Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains: Your Ultimate Guide

When you go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains whether it’s on a short or long trail there are some essential things you need to know and bring. Being prepared is the best thing you can be when you are out in the wilderness! Follow our tips to make your next hike in the Smokies a more enjoyable one!

WeatherWooden foot bridge over riber in great smoky mountains national park

Do you know the Great Smoky Mountains are considered a temperate rainforest? These mountains receive 60 inches of rain a year! This means that it wouldn’t be uncommon for you to pick a day to hike that it also rains. So, on days it’s sunny you can expect it be warm and very humid thanks to the moist climate. Be aware that while it may be humid when you start hiking trails, if you gain enough elevation the temperatures can cool off and become windy making it much cooler.

What to Wear

  • From late spring to early fall temperatures in the Smokies are very warm, and humidity is often very high. When you go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains at this time make sure you wear light, breathable clothing. Moisture wicking clothing can often be a great option to keep you more comfortable as well.
  • From late fall to early spring wear layers! The Smokies can receive snow any time through these parts of the year especially in higher elevations. And if it only rained that day, the rain will cool of the temperatures and you’ll be glad you have a jacket or pants on. Waterproof gear is the best option to wear on the outside and warm layers on the inside.
  • Throughout anytime of the years it’s recommend that you wear closed-toe shoes. Many trails in the Smokies have rocks, raised roots, and stairs. A waterproof jacket is also a great idea to keep around whether it’s light or heavy.

Sugarlands Visitor CenterItems to Pack

  • The most essential item to pack is water! Getting dehydrated in the woods can be dangerous.
  • Pack some snacks for energy and as a reward for making it to your destination. If you bring snacks that come in wrapping make sure to bring a baggy so you can put your trash in it.
  • A map of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can find road and trail maps at the visitor centers inside the national park.
  • Compass
  • Pocket knife
  • Rain jacket
  • Any other clothing you may need for the season.
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • A camera if you want to take pictures while on your hike.

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains can lead you to mountain views, historic buildings, and waterfalls. If you see wildlife along a trail be sure to stay a safe distance away! Before starting your hike make sure you feel prepared and know how to get to the trailhead and how to come back down the trail. Now that you know what to expect and bring along for a hike check out some of these great and easy trails in the Smokies to try during your next visit!