5 Tips for Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains for the First Time
One of the pull factors to Gatlinburg is the scenic nature. During your vacation, you should definitely block out time to explore the outdoors. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is great for hiking as it has over 800 miles of trails. If you have never hiked before, don’t worry! Read on to discover 5 tips for your first time hiking in the Smoky Mountains.
1. Dress Appropriately
The first tip for hiking in the Smoky Mountains is to dress appropriately. If you plan on hiking in the summer, be sure to pack comfortable clothes such as athletic shorts and a tank top. On the other hand, if you go in the winter, be sure to bundle up with items such as a coat and a scarf. Most importantly, be sure to wear shoes that you can comfortably walk long distances in. Good shoes will also make you feel safer when walking on uneven ground along the trail.
2. Wear Sunscreen
The best time for hiking in the Smoky Mountains is during the warmer months. Feeling the warmth of the sun is great, but it also poses a huge risk for sunburns. The risk can be easily avoided by wearing sunscreen. Make sure to put it on places that receive direct sunlight such as your arms, legs, and face. Apply and reapply sunscreen if you are hiking between 10AM and 4PM when the sun’s rays are strongest. You don’t want the pain of a sunburn to put a damper on your vacation.
3. Fuel Up
Before your hike, make sure to eat a good meal to give yourself energy. Stick to healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Eggs, peanut butter, and other forms of protein are good options as well because they will keep you full. During your hike, you can also bring along a small snack such as trail mix. Along with food, make sure you drink plenty of water before, during, and after your hike. Being out in the sun or even walking for long periods of time can take a lot out of you and you don’t want to risk getting dehydrated.
4. Bring a Buddy
Another important tip for hiking in the Smoky Mountains is to bring friends (the more, the merrier). If you have never hiked in the Smoky Mountains before, it’s best not to go alone. Getting lost in the woods can be a dangerous situation. If you have someone with you, it may be easier to find your way around. More importantly, being out in nature completely eliminates distractions, so it will give you a chance to bond with the person or people on your hike.
5. Go at Your Own Pace
Make sure to read about the trails in the Smoky Mountains before you go. Find out about the terrain, whether it is flat or more hilly. If it is your first time hiking, a trail with many hills is probably not ideal and can be cause for injury. Don’t push yourself. You can definitely work your way up to the harder trails if you choose. Have Fun! Focus on taking in the beauty of the plants and animals around you.
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a fun and free vacation activity you don’t want to miss. For help planning your hike, take a look at these hiking trail maps that will give you a better idea of what trail is right for you!