Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a geotechnical crew will implement a temporary closure of Laurel Falls Trail Monday, Dec. 12 and Tuesday, Dec. 13 to accommodate survey work. The trail will be closed to all use.
The geotechnical crew is following up on work done in November. Using a drill rig, the crew will take samples of materials under the trail and behind retaining walls along the trail. Information gathered from these samples is needed to inform proposed designs for trail tread and retaining wall improvements as part of the Laurel Falls rehabilitation project. Samples will provide information about the stability of existing structures, materials used to originally build the trail in the 1930s, and materials used for subsequent repairs over the last 80 years.
The entire trail width is required for setup of the drill rig, leaving no space for pedestrians to safely pass. The full trail closure is necessary for the safety of hikers and efficiency of drilling operations. For more information about the planning process for the Laurel Falls Trail rehabilitation, visit the park website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/LaurelFalls.
- National Park Service release