Appalachian trail sign
October 3, 2022

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains National Park is a fun and free activity. However, it can also require a lot of planning to ensure that you have both a fun and safe time. As you are planning your next hike in the Smoky Mountains National Park, whether it’s the first or the 50th time, here are 4 items you should bring with you to make your hike more enjoyable:

1. Good Walking Shoes

family hiking in the smoky mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 850 miles of hiking trails. All of them have varying terrain. Some of the trails could be flat while others are more hilly. Good walking shoes can make you more secure on rougher paths and keep your feet from getting tired. In the colder months, insulated hiking boots can keep your feet nice and toasty, which will help to keep your whole body warm.

2. Coat

You may think you only need a coat when you’re hiking in the Smoky Mountains National Park in the colder months. It is true that a coat can keep you warm when hiking in colder temperatures. Even so, it is good practice to bring a coat with you year round because the trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park are at varying elevations. The temperature could be colder if you are higher up. If you are worried about having to carry extra stuff, have the coat tied around your waist, so it leaves you hands-free. If you suddenly need it, you won’t have to dig through your backpack!

3. Bottle of Water

woman holding bottle of water

It is safe to say that most of us associate dehydration with getting too hot. Dehydration can happen in any weather. In fact, it is more important to drink water in colder temperatures because your body’s thirst response is decreased by up to 40% This means you will feel less thirsty than you actually are. You could be dehydrated and not even know it! Therefore, it is always good to have a bottle of water to sip on during your hike. Make sure you are drinking water before and after as well!

4. Sunscreen

Everyone knows how easy it is to get a sunburn in the summer months. The sun still shines even when it is cold outside, so you run the risk of getting a sunburn whatever the weather! In fact, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can penetrate the overcast winter clouds. When hiking in the Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to apply sunscreen before you head out and reapply during your hike if needed. In the colder months, you may not need to apply as much. It is still good practice to put some on your face and neck! You don’t want a bad sunburn to put a damper on your vacation!

We hope you enjoyed these useful tips about hiking in the Smoky Mountains National Park! To start planning your hike, take a look at the different hiking trails in the park to decide which one is right for you!