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

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • 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 »

Oconaluftee River Trail

The Oconaluftee River Trail is one of two walking paths on which visitors can walk dogs and bicycle. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on all other park trails.

The trail travels 1.5 miles one-way from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Cherokee, NC. It is relatively flat, but does have a few small hills. The trail runs through the forest along side the Oconaluftee River and offers beautiful views of the river.

The Oconaluftee River Trail is frequently used by joggers, walkers, and bicyclists.

The Gatlinburg Trail is the second walking path on which pets and bicycles are permitted.

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...