Can We Bring our Pets In The Smoky Mountains?
This is quite a popular topic so we thought we would address it and clear things up a bit. Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
Bringing your dog with you on hikes in the smokies is not allowed except for the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconaluftee River Trail. These are the only two and there are no exceptions.
Although some people may view these rules as a bit extreme, the reasons for these rules are very important.
Dogs have been prohibited since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in the 1930’s.
Reasons Why Dogs Are Not Allowed In The Smokies:
– The Threat of Disease carried by Dogs into the park’s wildlife populations.
– The Threat of Dogs to other Wildlife
– Disturbance to birds and other animals away from their feeding and home sites
– Dogs can also encounter insects that bite and transmit disease and plants that are poisonous or full of painful thorns and burrs.
– Barking of Dogs can scare visitors and wildlife
– Children are often frightened by dogs
– Pets brought in to the Smokies may become prey to large predators and draw attention visitors as well.
Park and Pet Safety Best Practices
There have been a number of incidents at National Parks that involved dogs being attacked by large predators and injuring or killing the dog. Incidents such as these are the primary reasons for the rules in place.
If you do bring your pet with you to a campground or picnic area, make sure that they remain on a leash at all times. If not the could get loose and travel into danger.
Make sure to bring plastic bags to pick up any waste produced by your pet and keep the area and park clean.
While we all love to take our pets along with us on fun trips and new adventures, the Smoky Mountains hiking trails are not the place. Following the rules that have been set by the park professionals, will ensure that everyone that visits and lives in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is safe and has a great time. For more information on park rules it is best to contact the National Park Service direct.