The Great Smoky Mountains is an outdoor lover’s paradise and a dog’s paradise all the same. At Under Canvas, we love our furry friends and we feel that all outdoor adventures are better with dogs. For that reason, all of our locations are dog-friendly, including Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains. There are a number of ways to explore the Smoky Mountains and surrounding towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with your furry friend by your side. Here are our top 5 things to do in the Smoky Mountains with dogs.
Explore Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Although dogs are not allowed on many trails within the National Park there are still ways to explore the park with man’s best friend. A drive around the park, especially to Cades Cove, is one of our favorite ways. Enjoy views of this vast meadow, often speckled with wildflowers from edge to edge while your dog enjoys the wind blowing across its face with its head out the window.
Enjoy the park’s dog-friendly hiking trails and soak up the sounds of nature and fresh air. The Gatlinburg Trail allows dogs and starts at the edge of Gatlinburg. It is a 3.8 mile out and back trail that is good for all experience levels and leads through dense forest areas and across beautiful bridges with babbling streams below. This hike is one of our favorites in the fall as the changing leaf colors are vibrant on this trail. Another dog-friendly trail in the national park is the Oconaluftee River Trail which is about an hour from our camp location. It is the perfect way to break up your drive through the park. Enjoy this 3.1 mile easy trail that is near the Visitors Center and features a spattering of historic buildings and sites.
On your way back to camp, stop for a picnic in the park as all picnic areas are dog-friendly as well. Plan ahead and pick up some to-go snack items from the Under Canvas lobby tent before heading out on your dog-friendly adventure.
Explore Outside of Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Townsend Trail just outside of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of our favorites. This trail is a 9 mile biking/walking trail just outside of Townsend, TN that is perfect for you and your furry friend. It follows the Little River and provides access to a number of town stores, restaurants and historic attractions.
Visit Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge, located on the banks of the Little Pigeon River. Stroll with your pup along the .5 mile trail that passes by several war memorials, to the historic Old Mill built in the 1830s. If you and your pup aren’t ready to turn back, follow the River Walk Greenway that meanders through town as it follows the Little Pigeon River.
During your visit to Gatlinburg don’t miss this local’s favorite spot with your dog. Mynatt park offers a lush green escape to the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg, TN. This is the perfect place to bring the dog for a picnic while you are in town or just for a quick stroll and maybe a game of fetch. There also is a plethora of nature walking trails to explore in the park, one of the most instagrammable being the whimsical wooden bridge near the river.
Doggywood at Dollywood
Dollywood is a top attraction in the area and calls the nearby town of Pigeon Forge it’s home base. While you explore Dollywood, drop your pup off at Doggywood for a day of fun. Doggywood is connected to Dollywood and offers kennels and cottages for your furry friends while you and the family are having fun inside of the park.
Tubing Outpost A at the River Rat
Bring the dog with you as you float down the Little River in Townsend, TN. The River Rat offers family-friendly tubing at Outpost A and dogs tube for free…yep for free! Tie up to your dog’s tube as you float down the calm waters and enjoy relaxing rapids, scenic views and even a rock jump. This is the perfect way to cool off with your pup during the summer months.
Grab A Bite To Eat
With all the adventuring you and your pooch will do while staying at Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains, you are sure to work up an appetite. Grab a bite to eat at these dog-friendly restaurants in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, featuring open-air dining patios that welcome dogs. But don’t forget that Embers at Under Canvas Smoky Mountains also serves up delicious, locally inspired meals and beverages along with a beautiful patio for you and your pup to enjoy the fresh Smoky Mountains air.
Dog-friendly restaurants in Pigeon Forge:
Hard Rock Cafe
Blue Moose Burgers and Wings
Dog-friendly restaurants in Gatlinburg:
Fox and Parrot Tavern
Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grill
Best Italian on the Parkway
There is so much to see and do with your dog in the Smoky Mountains area. Give them an adventure of a doggy-lifetime and enjoy luxe accommodations at the end of the day at Under Canvas Great Smoky Mountains.
Image Credit: Winter the Siberian Husky @waywardexplorers