Fork trails - several bridges are out. No schedule for repairs at this time.
  • Trails throughout the park have downed trees due to severe storms. Please see the list of closed trails above. Other trails may have areas that are difficult to negotiate due to downed trees.
  • Boat shuttles to and from Hazel Creek when lake levels are low are from the Ollie Cove Trailhead on the Hazel Creek embayment. Ask the shuttle service about this when making a reservation to be dropped or picked up. This is due to a bridge that is out of service on Hazel Creek and adds about 1/2 mile to the hike. Trail signs are in place to direct you from the Hazel Creek Trail and Lakeshore Trail intersection to Ollie Cove Trail that is one mile east on Lakeshore Trail from Hazel Creek.

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Information

For current backcountry trail and campsite information, please call 865-436-1297.

Please read What Do I Do If I See A Bear? for important safety information about bears.

Click Here for GSMP Closure Information


Tags: Attractions, Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Camping Gear, News, Closings, Closures, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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