Storm Damage to Western North Carolina Closes Landmarks Ahead of Labor Day Weekend

Devastating flooding from Tropical Storm Fred has rendered many beloved Carolina falls and hiking trails dangerous or inaccessible. Pisgah National Forest was especially impacted, with the bridge at Skinny Dip Falls obliterated and the path of the water permanently altered. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

By Emiene Wright

September 1, 2021

As Labor Day approaches, Tropical Storm Fred has left many of western North Carolina’s iconic public lands closed for visitors.

As Labor Day weekend approaches, Tropical Storm Fred’s damage has left many of western North Carolina’s iconic public lands closed or nearly unrecognizable. 

Access has been affected to the area’s beloved national forests, with roads and hiking trails either impassable or in danger of landslides and mudslides. Log jams are also clogging rivers, making tubing, swimming and boating hazardous. Closures include:

Recreation Areas

  • Skinny Dip Falls, accessed from mile 417 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The bridge was completely washed away and the path of the water has completely changed. 
  • Davidson River between Coontree Picnic Area 
  • Sycamore Flats Picnic Area 
  • Sliding Rock’s recreation area  
  • Looking Glass Falls’ stairs, lower observation deck and pool
  • The Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education in Transylvania County is closed and all classes are suspended until further notice. 
  • The Bobby N. Setzer Fish Hatchery and Wildlife Education Center

Roads closed to cars, bicycles and horses:

  • Davidson River Road from Balsam Grove to Gloucester Gap (FSR 475)
  • Courthouse Creek Road (FSR 140)
  • Yellow Gap Road (FS 1206)
  • Pilot Mountain Road (FSR 229)
  • Stoney Fork Road (FSR 63) bridge was washed away
  • Big Ivy Road, Coleman Boundary (FSR 74)
  • South Toe Road (FSR 472) closed at gate 2 miles past Black Mountain campground with no access to the Blue Ridge Parkway  
  • No cars are allowed at Sycamore Flats Recreation Area, on the north side of the Art Loeb Trail and Little East Fork Trailhead at Daniel Boone Boy Scout Camp. 
  • Cove Creek Group Camps
  • The Appalachian Ranger District is currently discouraging use of any Forest Service roads, trails, and camping sites around Barnardsville, Burnsville, and Hot Springs.


  • Black Mountain Campground is open.
  • Smokemont Campground remains open from the North Carolina side.
  • Newfound Gap Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was closed due to a rockslide near mile marker 13, but has been reopened.
  • All storm-related closures on the Blue Ridge Parkway have been lifted, but visitors should drive carefully and avoid areas impacted by the rains.
  • Visitors to Panthertown Valley in the Nantahala National Forest should use caution on the trails. Creek crossings may be impassable and the ground is soggy and could be unstable. 

For updated closure information, visit North Carolina’s National Forests page.


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