Toward the end of May me and three of my friends are going on a 5 day hike of the AT. We Plan to start at NewFounds Gap and head north. I have never hiked the AT nor have I camped in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. I have read somewhere that you need to go to Ranger Stations/Outpost to get a permit and you have to call and make reservations too if you plan on staying at campsites and shelters. I dont plan to stay at a shelter but i do plan to stay at the campsite and tent. If anyone could help with advise I would be much appreciative.
Also, is it allowed to just get of the beating path and make your own campsite?