The laws enforced in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are contained in two documents:
Federal regulations covering all National Park Service lands are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Chapter 1 also known as 36 CFR.
In addition, regulations pertaining specifically to Great Smoky Mountains National Park are contained in the park's Compendium of Regulations.
Here are a few of the laws you should be aware of when you visit the park. Additional laws that apply to all park visitors can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Chapter 1 and the Compendium of Regulations.
Approaching any wildlife within 50 yards or within any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife is prohibited. All fields in the Cataloochee Valley, and the field east of US 441 between the Oconoluftee Visitor Center and the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the fields at Couch's Creek and along Tow String Road, are closed to pedestrians and horse traffic during the months of May and June (elk calving season), and the months of September and October (elk rut). (Compendium of Regulations, Public Use Restrictions, Section 1.5 (a)(2).
Feeding wildlife is prohibited in the national park. (Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 2.2 (2) Code of Regulations, Wildlife protection).
Dogs and other pets (except service animals) are prohibited on any park trail except the Gatlinburg Trail and the Oconoluftee River Trail. (Compendium of Regulations, Pets, Section 2.15 (a)(1),
Graffitti/Vandalism, the destroying, injuring, defacing, or damaging property or real property is prohibited. (Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 2.31, Code of Federal Regulations, Trespassing, tampering, and vandalism).
Drones and other unmanned aircraft shall not be operated within the boundaries of the national park. (Compendium of Regulations, Public Use Restrictions, Section 1.5 (a)(2)).
Alcoholic beverages that have been opened are not permitted in the park except designated picnic areas, frontcountry and backcountry campgrounds and shelters. (Compendium of Regulations, Alcoholic Beverages and Controlled Substances, Section 2.35).
Picking plants or removing any object from the national park is prohibited. (Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 2.1 (1), Preservation of natural, cultural, and archeological resources).
Permits are required for all overnight stays in the front and backcountry. (Compendium of Regulations, Camping and Food Storage, Section 2.10 (a) Frontcountry and Backcountry Camping).
Only heat-treated firewood that is bundled and certified by the United States Department of Agriculture or a state department of agriculture may be brought into the park. (Compendium of Regulations, Public Use Restrictions, Section 1.5 (a)(2)) as amended 2/27/15, Firewood.
Bicycles are not permitted on any park trail except the Gatlinburg Trail, the Oconoluftee River Trail, and that portion of the graveled road now existing from the Deep Creek Trail head to the end of the gravel on the Indian Creek Trail. (Compendium of Regulations, Bicycles, Section 4.30).
Metal detectors and mineral detectors are not permitted in the national park. (Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 2.1, Code of Federal Regulations, Preservation of natural, cultural, and archeological resources.).
Permits are required for the following activities:
Scattering of human ashes
Commercial vehicles passing through the park
Demonstrations including the Sale of Distribution of Print Matter
For a complete list of activities requiring a permit refer to Compendium of Regulations, Section 1.6, Permits.
Please report violations of any regulation to park personnel as soon as possible.