Taking your pet on a hike is a great way to spend some quality time in the great outdoors with man’s best friend. It’s always important for pet-owners who enjoy hiking to research the dog-friendliness of a National Park before planning a trip. Fortunately for anybody who’s planning an adventure in Eastern Tennessee with their furry friend, Cherokee National Forest is an excellent choice for dogs.

Where can I bring my dog in the Cherokee National Forest?

So long as your dog is kept on a six-foot leash, your pet is welcome everywhere in the park with only a few of the following exceptions. The park prohibits pets in the following areas:
• Beaches
• Designated swimming areas
• Any National Forest buildings

Can I take my dog hiking in Cherokee National Forest?

Dogs are allowed on all of Cherokee National Forest’s 600-plus miles of non-motorized trails. The Ocoee River Area of the Cherokee National Forest includes the following hiking paths and trail systems:
• Benton Falls Hike
• Chilhowee Trail System
• Rock Creek Gorge Waterfalls Hike
• Tanasi Trail System
• The Appalachian National Scenic Trail

How should I prepare to hike in the Cherokee National Forest trail with my dog?

The USDA Forest Service’s dog policy requires that all hikers with dogs to observe the following rules:
• Always keep your dog physically restraint while hiking a trail.
• Use a leash to help keep your pet under control.
• Be prepared to encounter horseback riders, mountain bikers, and four-wheelers on the trail.
• Keep an eye out for signs of stress and fatigue in your pet. Make sure your pet gets plenty of water and rest, especially in hot weather.

What should I know before bringing my pet?

Here are a few recommendations by the USDA Forest Service for anyone bringing a pet to any part of the Cherokee National Forest:
• Dogs must be on their leash and under control.
• Make sure that your pet is getting enough food and water.
• Pick up after your dog. Bring plenty of bags!
• Don’t leave uneaten dog food unattended. This may attract wildlife to a nearby campground or other areas of the park.
• Don’t leave your dog unattended.
• Always double-check to make sure that dogs are allowed in the areas of the Cherokee National Forest that you plan to explore.

Book a trip for you and your pet today!

Several million guests visit the Cherokee National Forest each year, and four-legged friends are a common sight in and around the park’s many trails and campgrounds. While you may not want to take your dog rafting down the world-class Ocoee River that flows through the forest, there’s plenty of other fun things to explore!