LeConte Lodge reports record snowfall since 1993

Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead November 1

©2014 PHOTO COURTESY OF NPS Crews with the NPS shoveled snow around the vehicles parked at the Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead Saturday, located on Newfound Gap Road, US 441, in preparation for any LeConte Lodge guests that attempted to brave the elements and hike back down to their vehicles. Mount LeConte and the LeConte Lodge are accessible via the Alum Cave Bluffs trail, as it is the shortest of the five access trails.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Morristown and workers with LeConte Lodge, Mount LeConte recorded 22 inches of snow from Friday night’s storm.

Clingmans Dome Trailhead November 3

©2014 PHOTO COURTESY OF NPS The National Park Service Road Crews were able to make a dent in the clearing of some snow and ice along Clingmans Dome Road on Sunday; however the road remained closed as of Monday, Nov. 3. Crews with the NPS were able to capture photos of the snow that is still hanging around at the trailhead to Clingmans Dome.

That impressive amount of snowfall broke the daily record for the park, which was 7.2 inches for Mount LeConte in 1993. Workers said in the lodge’s blog that “snowdrifts were larger than waist high around the grounds. As of 3 p.m. Saturday, the temperature was 17-degrees with some wind.”

LeConte Lodge, the highest guest lodge in the eastern United States with an elevation of 6,400 feet, was closed on Saturday (with the exception of taking care of the guests that reached the summit on Friday). Crews with the National Park Service closed all roads due to snow and ice conditions and concerns of downed trees from the high winds and heavy snow.

As of Sunday, Nov. 3, Mount LeConte was only accessible via the Rainbow Falls Trail.

NPS Rangers also evacuated campers from the Elkmont and Cades Cove campgrounds on Saturday due to falling trees and other safety concerns. All campers were evacuated from Elkmont while only tent campers were evacuated from Cades Cove, as RV campers were permitted to stay for the time being.

As of Monday, Nov. 3, most roads and facilities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) reopened. US 441, Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg, Tenn. and Cherokee, N.C., reopened with the caution to watch for snow and ice. Little River Road from Gatlinburg to the Townsend Wye reopened to all vehicle traffic with the caution to watch for snow and ice.

US 441 November 1

©2014 PHOTO COURTESY OF NPS Newfound Gap Road, US 441, from Gatlinburg to Cherokee was closed over the weekend due to snow and ice. This photo was taken on Saturday after NPS Road Crews cleared the road.

Clingmans Dome Road remained closed Monday due to snow and ice conditions along the seven mile stretch to the Clingmans Dome Trailhead and visitors center. That road is located at the summit of Newfound Gap Road, US 441.

Several roads and facilities are now closed for the season, including the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, which will be closed until April 2015.

For more updates on road conditions and closures in the GSMNP visit www.nps.gov/grsm. One can also call 865-436-1200 ext. 631 for road conditions and closures.

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