Smoky Mountains Trip With A Dog
Updated: Sep 8, 2022
How to plan a fun and memorable Smoky Mountains trip with a dog?
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As you may have heard, dogs are not allowed in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, but that doesn’t mean you have to leave them home.
There is still plenty to do with your dog, even if you can’t climb the mountain with him.
We recently went on a short 3 day trip with our beagle and we had so much fun.
We visited all the places I’ll mention below, and if you have a dog, I suggest you visit them too.
So here are some of the dog friendly places you can visit in the Smokys.
Gatlinburg Trail – Gatlinburg TN
So yes, while the Park’s website says dogs are not allowed in the park, there are 2 trails in the Smokys where you are allowed to bring them.
One of them is the Gatlinburg trail which is located in Gatlinburg Tennessee.
There are several entrances and parking spots, but the actual trailhead is located by this building: 916 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738.
This heavily trafficked trail is about 3.9 miles out and back. Does not loop around unfortunately.
The hike is rated easy, as you will be walking on a dirt road along the West Prong Little Pigeon River the entire time.
No climbing is required, good for all skill levels and age.
There some small waterfalls and rapids to look at, and several places to take pictures of your pooch.
The water is nice and clean, and COLD , but your pup should still enjoy playing alongside it.
Your dog will love this nice little trail.
There are very few free parking spots available, but I still recommend you trying to find one.
The large parking lot by the trail entrance costs about $15 for the day.
It’s kinda expensive if you are only coming to hike the trail.
Just like anywhere else, you are required to pick up after your dog.
However, I suggest you get your dog to poop before you go on the trail, as there are no poop bags or trashcans anywhere on the trail.
The only trashcan is at the entrance and that’s it.
There are no restrooms along the trail, but there is a gas station with an “okay“ restroom across the street from the trailhead in case you need it.
Oconaluftee River Trail NC
The other one called Oconaluftee River Trail and is located in the North Carolina side of the park.
It is very similar to the Gatlinburg trail, easy, relatively flat, and you will be walking alongside a river most of the time.
The trail is roughly 3.1 miles long out and back, and it very popular so expect lots of people.
The cool thing about this trail, unlike the Gatlinburg trail, you have a higher chance of seeing wildlife.
The most popular animal to see is elks.
I was pleasantly surprised how dog friendly Gatlinburg is, despite the park not being pet friendly.
While not all stores will allow dogs inside, you can explore the streets of Gatlinburg with your pup with no problem.
There are three places apart from the Gatlinburg Trail you should visit with your pooch!
Note: I’m not an affiliate with any of the places mentioned below. I recommend you these places based on my own experience!
The Village Shops
Take a nice walk with your pup in this tiny, but super cute European Village style “shopping center”.
You will feel like you have traveled back in time when you visit this place.
It is a great place to shop, relax or even eat.
Pick a gift for your family or friends from one of the 27 unique boutiques located in The Village Shops.
Note: Dogs may not be allowed in every store, but you should still ask.
People are super friendly, and most of them will welcome well behaved pups with no problems.
Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
If you and your pup aren’t scared of heights, check out this SkyLift park.
You take the Skylit chairs up to the SkyBridge where a beautiful scenery will greet you.
You and your pooch will be able to walk across North America’s longest pedestrian cable bridge, and take awesome pictures of the beautiful panoramic view of the mountains.
There is also a 30 feet of see-through glass at the middle of the bridge, where you an view the forest below you and maybe even see a bear.
Or you can just chill on one of the chairs, drink a beer and enjoy the view!
However check with the staff prior to booking what sized dogs they allow.
From what I know and experienced, they only allow dogs that can fit in your lap while going up the SkyLift chairs.
Ole Smoky Moonshine
After a long day of hiking and exploring, how about drinking some authentic Moonshine?
Check out this place. They are super pet friendly and you can bring your dog inside the premises.
Schedule a guided tour ahead to see how they make their finest moonshine and whisky, and of course you will be able to taste them too!
Be sure to bring your ID!
Just make sure your pup doesn’t drink any . (Alcohol isn’t safe for pets!!!)