Hiking in the Smoky Mountains with your pet is a great activity. Our four-legged friends love the fresh air and being out in the open. The natural scenery also provides a stunning backdrop for photos you can cherish for years. To ensure both a safe and fun visit for both yourself and your fur baby, follow these 3 helpful tips for hiking in the Smoky Mountains with your pet:
1. Stay on the Pet Friendly Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is the only pet friendly trail on the Tennessee side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This trail is ideal for dogs because it has flat terrain and is short in distance. One reason why pets are prohibited on other trails in the park is because of the potentially rough terrain. They can also pose a threat to the wildlife if they bark or veer off the trail into the animals’ homes. Even if you are on the pet friendly trail, make sure to keep your pet on a short leash (no more than 6 feet). Uncontrolled pets can be a great disturbance to wildlife and to other visitors in the park. Additionally, during your hike and throughout your time in the park, make sure to clean up after your pet because we want the park to stay timeless and beautiful for years to come.
2. Bring Water
It is safe to say that excessive physical activity tires our pets out as much as it does us. However, our pets can’t actually tell us they are tired. With that being said, make sure that you bring plenty of water for your pet when you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains no matter how hot or cold it is. Believe it or not, dogs are actually thirstier in the colder temperatures because of the decrease in humidity in the air. Some common signs of dehydration in dogs include sunken, dry looking eyes and thick saliva.
3. Be Mindful of the Weather
Never leave your pet unattended in a vehicle when you are visiting the Smoky Mountains. The area can get as hot as 84℉ and as cold as 29℉. Even though both conditions are dangerous for your pet, the warmer months can be more harmful because doggy paws and the hot pavement are not a good combination. When walking on the roads and picnic areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, make sure the ground is not too hot for your pet to walk on. You can do this by placing the back of your hand on the ground. If you can’t keep it there for at least 10 seconds, it is too hot for your dog’s paws. As for the colder months, make sure you limit your pet’s time outside so that he doesn’t get too cold. Moreover, be cautious about hiking in icy conditions.
We hope you follow these tips the next time you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains with your four-legged friend. We would be happy to provide a cozy place for you both to unwind after a fun hike. Explore all of our pet friendly cabins and their amenities to find the perfect one for your vacation!