The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Travelers come to this part of the country to take in the fresh mountain air and be awestruck by the majestic beauty of the surrounding mountains. The trails in the Smoky Mountains are some of the best in the world, making it a go-to spot for hiking.
Never gone on a hike before? Or perhaps it has been a while? That is fine! We have put together a few tried-and-true tips that will ensure you make the most of your hiking experience in the Smoky Mountains while staying safe:
Bring Healthy Munchies
Regardless of the trail, you will burn many calories when hiking in the Smoky Mountains. And you will likely feel hungry sooner rather than later. Thus, it would be best if you tucked some snacks in your pockets or the bag.
Sugary snacks like candy bars are not the healthiest option. Nonetheless, some people, such as diabetics, must always have access to carb fuel. This particularly stands true for treks with longer duration. In that case, protein bars, granola bars, trail mixes, and fruits are all great options. They aid in keeping a level head, which is helpful if you ever find yourself in a sticky situation.
Research The Trail
Hikers should carefully plan their routes. Since most people have access to the internet, it should not be too difficult to track down the data. We would also recommend having a paper map with all the trail markers. In addition to using Google Maps, you can visit one of the park’s visitor centers to get help regarding the hike.
If you are staying at Timber Tops Cabin Rental, you can drop by Sugarlands Visitors Center, which is the closest to Gatlinburg and can serve as a great starting point for your hiking adventure. Apart from a sizable collection of maps, this location also allows visitors to consult with a friendly human guide. With their help, your excursion will go off without a hitch.
Avoid Going On A Hike Alone
We cannot stress enough on the importance of having a companion when hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You should always have someone with you when hiking, just in case something happens to you in the wilderness. In addition, going on a hike in these mountains with a buddy adds a special dimension to the trip. When you get to the trail’s peak, having a friend along means you have someone to snap pictures with the beautiful mountains as a backdrop.
If you cannot find anyone, let someone know when and where you plan to go. Make sure to sync up with this person before setting off on your hike, and give them a rough idea of when you expect to return. That way, if you do not return at the scheduled time, they will know something is fishy and take prompt action.
Carry First Aid Kit
The trails in the Smoky Mountains could be challenging for hikers of all skill levels. It does not take much to head in the wrong direction. The ground can get muddy, damp, and slick at times, turning what would normally be considered an ordinary walk into more of a challenging adventure.
In a close-knit group, no one wants to imagine a partner getting hurt on a Smoky Mountains hike. Yet, we must always be prepared. While it may not be practical to have a medical expert on hand at all times, you should carry basic first aid supplies. If you get any cuts or sprains on your trip, you will be glad you brought along some bandages, scissors, wraps, and ointment.
Dress The Part
Putting on synthetic sporting clothes in multiple layers is an excellent strategy to keep your body warm and dry. It is wise to start your hike out on the cool side. This will save you from having to stop repeatedly to take off layers. In high altitudes, a lightweight synthetic jacket or long-sleeved synthetic shirt is recommended year-round. Another piece of clothing to have on a trek is a multipurpose bandana. You may wrap it around your head to retain heat or drape it around your neck to absorb sweat as the day progresses.
When visiting the Smoky Mountains, it is usually a good idea to bring along a raincoat or buy a disposable waterproof poncho from a nearby convenience store. Footwear is also an important part of overall trekking attire. If you do not have hiking shoes, you will be in for an unpleasant trip and end up getting blisters. Therefore, investing in sturdy hiking shoes is a must. Be sure to buy shoes that allow you to walk for extended distances without experiencing pain.
Warmer months are ideal for trekking in the Smoky Mountains. Although basking in the sun’s rays is a terrific way to relieve stress, it also poses a serious risk of sunburn. Putting on sunscreen is the best way to protect yourself from potential danger. Apply it liberally to exposed skin, especially vulnerable facial areas, legs, and arms. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 AM-4 PM, so if you are hiking between these hours, apply sunscreen multiple times. Sunburn is painful, and you do not want it to ruin your vacation.
Check The Weather In Advance
The climate in the Smoky Mountains is notoriously unpredictable. It is important to remember that if you are hiking a trail with significant elevation variations, the weather will shift accordingly. Sometimes, the temperature fluctuation could be as radical as 10 degrees. So make sure you consider weather conditions before proceeding!
The Great Smoky Mountains will never fail to take your breath away. Exploring these beautiful and ancient mountains through trekking is a great way to make memories that will last a lifetime. By walking the tight line of the tips covered in this blog, you will have the best hiking experience in the Smokys.