Top 7 Things NOT to Do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

scenery in the great smoky mountains national park
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When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are probably so many things you want to do. From hiking to taking a scenic drive, you have plenty of options. But have you considered the things you shouldn’t do when you’re there? Here are the top 7 things you should NOT do in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1. Don’t Feed the Animals

black bear in gatlinburg walking along a roadWhen you’re visiting the national park, you should never feed any of the animals. These creatures are in their own habitat, and it has everything they could possibly need to survive. When people feed these wild animals, they become less and less afraid of humans. When they are less afraid of people, it can lead to them hurting people, which can then lead to the animals needing to be put down.

2. Don’t Get Too Close to Wildlife

Similar to the previous point, you shouldn’t get too close to wildlife. Everyone wants to see a black bear or a baby raccoon, but you don’t want to get too close to these animals. It can be dangerous for the animals and the people involved. Just be sure to admire them from afar!

3. Don’t Litter

bear proof trash cans outsideIf you bring a picnic lunch or have trash in your car, please don’t litter. It can harm the environment, as well as wildlife that lives in the area. There are several picnic areas and other spots all throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that have trash cans. Or just hold onto the trash until you get back to your hotel or cabin.

4. Don’t Start a Hike Too Late

Want to head out on a hike and explore the Smokies? Great! But be sure you start early enough so you’ll have plenty of daylight left. You don’t want to start a hike too late and find yourself on the trail when it’s dark. Be sure to research which trail you want to hike, and give yourself plenty of time during the day to go!

5. Don’t Park on the Side of the Road

A winding road in the Smoky Mountains.You may see something exciting or want to take a picture while you’re driving along one of the roads in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The roads aren’t large enough for people to park on the side, because this can cause traffic to slow down. Plus, we want everyone to be safe! There are several pull off areas along the road where you can get out to explore, take a picture, or stretch your legs!

6. Don’t Forget to Pack Water

There aren’t any stores where you can purchase water or snacks. If you’re going on a hike or just taking a drive, you should definitely pack water to take with you. Staying hydrated is important when you’re hiking in the woods. Don’t forget to bring water with you!

7. Don’t Go Without a Plan

Hiking trail in the Smoky mountainsWhile it can be fun to just drive into the national park and go where you want, you should have a plan when you go. For example, if you end up deciding you want to visit Cades Cove, you may get there in the afternoon and find traffic is backed up. If you plan to visit Cades Cove early in the morning, you probably won’t find as much traffic. Knowing the best times to do certain things in the park will keep you safe, make your day fun, and get you back to other fun things in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on time!

These are just some of the things you shouldn’t do when you visit the Smokies. But, there are plenty of fun things you can do while you’re in town! Read more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before you come!

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