• 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 »

Leave No Trace

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• Abide by all regulations. Regulations are designed to protect the resources of this park for you and for future generations.

• Choose not to cook over a fire, it is difficult to avoid getting food in the fire ring. Never burn trash and food scraps. Doing so disseminates the food smell and attracts bears. Residues from food and trash will not burn completely and linger long after you are gone creating problems for other campers.

• Camp in areas that have already been impacted by use.

• Keep your group small to maintain an atmosphere that is appropriate for the backcountry. Large groups tend to attain a level of social interaction and noise that is not congruent with backcountry ethics or values.

• Never cut switchbacks. This is a destructive practice that creates erosion and worsens trail conditions.

• Pack out whatever you pack in. Never leave any food, trash, personal items or equipment.

• Dispose of human waste properly.

• Do not bury any trash, including organic items.

• Human Waste Disposal
• Dig a "cathole" at least six inches deep.
• Deposit human waste in the hole, throw in a small handful of leaves or duff and cover the hole.
• Keep at least 100 feet away from camp, trails or any water source.
• Never go behind a shelter or near a spring, as this creates unhealthful conditions and may results in closures of campsites or shelters.
• Sanitary pads and tampons must be packed out of the backcountry.
• Never deposit any trash including wipes, sanitary pads or tampons in backcountry privies. These items interfere with the composting process which makes the privy smell very bad. Ultimately these items must be dug out of the privy by hand. So do the right thing and pack these items out!

• For more information on the principles of Leave No Trace, visit www.lnt.org.

Did You Know?

Flame azalea can be found growing on heath balds in the park.

The park’s high elevation heath balds are treeless expanses where dense thickets of shrubs such as mountain laurel, rhododendron, and sand myrtle grow. Known as “laurel slicks” and “hells” by early settlers, heath balds were most likely created by forest fires long ago. More...