By Julie Matthews
Pets are often loved like family members and travelers enjoy including their pets in their vacation plans. Because it is a national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has restrictions where dogs are permitted, nonetheless, there are many ways to spend quality time with your furry friend during your visit to the Tennessee Smokies.
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the two paths where dogs are permitted, but must be kept on a leash, are the Gatlinburg Trail (from the Sugarland Visitor Center) and the Oconaluftee River Trail (from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center). In addition, dogs are allowed along the roads, campgrounds and picnic areas.
A sampling of other dog-friendly activities and destinations in the Smokies include the following:
• Road trips – Drive around the 11-mile loop at Cades Cove and enjoy the wonderful sights, including wildlife viewing.
• Outdoor attractions –Head up to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park for spectacular views, or drop off the dog at Doggywood, while the family spends the day in Dollywood in Pigeon Forge
• Dog parks – Let the dog run free at Sevierville’s PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park.
• Restaurants – Dine at restaurants with outdoor patio areas where dogs are allowed to hang out with their owners, such as the Hard Rock Cafe in Pigeon Forge or the Fox and Parrot Tavern in Gatlinburg.
The Tennessee Smokies has a variety of lodging accommodations that are dog friendly from hotels to cabins and more.
As with any travel planning, it is best to research options before going on your trip. Follow the pet rules and regulations and have a positive experience vacationing with your pet in the Tennessee Smokies.