Scenic Byways and Land Slides in last few days


Last week heavy rains (up to 9 inches) caused many land slides in the Smoky Mountain Region. 30 plus slides in Swain and Graham county alone. The good news, the roads are still intact with most of them. However, there are couple major slides and closures.

US Hwy 441 at Newfoundland Gap, the slide is as long a football field and very deep. Major repairs that could take months and the springs rains are yet to come.

This is the major connecting road for the Smoky Mountain National Park...connecting Gatlinburg and Cherokee and Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Cherohala Skyway is closed with a smaller slide of 100 or so feet. Not a major connection road, but high tourism road and very scenic.

Traveling in the area this spring and summer would warrant checking before planning your travel.

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May be a while before it's fixed

Looking at pictures from local media ( there's actually a good sized bit of Newfound Gap Road just north of Smokemont that's gone missing from the landslide...very fortunate thing the NPS had the road closed due to flooding, or there could have been loss of life.

Definitely they'll have to shore things up and possibly build a bridge to get the road going again--they're hoping OPTIMISTICALLY that the road will be open again in summer (especially as that's the main road into Cherokee from Gatlinburg) but we'll see how time and funding goes. (Per some news reports, it turns out an underground spring may have caused the road to subside (|topnews|bc|large); if so, that's going to quite possibly require a bridge or at least under-road drainage for the spring.)

For now, 441 is open (from Gatlinburg) to Newfound Gap (and Clingman's Dome, once that reopens in spring) and (from Cherokee) up to Smokemont Campground; to get to Cherokee proper, it's going to be...difficult, comparatively speaking (North Carolina got hit quite a bit worse).

Cherohala Skyway (one of the primary alternative routes that would be scenic) is also closed due to landslides (, and about the one workable route (assuming IT hasn't also been closed due to landslides) would be--if one wanted to go to Cherokee from Gatlinburg--to take US 321 to Cosby, take the Foothills Parkway to I-40, then take I-40 east to US-23 at Clyde, then take US-23 west to 441. (Which is about an extra hour and a half, but not much to be done.)

(And if Cherokee's got it bad, Maggie Valley has it worse; per the incident map from NCDOT, it looks like Maggie Valley is pretty much cut off from the rest of the world between landslides and flooding. O_o)