Trail updates are listed below from east to west.
Sauratown Trail Sections 2 & 3 (between Mickey Road and NC-66) are permanently closed to all users.
A road detour is available for thru-hikers, but it is not appropriate for equestrians. The detour involves NC-66, which is a very curvy road with fast traffic and little road shoulder.
STA is working to establish a new trail route for this area, and help will eventually be needed with trail construction. If you are interested in helping work on the trail, please contact us about being placed on our trail work email list.
STA is sorry for any inconvenience this may cause trail users.
Due to the recent government sequestration, the Blue Ridge Parkway needed to reduce their budget. This means that several facilities will have delayed openings or not be opened at all. The following facilities will be closed for the entire 2013 season:
- Otter Creek Campground, MP 60.8
- James River Visitor Center & Picnic Area, MP 63.6
- Roanoke Mountain Campground, MP 120.4 (Sunday afternoon Mountain Music programs are expected to continue)
- Smart View Picnic Area, MP 154.5
- Rocky Knob Visitor Center, MP 169
- Doughton Park Picnic Area, MP 241.1
- Jeffress Park Picnic Area, MP 271.9
- Crabtree Falls Campground, MP 339.5
- Crabtree Falls Visitor Center, MP 340.2
To view the complete list of full and partial closings, please to go the Blue Ridge Parkway website.
New hiking directions for Section 1 of the MST have been posted in the Trail Sections page. There are currently two routes that we suggest, but more are being researched. If you would like to field-test one of the proposed new routes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain maps and directions. One current option is through Great Smoky Mountain National Park, meeting up with the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 458 via Heintooga Rd. The second option is exiting the Smokies at Deep Creek and following back roads along the Tuckaseegee River, to Waterrock Knob, and meeting the Blue Ridge Parkway at MP 450. Please the Trail Sections page for complete details of these routes.
Starting on February 13th, Great Smoky Mountain National Park will be requiring permits for backcountry camping at a cost of $4 per person per night. Permits will soon be available 24 hours a day at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov, or in person at the Smokies backcountry office. Permits will be available up to 30 days in advance. For more information, call the Backcountry office at 865-436-1297. Please plan to obtain a permit if you plan to camp on the MST in Great Smoky Mountain NP.
Clingmans Dome road will be opening earlier than usual this year. The road is usually closed from December 1st to March 31st, however due to a mild winter, the road may be opened as early as February 15th. However, the road will not be plowed. In the event of snow, Clingmans Dome road will be closed to vechicle.
In MST Section 21, the closed section of the Sauratown Trail (Section 3), now has updated detour directions. It is a road route for pedestrians only. A suitable detour for equestrians has not been found. Directions for both east and west bound hikers can be found here, and updates can be found on the Sauratown Trail website.
In Section 38, The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry has been unable to operate during some low tides, due to shoaling of the channel. If you plan to take the ferry for this section of the MST, be aware that service may be unreliable. The current schedule and status can be obtained by calling the Hatteras terminal at 252-986-2353.
In Section 21 of the MST, Sauratown Trail Section 3 (between NC 66 and Moores Springs Road), is temporarily closed until further notice. STA is sorry for any inconvenience this may cause trail users.
Newfound Gap Road, a popular way of accessing Clingman’s Dome (the western terminus of the MST) has been closed due to landslide. The National Park Service is hoping that partial access will be available soon. For more information on which portion of the road is closed, please call 865-436-1200 x 631 or follow SmokiesRoadsNPS on Twitter.
In Section 6, Graveyard Field, as well as Shining Rock Wilderness areas, are closed to overnight camping because of bear activity. The Forest Service is monitoring conditions and will send out notice when these areas are re-opened. View their notice here.
The MST was just changed to incorporate twelve miles of trail within Pilot Mountain State Park into the route. To hike the new route, see the map of the trail route in the park and the new east-bound and west-bound backroad hiking directions between Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain state parks. East of Pilot Mountain State Park, the trail continues to follow the Sauratown Trail to Hanging Rock State Park. The interactive google map has also been updated to show the new directions.
The National Park Service is doing work on the bridge over Goshen Creek (pictured) on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Bamboo Gap at Milepost 286.4. This is of interest to hikers because the Mountains-to-Sea Trail passes under the Goshen Creek bridge (Blue Ridge Parkway North Section, Day-Hike No. 5). While the trail will remain open, hikers are advised not to linger in this area and to keep an eye out both for falling debris and the presence of construction equipment, as the the area beneath the bridge will be used as a staging area. The reconstruction project is expected to last until February 2013.
The old Falls of Neuse bridge below the Falls Lake dam, which has been the western end of MST Section 28, has been torn down and replaced with a new bridge. Here are rerouting directions: Walk straight out of the trailrace parking lot and cross Fonville Road. Look to the left for the access drive to the new Neuse River greenway. Turn right onto the greenway and follow it for approximately 0.3 miles until you cross under the new Falls of Neuse bridge (it is a BIG bridge). On the far side of the bridge, take the greenway ramp up so you can walk across the bridge. Head north (across the river). Walk approximately 0.8 miles on New Falls of the Neuse Road. Turn left on Wakefield Pines Drive. Walk approximately 1.0 miles on Wakefield Pines Drive. Turn right on Old Falls of the Neuse Road. You are now back on the original route described in Allen DeHart and Scot Ward’s books and on the interactive google map on this website.
The FMST Board approved new hiking directions from Greensboro’s Bryan Park (Section 25) to the Falls Lake dam north of Raleigh (Section 27) so that hikers can start using much of the new trail that has been built along the Haw and Eno rivers and on the western end of Falls Lake.
The Sauratown Trail has been rerouted on to backroads while new trail is constructed to take the place of a portion of the trail that was closed by the landowner.
Based on a request by staff of the Blue Ridge Parkway, FMST has rerouted the current trail for thirty miles after it leaves the Great Smoky Mountain National Parkway headed east. The new route is documented as Sections 2-3: Oconaluftee River to Balsam Gap South.
This section of the current MST route was entirely on the Blue Ridge Parkway and required hikers to pass through five tunnels. Unfortunately, determining the ultimate route for the trail in this area is challenging in this rugged terrain which is home to many rare species of plants and wildlife and many political jurisdictions. FMST continues to work with State Parks, the national parks and national forests, local governments and the Cherokee to find a final off-road route.
Check back for updated information.