road leading to the Smokies covered in snow
November 25, 2022

While hiking is fun any time of the year, the colder weather brings beautiful sights to the Smoky Mountains that you do not want to miss! See a real-life winter wonderland as the snow blankets the picturesque natural scenery that you know and love! With that, here are 4 tips for visiting the Smoky Mountains in winter:

1. Wear Insulated Boots

hiker with winter hiking boots walking through the snow

If you plan on hiking in the Smoky Mountains in winter, it is a good idea to wear insulated boots because keeping your feet warm will ensure that the rest of your body stays warm too! When you aren’t feeling cold, it will make whatever you are doing in the Smoky Mountains more enjoyable. Additionally, your boots should have good traction as well. It will help you maintain your footing on the potentially icy trails.

2. Keep Track of Time

It is always good practice to keep track of time as you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains. It is even more important in the colder months because it gets darker earlier. It is never good to hike in the dark, no matter how skilled of a hiker you are. It is harder to see your surroundings, and you could be exposed to dangerous wildlife. Other tips for a safe hike include bringing a buddy along. There will be someone to help you if you get lost and good conversation can make your time even more enjoyable. If you don’t plan on hiking, it is still a good idea to refrain from being in the Smoky Mountains in the dark, even if you’re staying in your car.

3. See the Best Winter Views

Alum Cave Trail in the Smoky Mountains

You can see some beautiful sights when you visit the Smoky Mountains in winter! For example, Rainbow Falls is an 80 foot waterfall that is breathtaking to look at throughout the year. However, it is particularly beautiful in the winter when it freezes over. Additionally, if you’re looking for scenic hikes, take the Alum Cave Trail. The water you see dripping from the bluff warmer months forms beautiful icicle patterns when the temperature drops!

4. Take Advantage of the Motor Trails

If you don’t want to brave the cold for a hike, there are other fun activities to enjoy! The scenic drives offer a more laid back way to explore the Smoky Mountains in winter! Take in all the beautiful sights while being in the comfort of your own vehicle! One great route is located in Cades Cove! The Cades Cove Loop Road is open year-round every day from 8am to sunset. This is an 11-mile route where you’ll see many historical buildings such as the Primitive Baptist Church. If you’re traveling with your loved ones, taking a drive in the Smoky Mountains is an excellent opportunity for bonding time. Talk about your favorite sights and reminisce on good times! If you want a way to make your ride even cozier, bring cups of coffee or hot cocoa to sip on as you take in the scenery. As you plan your trip, check for road closures that can occur due to ice on the roads!

We hope you follow these tips to make your visits to the Smoky Mountains in winter more enjoyable! If you want to see what areas are open in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park throughout the year, check out our operating hours and seasons!