When you’re visiting Gatlinburg, there’s so many great things to see and do, but one of the most popular is spending time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Lots of people forget some of the important things to remember about the national park, so we’re sharing 5 Great Smoky Mountains National Park facts you don’t want to forget:
1. There are only 2 pet friendly trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
If you’re staying in one of our pet friendly cabins in Gatlinburg, you’ll love spending time in the national park with your pet, too! Since you’re only a few minutes from the national park, you can pack up your family and pet in the car and take the short drive into the mountains.
When you arrive in the park, we recommend parking at Sugarlands Visitor Center. From there, you will see the Gatlinburg Trail. The trail will take you about 2 miles one way right on the outskirts of Gatlinburg. This trail is great for kids, families and pets. It’s not a strenuous hike by any means. For the most part, it would be considered a flat trail that travels along the Little Pigeon River. The trail features some great views of the river as well as the greenery and wooded area of the national park.
For more information about the Gatlinburg Trail, you can take a look at the National Park Service website.
The second pet friendly hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Oconaluftee River Trail. This trail is located on the North Carolina side of the mountain. So, when you’re staying with us, the best place to go is the Gatlinburg Trail.
2. Your cell phone signal will be extremely limited.
Many people forget that cell phone signal is limited within the national park. If you’re planning on spending a day hiking in the mountains, it’s a good idea to let someone know where you’ll be and when you plan to return in case of any emergencies.
Since you won’t have much cell phone signal once you enter the park, we recommend not separating from your family or group. If you have a large group, separating to hike different trails isn’t any problem, but families should definitely stay together for safety. Never let kids hike on a trail alone as the national park can be dangerous if they are not aware of their surroundings.
3. Attractions, restaurants and gas stations are only located outside the national park.
There are no attractions, restaurants or gas stations inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so you should make sure to take care of all of these stops before you arrive. Don’t go hiking when you’re hungry, so make sure to eat before and pack nutritional snacks in a backpack for your hike.
If you plan to spend time on a driving tour in the Smoky Mountains, you should make sure to fill up your gas tank before entering the park. You don’t want to run out of gas while you’re traveling along Newfound Gap Road or any of the other roads in the park!
4. Be mindful of the wildlife because you’re in their natural habitat.
As always, be aware of your surroundings. The wildlife in the national park do not intend to hurt or harm anyone. In fact, they will stay away from you if you give them the appropriate space. If you see wildlife, don’t approach it; just watch the wildlife from a distance. You have to remember that you’re in their natural habitat, so just be careful and make sure to avoid any encounters with wild animals.
5. Don’t ignore safety warnings and regulations.
One of the most important Great Smoky Mountains National Park tips we can offer you is: absolutely, under no condition, should you ignore safety warnings or national park regulations. If you come upon a broken footbridge or a sign that advises you to take another route, don’t ignore the recommendation. Those signs and warnings are posted for your safety!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget these sort of Great Smoky Mountains National Park tips, so make sure to remind everyone in your group before you head into the mountains for the day!
If you’re ready to plan your vacation to Gatlinburg TN, take a look at all of our Gatlinburg cabins and chalets for your stay. We offer a variety of amenities, so you can enjoy a vacation in a home away from home! You can book your stay online, or feel free to give us a call any time. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have!