The Smokies region is beautiful, but there’s something extra special about seeing it with your best friend by your side. Just you and them, enjoying the sights and sounds of Eastern Tennessee, first through your own eyes, and then through their perspective.
The crisp, clean air, the sounds of rustling leaves, chirping birds, the smell of the pine trees, the fresh scent of the grass, the strong odor of animals who have been there before you, the gray of the plants, the darker gray of the trees… Oh, didn’t we mention? Your best friend just happens to be a dog!
Unfortunately for them – and despite the fact that they are some of the most enthusiastic hikers – pets aren’t allowed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (except for two small trails outside of Blount County) for reasons having to do with wildlife preservation. Thankfully, there are other options; you don’t have to leave your best friend behind to get some outdoor recreation. Check out these trails and get ready for your next great walk together!
The Maryville-Alcoa Greenway
The Maryville-Alcoa Greenway is a 9-mile trail that goes through both towns, offering a pleasant walk and access to 4 different parks in Maryville and 2 in Alcoa. It also offers links to the business and shopping districts in the towns, as well as picnic pavilions, natural areas, and fitness stations. The experience is pleasant and relaxed, with meandering streams here and there, and trails that are well-maintained and clearly-marked for different distances and directions, with water fountains and pet waste cleanup stations scattered throughout.
While you’re on the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway, don’t forget to visit the Petsafe Dog Park, which is Maryville’s first public dog park. The hours are from dawn to dusk every day, with a half acre for small dogs and a full acre for larger canines. There’s also a pavilion, benches, a dogs-only water fountain, and an unleashing area.
The Look Rock Tower Trail
The Look Rock Tower Trail is a short hike (perfect for smaller dogs!) of just under a mile. The trail includes an observation tower that allows human and canine hikers to take in some lovely views of the western side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well the Maryville and Alcoa areas. Dogs are allowed, of course, but they have to be kept on leash, and it’s popular with families and kids. This paved trail is a great alternative to the non-dog-friendly Clingmans Dome trail in the National Park.
The Tremont Logging History Auto Tour
The Tremont Logging History Auto Tour is a unique trail that runs along three miles of gravel road, just south of Townsend, Tennessee. It’s actually a historical site – there was once a logging town there, around the 1900s.
Dogs on leash are allowed, but so is horseback riding, and look out for drivers – when they say auto tour, they mean that you can take your car on the trail (and what dog doesn’t love a good car ride?). If you’d prefer, you can actually drive the trail, park, and get out and enjoy the streams with your dog. If you do decide to walk the trail, it’s 6.1 miles altogether.
Wherever you and your best friend go together, make sure you’re ready for beautiful scenery, clean air, and all the natural beauty of the Smokies region that Blount County has to offer!
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