State parks ready for visitors as temperatures rise
State park rangers in both Tennessee and Virginia are looking forward to visitors this weekend as the Storm Track 5 team forecasts warmer temperatures.
Here's what rangers told News 5 that hikers and those wanting to get outside should watch for.
Rocky Fork State Park (Unicoi County) - Rangers said that regardless of temperature or sun vs shade, expect wet ground. It may be muddy and even icy in some spots. The road to the park is also slick despite it being treated. The park is usually five degrees cooler than what most people expect due to the amount of shade.
Roan Mountain State Park (Carter County) - Ranger Meg Guy said there's three inches of snow on the ground throughout most of the park. She told News 5 that if you're going to hit the trails, make sure to dress in warm layers. You may even wear what you think is sufficient, and bring extra.
If you're trying to get up to Carvers Gap, watch the road. Guy said the last three miles of Highway 143 were tricky with icy patches and snow still on the road.
Warriors' Path State Park (Kingsport) - "Most of our trails are in fine shape right now, although of course there are some icy patches and slippery places on most of them," Ranger Marty Silver said. "One result of the snow and ice is that a small section of our Lake Hollow Trail has slid off into the lake! So folks should avoid that trail until next week, when I have time to repair this."
Silver said the wildlife has been active. He has seen many tracks along the trails including rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, fox, and opossums.
Sycamore Shoals State Park (Elizabethton) - Rangers at Sycamore Shoals said they keep the trails maintained. However, as the snow melts, the water may make the trails mushy.
Natural Tunnel State Park (Scott County) - The park is closed January 19th and 20th for managed deer hunts.
Wilderness Road State Park (Ewing) - Ranger Scott Bowen told News 5 there's just over an inch of snow on the ground in spots, but it's also melted off. The Wilderness Road Trail is in "good shape." Some trees had fallen, but those have been cleared off.
Grayson Highlands State Park (Grayson County) - Rangers said there's about 4 inches of snow throughout the park. The back-country and higher elevations may even have drifting. Some sections of the park are muddy and slushy. Prepare for adverse conditions and unsure footing. If hiking the Appalachian Trail, make sure to have a map. Rangers said many blazes in the area are on rocks or the ground and may be covered with snow.
Hungry Mother State Park (Marion) - Ranger Nathan Clark told News 5 there's a light layer of snow in the park. There may be ice on some of the trails. He said make sure to wear good shoes and warm clothes.