15 Fun things to do with your dog in Gatlinburg TN

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Golden Retriever visiting Gatlinburg SkyLift Park in Gatlinburg TN. Photo by Gatlinburg SkyLift Park Facebook page

Because your pup is a member of your family, why not bring him along with you to Gatlinburg? The mountain resort town has a human population of about 3,950 people and about 1,100 dogs, with almost 1,000 households having at least one dog. 

Some of the best tourist attractions in the world are in Gatlinburg, like Dollywood, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the only salt and pepper shaker museum in the world. These three all allow dogs, although your pup will have to stay in Doggywood while you are in Dollywood. 

Many of the hotels and campgrounds allow fur babies, too, and you can find plenty of parks, restaurants, and shops that allow dogs as well. You can also take your pup up on the Sky Lift, where he can see the whole city, take a ghost tour, or take him on the river in a tube. There are so many fun things to do with your dog in Gatlinburg that you may have to stay a few extra days.  

Enjoy some moonshine: Sugarlands Distilling Company

Open 364 days per year (every day except Christmas), Sugarlands Distilling Company provides both outdoor and indoor tours, liquor tastings, and live concerts and events to enjoy with your pup. Although they do not serve food, they are one of the only attractions around that allow you to bring your own for you and your fur baby. Located between the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest, the setting is breathtaking. 

There are three tours to try. The Blended Cocktails Tour involves a tour of the stillhouse and tasting two handcrafted cocktails. Meet the Distiller is a workshop to learn the ropes and make your jar of moonshine to take home, and a full day tour to spend with the head distiller grinding the corn, mixing the mash, and proofing the drink. Or you can enjoy a tasting for just $5 and get a $5 voucher for the gift shop for souvenirs. 

Get high with your pup: Gatlinburg SkyLift Park

For those who are not afraid of heights and want some adventure, the Gatlinburg SkyLift Park is for you… and your fur baby. As long as your pup is a lapdog that fits in your lap safely, he is welcome to join you on a trip over the Smokies. Just keep him on a leash at all times. About 1,800 feet above it all, this is where to get the best view of Gatlinburg, the mountains, and everything else. On a clear day, you can see Kentucky!

When you get to the top, you and your dog can take a walk across the SkyLift. It is 700 feet across, which makes it the longest cable bridge in North America. Stay and enjoy the view as long as you like. Get some pawesome selfies and photos on the 30 feet of glass flooring in the middle of the bridge. Then, take a hike behind the bridge on the SkyTrailwhere you can explore the elevated boardwalk, Tulip Tower, and a path through the hillside. 

Take a hike: The Gatlinburg Trail

Speaking of hiking, the Gatlinburg Trail is a 3.8-mile out and back path that starts at the Sugarland Visitor Center and travels through the woods along the Little Pigeon River. The pet-friendly path typically takes just over an hour to walk as long as you do not stop anywhere, but where is the fun in that? You have to stop along the way to let your pooch sniff around and play in the river. 

Along the trail, you will see some unique landmarks such as the remnants of old homes like chimneys, foundations, and walls. If you are quiet enough, you may even see some wildlife. Then you can cross the footbridge over the West Prong of the river. If you want to see a waterfall and cemetery from the 1800s, take the detour to Cataract Falls, which is just about ½ mile along the Cove Mountain Trail. Be sure to bring a camera. You will be glad you did. 

See a cool collection of shakers: The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum

Just about everyone has them. A set of salt and pepper shakers on the table or in the cabinet. But here, you and Fido can take a stroll through this unique museum and see approximately 20 thousand of them from all over the world. In fact, it is the only salt and pepper shaker museum in the world. You will see antique and rare shakers like the old classic Coke Truck along with new and unique ones like Baby Yoda.

Your pupster will have as much fun as you meandering through the shelves of shakers and sniffing everything (your pup, not you). But don’t let him sniff the pepper shakers unless you want him to sneeze! Did you know that you have about 1 ¼ cups of salt in your body? And that salt was used to preserve Egyptian mummies? You and your fur buddy can learn about these and other cool facts at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum. 

Take your pooch shopping: The Village Shops

Right next to the Old Smokey Candy Kitchen and the Pancake Pantry, The Village contains more than 25 quirky and unique boutique shops. As this is an outdoor mall, your pooch is welcome to join you as long as he is on a leash. Many of the retailers allow pets, too but be sure to ask first. The main one your pup will love is the Bonediggity Barkery & Gifts, where you can find treats, toys, and souvenirs together. They even have doggie apparel.

Outdoor enthusiasts will love perusing all the cool items at The Day Hiker, and you will both love the fun items at The Lazy One, where they have pajamas and other gifts. Or get something personalized for your fur baby at U Name It. When you get hungry, stop by Boudicca’s Celtic Pub or Maddi Mae’s Cafe & Creamery. For dessert, you and Fido can visit The Donut Friar for freshly-made donuts and pastries. 

Eat cookies: Byrd’s Famous Cookies

Byrd’s Famous Cookies loves dogs and enjoys seeing your well-behaved and leashed fur buddy in the shop with you. The shop began in 1924 when Pop (Benjamin) Byrd started selling his scotch oatmeal cookies to the local bakery in Savannah, Georgia, two for a penny! Today, the company boasts over 15 shops in three states with 20+ different flavors. They also sell salty snacks, gifts, and other items, including a snack bin to keep your goodies in.

Just down the street from The Village Shops on Parkway, you and your pupster will get free samples of anything you want to try. They often have dog-friendly cookies and biscuits on hand just for this reason. The gluten-free chocolate chip cookies are a new favorite and seem to have a cult following. They are THAT good! Whether you buy anything or not, this is a fun place to stop by with your pup. 

Search for ghosts: Ghosts of Gatlinburg

Many of the tours in Gatlinburg are pet-friendly, but this one is special. If you are into the supernatural and spooky theme, take this cool tour and learn all about the spooky spots in town. The stories can be a bit gory, so it is probably not a great idea for young children, but you and Fido will love it. The local guide will take you to eight different haunted locations in about one hour, where you will learn all about the history of each spot.  

You will be walking about a mile, so wear comfy shoes while you hear all the stories about witchcraft, generations of ghostly families, horrible deaths, and even cannibalism. You may even get to see some of Gatlinburg’s ghosts as you visit the Mysterious Mansion, White Oaks Flats Cemetery, and the Space Needle. If you want to extend your tour, you can get the deluxe tour for an extra 30 minutes of frights. 

Tour the Smokies: Sights N’ Photo Tour

Another pawesome tour to take with your dog is the Signts N’ Photo Tour hosted by a husband and wife team well-known for their fun tours. You will begin in a van or coach for a tour through Smoky Mountain National Park while your hosts tell you all sorts of interesting facts about the park and mountains as well as Appalachian life. The four-hour tour is spent mostly in a vehicle, but you will sometimes have to get out and walk to the photogenic sites. 

Some of these stops may include stunning waterfalls and streams where you will find some of the best photo ops in Tennessee. The walking is not far and non-strenuous for you or your dog, but you will need good walking shoes. No flip-flops or sandals are allowed. This has been listed as the number one Airbnb experience in the Smokies so expect a fantastic time. 

Drink some cider: Tennessee Cider Company

Just across from the Village Shops, the Tennessee Cider Company has been making hard ciders for decades and is renowned for its delicious mulled ciders and slushies. The VIP tasting tour is only $5 and includes a taste of all the hard ciders they have on tap, including blackberry dessert wine, honey mango, and pumpkin spice. There are two locations but the one in Gatlinburg includes six different tasting stations with all sorts of ciders, meads, and wines. 

At either location, you can get free sips all day long, even if you do not want to take the tour. Although your pup cannot try the liquor, they will typically offer him a drink of some sort that is alcohol-free and safe for dogs. Right next door, the Paws & Claws Pet Fashion store is the perfect spot to get some cool items for your pup, from clothes to chew toys. 

Play with some pups: Gatlinburg Dog Park

There are quite a few parks dedicated to dogs in Gatlinburg, but the Gatlinburg Dog Park is a nice space with a fence where you can allow your dog to get social with other pups. It is separated for small and large dogs so you can rest assured that everyone will have a great time. Both of the areas are fenced and have benches, doggie waste bags, and shaded areas, as well as water fountains just outside the gate. 

For safety, both areas also have a double-gated entrance where you can remove Fido’s leash when arriving and safely put it back on when leaving. It is located at Mills Park, which is mostly pet-friendly as long as Fido is on a leash. The park features a disc golf course, ball fields, a basketball court, horseshoe pits, trails, playgrounds, and barbecue grills. There are also restrooms available in several areas of the park. 

Visit the Garden of Eden: Parrot Mountain 

Take your fur baby to Parrot Mountain, where you can find the Garden of Eden. Just a mile from Dollywood, this tourist attraction in the Smoky Mountains is fun for dogs as well as their humans. Take a stroll through the Secret Garden to see magpies, pheasants, kookaburras, cockatoos, hornbills, and toucans flying freely about. Just do not let your pooch chase them if they come near. Besides birds, you will also see thousands of plants and flowers. 

There is also a butterfly garden filled with live butterflies all year long. Here you and your pup can get some photos in the butterfly, peacock, and dragonfly chairs. The main attraction is the nursery for baby parrots, where you can see them up close and even pet them. They have shown all day long with dancing, talking, and singing birds. If you like, you can get a souvenir photo holding one. In fact, you can even buy one of these delightful and intelligent birds here!

Have an adventure: Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park

This 150-acre park is a fantastic pup-approved park and has the number one rated zipline in the state of Tennessee. On the Waterfall Canopy Tour, you can zipline over some stunning waterfalls on a two-hour tour. You even get a beginner’s tutorial in the barn to give first-timers some points. But this is very safe and allows dogs and kids as young as seven. Along the line, you have two guides with safety and fun in mind, as well as self-automated braking. 

Just northeast of Gatlinburg, the park is full of adventure and fun, which is probably where it got its name. You can cross a swinging bridge and hike up to Lost Mine Falls, where they have a fur-baby-approved obstacle course. Other activities include the Gorilla Climbing Wall (not for dogs), a four-hour ultimate zipline tour, and the fast Goliath zipline tour that goes up to 60 miles per hour. 

Go on a float trip: Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing

Dogs get their own tubes at Smoky Mountain River Rat Tubing! For just five bucks, you can get Rover a tube with a tether to connect him to your tube. You will be floating at Outpost A on the beautiful Little River. This family-friendly adventure has mild rapids and several swimming holes where you can play and splash with your pup to cool off and take a break from the rapids. 

The trip takes approximately two hours, but you will have plenty of time to stop and jump off the River Rat Rock Jump if you dare. One thing to note is that your dog should be under 60 pounds to float because of tube popping. For people, you can rent tubes with or without bottoms, and life jackets are provided. They do not provide life jackets for pups, so bring your own, or you can rent or buy one from the gift shop. 

Visit an island: The Island in Pigeon Forge

Dogs in an amusement park? Absolutely! The Island in Pigeon Forge is pup-friendly as long as they are leashed and well-behaved. It does get really crowded, so if your dog does not like crowds, you may need a pet sitter if you want to go here. Most of the thrill rides do not allow dogs, but there are some that you and your fur baby can enjoy, like the Flying Horse Carousel, Arcade City, and the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.

Many of the shops allow dogs as well. There are 20 eateries and 40 different shops to explore and enjoy with Fido but check with the owners before entering. One place you can dine with your dog is at Mellow Mushroom. They serve pizza, pretzels, and wings as well as salads, calzones, and cheese bread. Your pooch will love the bruschetta platter! Be sure to stop by Old Time Photo and get a photo together with your fur baby for a unique souvenir. You choose the theme, and they will make you look the part!

Go off leash: PetSafe Unleashed Dog Park

Sevierville PetSafe Unleased Dog Park is one of the best dog parks in the area, according to the local dogs and their humans. In fact, this place is incredible with free wifi, observation cameras, a space for dog training, and separate spaces for small and large breeds. They even have an agility course for your fur buddy to enjoy. You can bring your pup as long as he or she is over six months old, has an ID and collar, and has been fully vaccinated. 

You will also find a walking trail, lots of shade, plenty of seating, water fountains with access for dogs (bring your own bowl), and even a dog wash area so you can clean up your pup after he gets done playing on the agility equipment. The park is free and open from dawn until dusk every day. Bring doggie waste bags just in case. They do have bag dispensers, but sometimes they are empty. 

The Final Woof

This is not a complete list of activities you and your fur baby can do in Gatlinburg. You can check out Holly & Willow’s Pet Barn at the Arts and Crafts Community, get some ice cream at Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts or have a meal at Fannie Farkle’s on the Parkway. They even allow your pooch to join you for a steak at Howard’s Steakhouse out on the patio. 

And, of course, there are a plethora of dog parks where Fido or Fifi can play off the leash! Many of the city and state parks also allow dogs, but they have to remain on the leash. Herbert Holt Park is a fun place to play in the streams, and Mynatt Park offers picnicking, trails, and a creek. Whatever you like to do, you will have no trouble finding fun things to do with your dog in Gatlinburg.

Photo of author
Patty Oelze is a freelance writer who is also in the process of getting her PhD in Psychology. She has been writing about dogs and other critters for about 10 years and has a plethora of animals at her home including several cats, some chipmunks, a dozen raccoons, two foxes, one coyote, and herds of deer. She and her husband have been living in the Missouri Ozarks for years where she enjoys taking care of wildlife, fishing, photography, boating, and of course, writing.

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