|1 Mar 4:35 pm EST
Fishing is permitted year-round in the park, from 30 minutes before official sunrise to 30 minutes after official sunset. The park allows fishing in most streams. Certain posted streams are closed to fishing, to protect threatened fishes. Detailed information, including a complete list of regulations and a map of fishable park waters, is available at any visitor center or ranger station.
You must possess a valid fishing license or permit from either Tennessee or North Carolina. Either state license is valid throughout the park and no trout stamp is required. Fishing licenses and permits are not available in the park, but may be purchased in nearby towns. Special permits are required for fishing in Gatlinburg and Cherokee.
Tennessee License RequirementsResidents and nonresidents age 13 and older must have a valid license. Residents age 65 and older may obtain a special license from the state.
North Carolina License RequirementsResidents and nonresidents age 16 and older need a license. Residents age 70 and older may obtain a special license from the state.
Persons under 16 in North Carolina and under 13 in Tennessee are entitled to the adult daily bag and possession limits and are subject to all other regulations.
The picnic areas at Cades Cove, Chimney Tops, Cosby, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms remain open year-round. The remaining picnic areas are closed during the winter.
All picnic areas have pavilions except Chimneys and Cades Cove. The picnic pavilions at Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, and Twin Creeks can be reserved for groups up to five months in advance by calling 1-800-365-2267.
All pavilions except Twin Creeks cost $20 per use. Twin Creeks' fee ranges from $35-75 depending on the usage. Payment can be made by credit card or personal check at the time the reservation is made.
Please remember that feeding bears and other wildlife is illegal. The black bear symbolizes the invaluable wilderness qualities of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But bears are dying unnecessarily due to improper disposal of garbage or illegal feeding by visitors. A bear�s remarkable sense of smell may lead it to human foods, such as a picnicker�s cooler, garbage left in the open, or food scraps thrown on the ground or left in the grill. A bear that has discovered human food or garbage will eventually become day-active and leave the safety of the backcountry. It may panhandle along roadsides and be killed by a car or it may injure a visitor and have to be euthanized. Please do your part to help protect black bears and other wildlife in the Great Smokies. Clean your picnic area, including the grill and the ground around the table, thoroughly after your meal. Thank you.
Safety is important to consider when exploring the backcountry. Here are a few basics to help you get started:
* Let someone know your route and return time. * Always hike with another person. * Carry a current park trail map. * Carry 2 small flashlights or headlamps. * Take adequate water - minimum 2 quarts per person per day. * All water taken from the backcountry should be treated. * Wear shoes or boots that provide good ankle support. * Carry a small first aid kit. * Check the current weather forecast and be prepared for quickly changing conditions.
With so many options, the Smokies offer a tremendous number of hiking opportunities. Mentioned below are a few of the most popular destinations:
Alum Cave Trail. This is a 4.4 mile roundtrip hike, rated moderate. It includes Arch Rock, a natural arch, Inspiration Point, and the Alum Cave Bluff. Inspiration Point offers a spectacular view of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River's upper basin. The trail continues to Mt. Le Conte, and its beautiful viewpoints. Roundtrip distance from the parking to Le Conte is 10 miles. This trail can be icy in winter.
Andrews Bald. A 3.6 mile roundtrip hike, rated moderate. This hike heads downslope to a bald. Excellent views open to the south, toward Fontana Lake, and in early summer the azaleas explode with color. The trail head is located at the end of Clingmans Dome Road, which is closed from December through March.
Charlies Bunion. This 8-mile roundtrip hike is rated strenuous. Following the Appalachian Trail, this hike goes out to rocky crags along the state-line ridge. It has excellent views. This trail can be icy in winter.
These are only a few suggestions. To order more information or buy a hiking map please visit the Great Smoky Mountains Association's Bookstore.
For those who are interested in completing all of the more than 150 hiking trails in the Smokies, you can now become a member of the 900 miler club.