The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a must-see destination for outdoor lovers of all ages. It also provides some of the best hiking and camping activities anywhere in the country. If you’ve been thinking about planning a visit, here are some things you should know before arriving. Here's five tips to making the most of your time visiting!
1. Permits are required for backcountry camping within the park. Camping is permitted only at designated campsites, and is limited to three or fewer consecutive nights. The maximum number of people in your party should be eight or fewer; however, special permission can be granted for groups of up to 12.
2. Anything that emits an odor must be hung on a bear cable system so as not to attract these creatures. This includes food, soap, personal hygiene items, or even certain medicines.
3. Fires are permitted only in fire rings. Campers are not permitted to burn anything except dead wood. You may gather dead wood to use for this purpose, so long as it is on the ground. No cutting of limbs is permitted-not even for roasting hot dogs or marshmallows. Fires may not be built in the fireplaces of any historic buildings.
4. Certain trails and roads throughout the park can be closed from time to time for maintenance or due to inclement weather. To find out the latest information on trail closures, you can call 865-436-1200, and then dial extension 631.
5. There are a number of hiker shuttle services that operate outside the park. A few of them include A Walk in the Woods, Highlands Shuttle Service, and Bluff Mountain Operators. To make reservations, contact these shuttle services directly.
When hiking in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, you’ll need sunscreen, insect repellant and plenty of water. You’ll also need the right affordable sunglasses, hats and other accessories as well. To find the right gear for your trip, visit Pugs!