spring in the smokies
April 25, 2024

The weather is getting warmer, which means there is more time to spend outdoors. Going for a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great way to enjoy the fresh air. Whether you're a beginner or a more experienced hiker, we want to make sure that every visitor has a safe and fun time. With that being said, here is a list of 3 tips for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring:

1. Choose the Right Trail

Choosing the right trail for your hike is important. Keep in mind that it is not about taking the most strenuous route. Rather, you should just have fun being in nature. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 850 miles of hiking trails, so visitors have a lot of options. If you’re a beginner, the Gatlinburg Trail is a great choice. It has flat terrain and a roundtrip length of 3.9 miles. The route follows the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, and hikers cross one of the longest footbridges in the park. If you like it, you will also enjoy the Cades Cove and Sugarlands Valley nature trails. Want a more challenging trail? If so, take an 8.8-mile hike to the Gregory Bald Overlook. The sights along the way include an old-growth forest. Hikers that go in the spring will see the pretty azaleas that bloom on the summit.

2. Wear the Right Gear

hiking in the great smoky mountains national park

Hikers should wear the right gear for both comfort and safety. For example, wear closed-toe shoes with good traction. They can help you maintain your balance if you’re hiking on steep terrain or around a waterfall. You should also plan on bringing a jacket, especially if you’re hiking into higher elevations. Even if it is warm down below, it will cool off as you go higher up. The highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet. The temperatures up there are 20 degrees colder than the ones down below.

3. Hike Early in the Morning & Go With a Group

Early morning is the best time of day for a hike. You won’t have to worry about running out of daylight and it is the coolest part of the day. Before you rush out the door, be sure to eat a good breakfast. Some good options include oatmeal and yogurt with fruit. You should also drink lots of water as well. If you choose to hike later in the day, plan to be back before it gets dark. Visitors should never hike at night, no matter how experienced they are. The darkness makes it difficult to see important trail markers and wildlife. Another helpful tip is to hike with a group. This way, you’ll have help finding your way back if you do get lost. Additionally, it is fun to admire the beauty of nature with your friends or loved ones.

Now that you know how to plan a great hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this spring, it is time to choose a trail! Explore our list of Smoky Mountain hiking trails you have to try!