• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

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  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Backcountry Camping - Backpacking

Reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. To make reservations, please visit the backcountry reservation website.
 

Things You Need to Know About Backcountry Camping in the Smokies
As of February 2013, Great Smoky Mountains National Park requires a permit and advance reservations for all backcountry camping in the park. Before planning your backcountry trip, please read through this important information about reservations and permits, regulations, bear safety, trail closures, and more.

Please direct questions concerning backpacking trip planning to the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297. Phone calls are the preferred method of contact. The information office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). In addition to answering your backpacking questions, the experienced backpackers in the Backcountry Information Office can provide you with tips to make your trip safe and enjoyable.

The park has over 800 miles of trails offering hikers a wide range of scenery including spectacular mountain vistas, rushing streams and waterfalls, historic structures, and quiet groves of old-growth forest. You can download a park trail map to find the location of trails, backcountry shelters, and campsites in the park.

In addition, the Great Smoky Mountains Association sells a variety of hiking books, maps, and guides to help choose a hiking route and plan your backcountry trip. You can contact the Association by calling (865) 436-0120 or by visiting www.SmokiesInformation.org. The Great Smoky Mountains Association is a nonprofit organization that supports educational and scientific programs in the park.

 
Backpackers and hikers are subject to all Backcountry Rules and Regulations. Failure to abide by park regulations may subject you to a fine under Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations. Maximum fine for each violation is $5,000 and/or 6 months in jail.
 

Quarantine Notice: The possession of firewood, whether hardwood or softwood, originating from a location for which a federal or state firewood quarantine is in effect is prohibited in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This closure prohibits the movement of firewood into the park from counties adjacent to the park for which a federal or state quarantine is in place, even if the quarantine allows for movement within the county. Failure to comply may result in a citation or seizure of firewood. Please see the list of quarantined states and counties.

Firewood which is in its original packaging stamped with a USDA - APHIS - PPQ shield stating that the wood is certified under one or more sections of federal regulation 7 CFR 301 is allowed. Also firewood which is purchased from a park concessioner is allowed. Visit www.nature.org/firewoodmap for a map of local stores and businesses that sell certified firewood.

Click for additional information about this quarantine, including states affected.

Did You Know?

Visitors can often spot bears in trees at the edges of forests.

Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the park. This equals a population density of approximately two bears per square mile. Bears can be found throughout the park, but are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley. More...