Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed the Greenbrier area to all use due to additional road damage caused by an estimated three inches of rain occurring during the early morning hours on Thursday, July 21. Roads were further damaged by floodwaters that rose above riverbanks and also from overland waterflow from above the roadways.
The overland waterflow caused a slide both above and below a steep road section between the Greenbrier Ranger Station and the Greenbrier Picnic Area. Water is now flowing below the road surface which has undermined the stability of the road. The road is unstable and is not safe for motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists to travel across. Engineers will be assessing road stability over the next several days and making recommendations for repair options. The area will remain closed to all use until further notice.
The temporary closure continues to include Ramsey Prong Road, Porters Creek Road, Ramsey Cascades Trail, Porters Creek Trail, Greenbrier Picnic Area, Greenbrier Picnic Pavilion, and Backcountry Campsites 31, 32, and 33. Old Settlers, Brushy Mountain, and Grapeyard Ridge Trails remain open, but hikers must access them from parking lots near the Greenbrier entrance or from other areas on the park.
Across the park, rainfall was estimated between one and three inches overnight. Visitors are cautioned to avoid hikes that involve unbridged river crossings until high waters subside. For more information about temporary road closures across the park, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm.
- National Park Service release