9 Safety Tips for When You Go Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

August 01, 2019

When you go hiking in the Smoky Mountains, you want to be sure you’re prepared! Don’t go without all the equipment you might need or without the information you might need while you’re out on the trail. Here are 9 safety tips you will need when you go hiking in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Tell Someone Where You’re Going

It isn’t smart to just decide to go hiking without telling someone where you’re going first. Tell another person, or even better, multiple people, what trail you are planning on hiking and when you think you will be back that way if you get lost or something happens to you, someone will know where you are.

2. Hike With Someone Else

Couple hiking in the Smoky MountainsWhile some people do hike alone, you should always take someone with you. If you ever fell and twisted your ankle or anything more serious happened, the other person would be able to help you, which wouldn’t be the case if you were by yourself.

3. Bring A Map

GPS and cell phones don’t usually work in the mountains. You should have a paper copy of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and know how to read it before you go on a hike just in case you get lost.

4. Have a Flashlight

man holding a flashlight in the dark woodsEven if you’re going on a hike during the day, it is a good idea to bring a flashlight with you. You could end up being out longer than you had planned, and once dusk falls, you don’t want to be without light!

5. Pack a First Aid Kit

Anything can happen while you’re out hiking in the Smoky Mountains. You could trip over tree roots or cut yourself on a rock. It’s smart to pack a first aid kit so you can treat minor injuries immediately instead of having to wait until you’re back to your car.

6. Take Water and Food

backpack with camera and canteenEven if you’re going on a short hike, you should always bring water and snacks. Many hiking trails in the Smokies are steep and will cause you to sweat. You’ll want to replenish the liquids in your body with water. Plus, you’ll need energy from food while you’re out on the trails!

7. Wear Proper Clothes

Many issues can arise if you’re not wearing the proper clothing while you’re out hiking in the Smoky Mountains. You should wear boots or other shoes will good ankle support so you won’t twist or sprain your ankles. Bring a wind-resistant jacket with you to prevent you from getting chilly. You should dress in layers to prepare for chilly weather and so you avoid hypothermia. Don’t forget a rain jacket in case the weather changes quickly!

8. Don’t Cross High Water

smoky mountain creekAfter it rains, there are surges of high water in the mountains. You should never try to cross swollen bodies of water because it could mean the water current is dangerous. You don’t want to be swept away, so avoid high water altogether. During and after heavy rainfall, some roads and trails close in the national park. For the most up-to-date closures in and around the park, visit Smokies Road Info.

9. Call 911 in an Emergency

You should bring your cell phone with you because you never know what might happen. If there’s an emergency, you should call 911 and give them as much information about where you are as possible, such as the trail, any markers you might have seen, and how far away from them you are. If you don’t get service or didn’t bring your phone, send another hiker to get help.

We hope these safety tips for hiking in the Smoky Mountains are helpful! We want you to be as prepared as possible before you go out on any of the trails. Wondering what hiking trails you should go on? Check out our hiking maps and the most popular hiking trails in the Smokies!