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.
The Great Smoky Mountains Associations 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 http://www.smokiesinformation.org/. The Great Smoky Mountains Association is a nonprofit organization that supports educational and scientific programs in the park.
You may also call the Backcountry Information Office at (865) 436-1297 for information to plan your hiking or backpacking trip. The office is open daily from 9:00 a.m. until noon (Eastern Standard Time). Please direct all backcountry trip planning questions to this office. 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.
Backcountry Rules and Regulations
1. You must possess a backcountry permit while camping in the backcountry.
2. Camping is permitted only at designated sites and shelters.
3. Use of reserved sites and shelters must be confirmed through the Backcountry Reservation Office.
4. You may stay up to three consecutive nights at a site. You may not stay two nights in a row at a shelter.
5. Maximum camping party size is eight persons.
6. Open fires are prohibited except at designated sites. Use only wood that is dead and on the ground. Use only established fire rings.
7. The use of tents at shelters is prohibited.
8. Food storage: When not being consumed or transported, all food and trash must be suspended at least 10 feet off the ground and four feet from the nearest limb or trunk, or shall be stored as otherwise designated.
9. Toilet use must be at least 100 feet from a campsite or water source and out of sight of the trail. Human feces must be buried in a six-inch-deep hole.
10. All trash must be carried out.
11. All plants, wildlife, and natural and historic features are protected by law. Do not carve, deface, or cut any trees or shrubs.
12. Polluting park waters is prohibited. Do not wash dishes or bathe with soap in a stream.
13. Pets, motorized vehicles, and bicycles are not permitted in the backcountry.
14. Hunting is prohibited.
15. Feeding or harassing wildlife is prohibited.
Information provided by National Park Service