Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should I bring?

A. Hand towel and washcloth for a sponge bath–we provide the wash basin and soap. Flashlight, rain gear, layered clothing (nights can drop into 30’s even in summer), sturdy shoes, snacks for hike up and down, water for your hike up, and personal items. Don’t forget cash, check or credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover only) for souvenir items.

Q. What is the easiest trail?

A. Contrary to printed information, the Boulevard Trail is not the easiest trail to the lodge. It is the longest trail and it is continuously descending and climbing with the last 1 1/2 mile of 800 ft. elevation gain. Some people feel that the Trillium Gap trail (6.7 miles) is the easiest trail to the lodge as this is the trail the llamas use to bring supplies three times a week and it is not as steep as the other trails. The Alum Cave trail is the shortest trail to the lodge. For up to date Park road and trail information, follow their Twitter page or call 865-436-1200.

Q. What time is guest check-in/check-out?

A. Upon arriving at the lodge, overnight guests with reservations should proceed to our Gift Shop between the hours of 12:00-4:30 PM to check-in.  Arriving sooner than noon does not guarantee one’s ability to check-in early, as our staff requires the morning hours to clean and prepare the cabins after the previous night’s guests have departed.  Guests arriving late after 4:30 PM, although this is highly discouraged, should proceed to the Dining Hall for check-in.  The self check-out time is no later than 9:30 AM.

Q. What time are meals served?

A. Dinner is currently served at 6:00 pm ET and breakfast is served at 8:00 am ET. Both meals are served hot so please arrive for your stay on time. Some slight adjustments are made for sunset and sunrise during late March, October, and early November. Lunch is provided at no additional charge for guests who stay more than one night. It is offered as a sack lunch or sit-down lunch in the dining room.

Q. What do the meals consist of?

A. Breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, Canadian Bacon, biscuits, pancakes, grits and Tang. Evening meal consists of soup, cornbread, beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, stewed apples, peach half and chocolate chip cookies. All meals are served with coffee, hot chocolate and water. Alternate evening meals are provided for guests staying more than one night and with advance notice we can accommodate most dietary restrictions.

Q. Can you accommodate vegetarians and food allergies?

A. With advance notice, we can accommodate most vegetarians and many food allergies. Vegans and vegetarians that are on a raw diet may need to pack most of their own food.

Special menus (must be requested at least 1 week in advance):

Vegetarian: Breakfast- scrambled eggs, biscuits, pancakes and grits.
Dinner- soup, vegetarian entrée, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked apples, peach half, cornbread, chocolate chip cookie. For multiple night stays, vegetables and fruit may change.

Gluten free: Breakfast-scrambled eggs, Canadian bacon and grits.
Dinner- beef (no gravy), mashed potatoes, green beans, baked apples and peach half. For multiple night stays vegetables and fruit may change.

Q. May we order meals if we are not overnight guests?

A. A Sack Lunch is available for Day Hikers and shelter guests. The cost will be $14.00. (See Day Hiker Services tab for description of lunch menus). The evening meal and breakfast are only provided for overnight guests.

Q. If I am a party of one or two, do I have to share a cabin with strangers?

A. We will not put strangers in the same room with you. The cabins and lodge rooms are booked for just your party.

Q. How much wine do we get for $14.00 and what kind?

A. You will be served wine throughout the dinner hour from 6:00 pm until 7:00 pm.  Guests should understand that this is at the wine server’s discretion. Belligerence and disrespect toward servers, staff, or other guests will not be tolerated by those partaking of the wine service.  Guests are encouraged to purchase wine BEFORE 4:30 PM to ensure prompt service at meal times. Late arrivals or purchases made during dinner time DO NOT extend wine service time past 7:00 pm last call. Most nights we serve Moscato, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The brand this year is Almaden Vineyards.

Q. What should we do if we see a bear?

A. If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) you’re too close. Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space. Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear. Try to increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same. If a bear persistently follows or approaches you, without vocalizing or paw swatting, try changing your direction. If the bear continues to follow you, stand your ground. If the bear gets closer, talk loudly or shout at it. Act aggressively and try to intimidate the bear. Act together as a group if you have companions. Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground). Throw non-food objects such as rocks at the bear. Use a deterrent such as a stout stick. Don’t run and don’t turn away from the bear. Don’t leave food for the bear: this encourages further problems. For more information on this and other park related topics, please visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s website.

Overnight lodge guests are provided with secure food storage barrels when they arrive, and all visitors are expected to be responsible when it comes to interacting with all wildlife.  Do not feed the animals or leave your packs/belongings unattended!  Guests are also advised not leave their cabin unattended while doors and windows are open.  These poor habits will only encourage wildlife to lose their fear of people, become dependent, and turn into a nuisance that can place people and property at risk.

Q. Are pets allowed?

A. The National Park does not permit pets on the backcountry trails, so they are not permitted at the Lodge.

Q. Can I fill my water bottle?

A. There is safe and potable drinking water available at the Lodge during the operating season only.  There is a cold water spigot located near the office, and warm water available outside the kitchen.  All spigots and holding tanks are drained for the winter off-season, so day hikers and visitors staying at the NPS backcountry shelter must utilize a natural spring located NE of the lodge along Trillium Gap Trail.  Boil and/or treat all water collected before consumption.

Q. What is there to do?

A. Take a short hike to view sunset and sunrise. The Lodge office provides games and reading materials. The office and dining room decks provide rocking chairs to view the mountain tops and valley.

Q. What is the smoking policy?

A. No smoking is allowed in any of the buildings or on any of the porches. Remember you are in a remote wilderness area and all buildings are made of wood. The Lodge has limited firefighting capabilities, so please use caution when extinguishing cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

Q. Where and when can we see the llamas?

A. The llamas generally pack on Monday, Wednesday and Friday using Trillium Gap Trail. They get to the trailhead between 6:00 and 6:30 am and should be on the trail between 7:30 and 8:00 am. It takes them about 4 hours to make the hike each direction. They will have lunch and return to the parking lot around 6:00 pm. Hours vary depending on weather and season.  The llamas are working animals and not pets.  Please respect our llamas and wranglers while on the job.

Q. Are weddings allowed in the National Park?

A. The National Park has recently changed their policy on weddings performed in the park. To review their policy on weddings, please visit their website.