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Covering backcountry and bear safety in regards to camping, food storage, shelters, and human-bear conflicts.
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 for phone calls daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) and in-person service from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.. 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.
Last updated: May 23, 2023