Dog walking in the Smoky Mountains National Park
October 25, 2019

While you might have read that pets are prohibited on the trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they actually are allowed in several areas of the park! This means you can bring your beloved pet along for the fun and let them enjoy some exercise among the beauty of the mountains! Here are 3 places where you can bring your pet when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Campgrounds and Picnic Areas

happy dog on leash

Dogs are allowed in campgrounds and picnic areas inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as long as they are always kept securely on a leash that is a maximum of 6 feet long. Enjoy a delightful afternoon picnic in the sunshine with your pet at your side or take a pleasant stroll through the campground! Just remember to be courteous to other visitors since barking can disturb the peace of the wilderness. Also keep in mind to collect and disposed of any pet waste.

2. Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg Trail is one of two trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where pets are permitted while on a leash. This 1.9-mile trail runs from the outskirts of Gatlinburg to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, where you can enjoy extensive natural history exhibits, speak with a park ranger, and even watch a 20 minute film about the park! The Gatlinburg Trail is relatively flat and runs along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, making it the perfect destination to enjoy some exercise and some spectacular views of the river! At one point, the river is crossed by a pedestrian foot bridge where you can take some beautiful photographs. While exploring the trail, you will also notice the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites.

3. Oconaluftee River Trail

small dog standing on a log

The other trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where pets are allowed is the Oconaluftee River Trail, which travels 1.5 miles one way from the outskirts of Cherokee, NC to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, where exhibits explain the story of life in the mountains from native Americans and early European settlement up to the development of the national park. The Oconaluftee River Trail is fairly flat, but it does have a few small hills along the way. The trail runs through the forest along the Oconaluftee River and provides fabulous view!

Areas for Pets Outside of the Park

Since most of the hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park do prohibit dogs, you’ll be glad to know there are several other public lands outside of the Smokies where you can hike with your dog. These include the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cherokee National Forest, and Nantahala National Forest. There is also a modern dog park in Sevierville TN, PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park, where your dog can get plenty of exercise!

Now since you know where you can walk your dog inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can bring your furry companion along for the fun! If you prefer to simply take your pet along for a drive through the park, check out some of the best scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains!