Major Changes Scheduled for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2015

Scenic Smoky Mountain view from a one bedroom Gatlinburg cabin.

The coming of a new year is always a time for reflection and progress. We find ourselves both looking back at all the many blessings that the previous year has brought us, as well as ways that we can improve in the upcoming days.

For the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this time of year is no different. In fact, we at HearthSide Cabin Rentals are excited to announce two major changes planned for our beloved national park in the upcoming year.

Alum Cave Trail Closing

Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain hiking trails. At only five miles long, round trip, it is great for both experienced and beginner hikers. It also offers an array of scenic and beautiful views that you cannot find anywhere else in the park.

However, all of this will temporarily stop for visitors as members of the National Park Service will begin renovations on this popular hiking trail. According to the NPS, these renovations are intended to help improve both the infrastructure and the safety of the trail.

peaceful hike in the Great Smoky MountainsRenovations will be done by The Trails Forever crews, the same crew who recently finished renovations on the Chimney Tops Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are scheduled to begin work on May 4, 2015. The trail will be closed to visitors from Monday morning at 7 a.m. to Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m. Families and guests can still explore the trails Friday-Sunday.

Renovations are planned to be completed no later than November 19, 2015.

For the National Park Service, these modifications have been a long time coming as they respond to several calls throughout the year of guests needed assistance on the trails, most of which are accidents.

The new renovations for the Alum Cave Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will include:

-Repairing the cable and handrail system

-Reinforcing the hanging trail sections

-Lowering the amount of trail braiding

-Fighting erosion by improving the drainage system

-Rebuilding areas damaged by landslides.

If you would like more information on the repairs and renovations of the Alum Cave Trail, be sure to visit the National Park Service’s website at

Smoky Mountain artifacts in the new preservation facilityGrand Opening of New Great Smoky Mountains National Park Preservation Center

Since we mentioned something closing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we would like to take a minute and announce something that will soon be opening, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park Preservation Center.

Located next door to the new Smoky Mountain Heritage Center in Townsend, the climate-controlled preservation center will be home to over 400,000 artifacts and 1.3 million archival records that capture the history of the people who once called the Smokies home. These artifacts will include logging-era equipment, vintage weapons, tools, personal items, clothing, textiles, papers and documents, songs, folklore, photographs, and any several other memorabilia.

The center will also be home to several artifacts from the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park and Obed Wild and Scenic River.

Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center

old wheel in the new Great Smoky Mountains National Park PPreservation CenterVisitors and families will have a chance to view all of the artifacts that will be houses in the new preservation center when they visit the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. As we mentioned earlier, the heritage center is located next door to the planned spot for the preservation center at 123 Cromwell Drive in Townsend, TN.

This Smoky Mountain museum is perfect for families and guests who love the rich history and culture born in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The heritage center is open year-round on Mondays-Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.

Admission to the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center is $6 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. Children under the age of six are admitted for tree.

Families can also experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains for themselves by staying in one of the many spacious and relaxing Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg cabin rentals offered by HearthSide Cabin rentals. All just a short drive from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, our rentals are great for families, church groups, corporate retreats, and wedding parties looking to spend a few peaceful days in the heart of the Smokies.

For more information on our rentals, be sure to give us a call at the number above. Our vacation experts are standing by!

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