Corona Virus in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Update - Many previously closed areas area now open!   See our detailed updates below with all of the latest re-opening information.

While we love sharing beautiful places in the Blue Ridge Mountains with you, at this time, due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, we ask that you stay home, and stay safe.   Many of the states, counties, and cities that contain the Blue Ridge Mountains are under stay at home orders, and travel to/from the Blue Ridge Mountains is limited, with some counties and towns closed to visitors.

Further more, many parks and facilities are closed.   Events have been cancelled, and nearly all hotels/motels, and rental properties are closed.

On a more personal note...

You are ALL more than just "visitors" to us.  We are a family, a family of people who share a common love for the Blue Ridge Mountains.  

We are thinking of you everyday during this stressful time, and pray that you remain safe, and have the money and supplies that you need.   We included an image of the rainbow above, as there is hope.  

We will get through this, and these mountains will reopen for everyone to enjoy once again.   For now, just stay safe.   The Blue Ridge Mountains have been around for millions of years, and have survived far more, they will still be here for you, and so will we.

Thank you for following us, we cherish and appreciate you all very much.

- Larry, Jenn, and family

Coronavirus updates for the Blue Ridge Mountains

The following are the latest and historical coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for the Blue Ridge Mountains:

  • NEW!  5/19/2020 Great Smoky Mountains National Park Restores Limited Campground and Visitor Center Services
    • Beginning on Monday, June 8, the following areas will be accessible: 
      • Cades Cove and Smokemont Campgrounds
      • Anthony Creek Horse Camp
      • Sugarlands, Oconaluftee, Cades Cove, and Clingmans Dome Visitor Centers and Great Smoky Mountains Association Bookstores
      • Backcountry Information Office at Sugarlands Visitor Center
      • Cable Mill and Mingus Mill
      • Abrams Creek Road
      • Cataloochee Road (to Palmer Chapel only due to road washout)
      • Forge Creek Road
      • Rich Mountain Road
    • Beginning on Monday, June 15, the following areas will be accessible:
      • Elkmont Road
      • Elkmont Campground
      • Spence Cabin
  • 5/19/2020 - Phase 2 of National Park Reopenings are occurring:
    • The Blue Ridge Parkway between Craggy Gardens Picnic Area and Mount Mitchell has reopened allowing visitor access to the entire motor road in North Carolina as of today. Most of Virginia has been and remains open as well for driving, hiking and outdoor recreation with the exception of the northern-most 13 miles from milepost 0 - 13. 
    • The Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced additionally trail and road openings:
      • Clingmans Dome is now open
      • Additional trails and roads will reopen on Saturday, May 23, including: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Big Creek Road and Big Creek Picnic Area, Cosby Road and Cosby Picnic Area, Greenbrier Road as far as Ramsey Cascades Trailhead and Tremont Road. Any and all park trails that remained closed at the beginning of Phase 1 will reopen on Saturday.
  • Beginning Saturday May 9th, the Blue Ridge Parkway will reopen gates providing motor vehicle access to the southernmost 14 miles of the park, from Milepost 454 – 469, in coordination with the Qualla Boundary and Great Smoky Mountains National Park planned reopening.
  • Beginning Saturday May 15th, the Blue Ridge Parkway will reopen gates providing motor vehicle access at the following locations in North Carolina, once initial seasonal mowing and road preparations are complete:
    • Milepost 292-296.5 near Blowing Rock, including Moses Cone Parking Area and Highway 221 Bass Lake Parking Lot.
    • Milepost 298.6-308 through Grandfather Mountain area, including Rough Ridge and Linn Cove Viaduct.
    • Milepost 316.4 Linville Falls Spur Road, including parking at Linville Falls trailheads.
    • Milepost 334-342, including Crabtree Falls Area, near Little Switzerland.
    • Milepost 355-375.6 from Mt. Mitchell to Ox Creek, including Craggy Gardens.
    • Milepost 377.4 Parking areas at Craven Gap (Town Mountain Rd) for MST Trail access.
    • Milepost 384.7 Roadside parking at MST Trailheads at U.S. 74A Parkway access ramps.
    • Milepost 393-454 from the French Broad River Overlook and south to Soco Gap.
    • All Parkway trails, and all other sections of the motor route in North Carolina and Virginia previously accessible to motor vehicle traffic.
  • 5/5/2020 - The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will begin a phased re-open process on Saturday, 5/9.  Get the details!
  • 5/5/2020 - NC announces it will move into Phase 1 of a 3 phase re-opening plan, effective at 5pm on 5/8.    This will include re-openings of hotels/motels,  state parks and trails.  People are allowed to leave home for additional commercial activity.   The order encourages people to go out and visit state parks!  Social distancing guidelines will remain in place.  Parks reopening include: 
  • The Blue Ridge Parkway announces additional and significant road closures, effective immediately.  Read the press release for details.  You can see a visual map of the closures on the Real Time Closures Map.
  • The National Forest Service in North Carolina announces additional road and trail closures.
  • Shenandoah National Park is now closed.   As a result, the northern part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP0 - MP13), is now closed as well.  Additionally,  Skyline Drive from mile 0 at Front Royal to mile 65.5 at Route 33 (Swift Run Gap), is also now closed.
  • The U.S. Forest Service has temporarily closed the following areas in Pisgah National Forest:
    • Half of the Black Mountain trailhead.
    • One entrance to the Ranger Station/Visitor Center.
    • The lower portion of Avery Creek Road and associated designated roadside campsites.
    • Coontree Rec Area.
    • Looking Glass Falls
    • Looking Glass Falls Picnic Area.
    • Pink Beds Rec. Area.
    • NFSR 816 at the BRP intersection (Black Balsam).
    • Rice Pinnacle trailhead in Bent Creek.
    • Bent Creek Road and the associated Ledford Branch trailhead.
  • 4/1/2020 - The Blue Ridge Parkway announces additional closures and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park extends its closure to April 30th.
  • 3/30/2020 - Announcements include:
    • Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam announces statewide stay-at-home order.
    • North Carolina Governor, Roy Cooper's statewide stay-at-home order is effective 5pm.
    • Additional Closure announcements for Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest.   Visit the National Forest page for details.
  • 3/27/2020 - Pisgah National Forest and Nantahala National Forest announce closures to campgrounds, recreation areas, and more.  Visit the National Forest page for details.
  • 3/24/2020 - Great Smoky Mountains National Park announced it is closing, including Highway 441 from Gatlinburg to Cherokee.   Dupont State Forest closed.   The Blue Ridge Parkway announced facilities closures.
  • 3/17/2020 - NC Governor Roy Cooper ordered all restaurants and bars to be closed at 5 PM today until further notice.   Carry-out/Take out service is allowed.

Known Coronavirus Closures

Due to the vast size of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and number of parks and facilities, this may not be a complete list of closures, but we are making every possible attempt to keep this list as comprehensive as possible.

Updated 3/31/2020

How to Enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains from home

While you're staying safe at home, there are many ways to continue to enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains, and get the latest news and information:

  • Join our Blue Ridge Mountain Life Group on Facebook.  Lots of beautiful photos, videos, and confirmed and accurate COVID-19 information (shared by the admin team only).   Our group is a wonderful and peaceful retreat on Facebook.
  • Head over to our Youtube Channel, and virtually experience the Blue Ridge Mountains with us!
  • Visit our numerous hiking guides, waterfall guides, and attraction guides here on our website.  Many are full of photos and video for you to enjoy.
  • Follow us on Instagram for lots of beautiful photos.  Be sure to check out who we are following as well, for some amazing and talented photographers.

Want to learn more?

Check out these articles below