Great Smoky Mtns NP – Shelter Closure – Russell Field




Officials with Great Smoky Mountains National Park have closed Russell Field Shelter (NOBO mile 181.1) due to bear activity, including a food-conditioned bear damaging a tent.

Hikers should avoid this shelter site, including not stopping here for breaks or to eat.

A bear warning is in effect for nearby Mollies Ridge Shelter (NOBO mile 178.0), which remains open. Hikers should exercise caution in these areas, always properly store all food and scented items at night using the provided bear cables, keep a clean camp, pack out all trash and food waste, and never leave food unattended – even for a moment such as a quick trip to the privy or to check out a view.

The ATC strongly recommends that all overnight hikers use a bear canister for the duration of their time on the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Since all food and scented items must be hung from the provided bear cables while in the park, hikers using bear canisters should hang their canisters inside their packs. Never tie ropes to your bear canister – this can allow a bear to carry it away.

Learn more about bear canisters and bear safety on the A.T. here. Report bear encounters via ATC’s Bear Encounter Report Form.

For the latest alerts and park conditions, visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park website.