in the Smoky Mountains generally travel about one and a half to two miles
per hour, so allow plenty of time to complete your hike before dark.
Sunset times range from 5:20 pm in Winter to 8:50 pm in Summer.
to elevation gain, inclement weather and the climate in the park,
pack appropriate clothing, dress in layers, wear comfortable shoes
or boots and quality socks that will provide the proper cushioning
for your feet.
and creeks should be maneuvered around carefully. Accidentally
falling into water, even in the summer months can cause
hypothermia, another reason for proper clothing. Experienced
hikers also recommend taking a whistle or wearing bells to
announce their presence to boars and bears and carrying 2
of Rich Stevenson
to the hiking
trails! Getting lost is much more likely to occur if you stray from
the established trail. If you are hiking in the backcountry, a compass and
small first aid kit should be included with your gear.
water may contain impurities and parasites than can make you sick. All
water should be boiled, filtered or treated with iodine pills before use.
It is recommended to carry adequate water. A minimum of 2 quarts per
person per day.
Trail maps, trail
conditions and current weather information may be obtained at any visitor
center, purchased at the Great Smoky
are not allowed on any trails except for the Gatlinburg Trail and the
Oconaluftee River Trail and they must remain on leashes at all times. To avoid crowds, hike during the week, begin your
hike early, avoid holidays and hike during the "off" season.
Backcountry Camping Permits ~
Backcountry Camping Permits are required for all
overnight camping in the backcountry and are free of charge. You may
obtain a permit at any ranger station
by following posted instructions, but reservations are encouraged if
your trip includes a rationed site, since some sites are rationed due to
popularity. If no rationed sites
are involved, you may obtain your permit via self-registration upon your
arrival to the park.
You must telephone the Backcountry
Reservation Office at 865-436-1231 to obtain permission for the use of rationed sites.
Failure to do voids your Backcountry Camping Permit and puts you in violation of
the National Park Service regulations.
No more than 8 people per party. Stays are limited to 1 consecutive night
at a shelter and 3 consecutive nights at a campsite. Contact the
reservation office immediately to cancel or make changes to your plans.
Backcountry Reservation Office is open 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6