When we go on vacation, we want to go as a family. The whole family.
While it can sometimes be a challenge to bring along a pet on vacation, sometimes, it’s simply a necessity.
However, in the Smokies, it’s fairly well-known that there are limited trails that allow dogs.
Still, if you wish to bring your pet along on your next Tennessee vacation, you still have plenty of options in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Here are some of our favorite dog-friendly places in Gatlinburg and its surrounding areas:
If your Gatlinburg vacation lands you in Dollywood at any point, don’t worry. Dolly Parton knows that dogs are a man’s best friend.
Lookin’ at you, Cracker Jack.
While dogs are not allowed in the theme park (except for service animals), Doggywood can host your dog while you and your family enjoy Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Doggywood is adjacent to Guest Services at Dollywood’s front gate. Dogs are hosted for the day from $25-35, depending on accommodations.
Space is limited, so reservations are highly recommended. For more information, visit Dollywood’s website.
10. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is one of two walking paths where dogs are allowed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This one-way trail is 1.9 miles long and travels from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Gatlinburg.
This trail is relatively flat, but it offers beautiful views of the river and several old homesites along the path. Visit the NPS website for more information.
9. Oconaluftee River Trail
The Oconaluftee River Trail is the second trail that allows dogs within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The trail is 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Cherokee, North Carolina.
The trail is relatively flat, but it does have a few small hills. Visit the NPS website for more information.
8. Townsend Trail
The Townsend River Walk and Arboretum is located just on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains in Townsend, Tenn.
This trail is handicap accessible as well as pet friendly, and it’s open 7 days a week from dawn until dusk.
The Townsend River Walk and Arboretum has been certified by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
The River Walk is a 3/10-mile stretch between the Little River and Highway 321 and is open to the public. For more information, visit their website.
7. River Rat Tubing
Floating down the river is one of the most relaxing, fun ways to cool down from the heat on your Tennessee vacation.
River Rat Tubing offers a dog-friendly float on their Townsend Tubing Adventure. This family-friendly float has relaxing rapids, scenic views and a rock jump that is perfect for first-timers.
At the time of this writing, a dog tube is available for $5 at Outpost A. Dog parents are encouraged to tether their dog’s tube to their own. Tethers can be purchased for $5 in the gift shop.
It’s best if the dog is under 60 lbs and comfortable with water.
Changes may be on the horizon for the dog policy in 2022, so always check their website for the latest information.
6. Sevierville’s PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park
Sevierville’s PetSafe Dog Park offers separate large and small dog areas along with dog agility equipment, water and observation cameras.
Wi-Fi and shaded seating areas are also available for the humans while the fur-kids play.
Pets must be up to date on their shots as required by city and state. The park is located at 1005 Park Rd, Sevierville TN.
5. The Island in Pigeon Forge
The Island in Pigeon Forge is a great spot to explore in the Smokies. Home to the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, it has plenty of shops, dining areas, activities and relaxing areas to enjoy while you watch The Island Show Fountain.
The best part is: Dogs (on leashes) are welcome on the property.
It’s important to note, though, that individual shops at The Island may not allow pets inside.
Mellow Mushroom at The Island will allow pets on the patio if you decide to dine there. Speaking of dining on a patio with your pup …
4. Restaurants with patios (mostly)
As a general rule of thumb, many restaurants that have an outdoor patio will allow you bring your dog to dine with you.
But when in doubt, always check directly with the restaurant since this is dependent on the business.
Some of the restaurants in the Smokies that have dog-friendly patios include:
- Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant (The Apple Barn, Sevierville)
- Hard Rock Cafe (Pigeon Forge)
- Dick’s Last Resort (Pigeon Forge)
- Calhoun’s (Pigeon Forge)
- Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge)
- Howard’s Steakhouse (Gatlinburg)
- Fox & Parrot Tavern (Gatlinburg)
- Mellow Mushroom (Pigeon Forge)
3. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park
Gatlinburg’s SkyLift Park has a long history of going out of their way to accommodate our four-legged furry friends.
Prior to the fires in 2016 that burned down portions of the park, the attraction had allowed dogs to ride the SkyLift for a number of years.
As of today, dogs are allowed on the SkyLift, the SkyDeck, the SkyBridge and soon, they will be allowed on the SkyTrail. Dogs must be leashed at all times, and the owner must securely hold their dog while riding the SkyLift.
2. Moonshine distilleries
Moonshining in the Smokies is a popular activity, and luckily you do not need to leave your dog at home to sip on some moonshine.
Some moonshine distilleries, such as Ole Smoky and Sugarlands, will allow dogs on the premises.
Yee-Haw Brewing in Pigeon Forge is also dog-friendly.
1. Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge
Patriot Park is located along the banks of the Little Pigeon River, close to the Old Mill Square. The park is dedicated to veterans from Sevier County and has a half-mile walking trail.
Patriot Park is home to many activities throughout the year and is located at 186 Old Mill Ave in Pigeon Forge.
Is Gatlinburg dog friendly?
As a general rule of thumb, yes, Gatlinburg is dog friendly. Dogs are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times.
The Village Shops in Gatlinburg is a popular area to explore with your dog, but individual shops may vary on whether or not they allow your dog inside.
Stick to the two trails mentioned above if you do any hiking within the national park. According to the National Park Service, dogs are prohibited on most trails because dogs can:
- carry disease
- chase and threaten wildlife
- bark and disturb the wildlife
- become prey for larger predators
Remember to follow local and state guidelines when visiting the Smokies.
Did we miss any pet-friendly places in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments.