Plan Your Smokies Getaway
Dog Friendly Vacation
Dogs – and people – welcome here!
Bryson City welcomes pet-lovers on vacation. We’ve got outdoor activities and restaurants with outside seating. In summer, many downtown businesses have water bowls on the sidewalk. You’ll also find homemade dog biscuits on sale as a donation to PAWS, our no-kill animal shelter.
Want to share outdoor experiences with your buddy? At Bryson City Outdoors, you’ll find active wear for pets – like PFDs, dog buffs, harnesses and more.
Need to board your pet, visit a dog park, or have a pet sitter visit your lodging? Learn more
You can find more than 100 pet-friendly accommodations by choosing the “pets allowed” amenity on our lodging pages.
Please keep your dogs in check, clean up after them, and do not leave them unattended in vehicles or RVs.
Paddleboarding on the Tuckasegee River in downtown Bryson City, or on Fontana Lake.
Pontooning on Fontana Lake – all 3 marinas have some pontoon boats that are dog friendly.
Rafting on the Nantahala River with Rolling Thunder River Company.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP). Pets are NOT allowed on hiking trails in the GSMNP, except for the Oconaluftee River Trail, a 1.5 mile one way shaded path with beautiful views of the river. It begins at the Park Visitor Center in Cherokee. (There is also one Trail in Gatlinburg, TN) Deep Creek Recreation area just outside Bryson City in the GSMNP. Dogs are allowed in Deep Creek campground, picnic areas, and along roads (NOT on National Park trails), but must be kept on a leash (no more than 6 feet long) at all times.
Bring the dog, the kids and a picnic to Island Park, located in the center of downtown Bryson City on the Tuckasegee River. The fishing is great there too. Take Everett St. to Bryson St. Cross the bridge to the park at the end of Bryson St.
Recreation Park — There is a walking trail in the Swain County Recreation Park just outside of downtown Bryson City. Take Everett St. to Depot St., then follow West Deep Road to the Park.
Trails in the Nantahala National Forest are pet friendly. (dogs allowed on leash no longer than 6 feet). Tsali Recreation Area – US 28 N about 30 minutes from Bryson City; note alternating use of bicycles and horses, and avoid trails that are designated for biking. Flint Ridge Trail is accessed from US 74 South at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (mountain bike trail), as is the Appalachian Trail, which crosses the Nantahala River at the Center. One paved trail is the Nantahala River Bikeway Trail TR368. A nice flat trail that begins at the rafting launch site (Off Hwy 74, south of the NOC, turn left on Wayah Road). Park at the launch site and take the bridge across the river. The trail follows the river for about 1.5 miles (one way). Another option is the Bartram Trail, which is an extension of Nantahala Bikeway going north. For the Bartram Trail going south, park at either the Nantahala River Launch Site on the Wayah Rd., and look for the path across the road, located in between the two parking areas
Blue Ridge Parkway Trails. Waterrock Knob at milepost 451.2 – 1.2 mile trail one way (2.4 out and back). Restrooms, visitor center, and picnic area. Devils Courthouse at milepost 422. One way trail is 0.4 miles (0.8 out and back), climbs steeply, with exceptional views from the summit. Black Balsam and Tennent Mountain (Art Loeb Trail) at milepost 420.2. A series of unofficial, but well-defined paths run around the open summit of Black Balsam Knob. 1 mile to the summit, although hikers can continue for several more miles along the balds for 360 views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Printable Pet Friendly Activities, Hikes and Walks pdf.
Dining With Your Pet
Bryson City has a number of eateries and wineries/breweries with outdoor seating where dogs are generally allowed (note: some may allow smoking). Here’s a list, or look for the on the dining or wine/brew page.
Bryson City - Swain County
Chamber of Commerce
210 Main Street
P.O. Box 509
Bryson City, NC 28713
Free 2020 Travel Guide to the Smokies — Includes the Official 2020 All Aboard for the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad.
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