Although the winter may bring shorter days and colder temperatures to the Great Smoky Mountains, this is one of the most beautiful times of year to enjoy the local hiking trails. We have put together six essential tips for taking a winter hike in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Hike with a Partner or Group
The most important tip for a winter hike is to hit the trails with a partner or group. Be sure to keep everyone together and stick to the officially maintained paths. If children are hiking with you, pay extra care that they do not get ahead of the group or fall behind.
2. Inform Someone of Your Plans
Before heading out on your winter hike, inform a responsible person of your exact route and return time. Although this is a great tip during any season, this is especially recommended during the winter months when the weather can quickly change.
It is extremely important to stay hydrated during your hike, so be sure to bring along at least two quarts of water per person for each hiking day. Snacks such as protein bars and fruit are also important, as they can provide extra energy on your hike.
4. Bring a Map
Study and bring a current map of the area so that you can keep track of your location during your winter hike. Before you choose your route, check out our blog about the best places to go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Carry a Flashlight
Even if you are starting your winter hike when the sun is out, it is essential to bring along a flashlight for your journey. You never know when you might get turned around on a hiking trail, and the daylight hours are significantly shorter during the winter.
Snow and ice can be a hazard during a winter hike in the Smoky Mountains, so be certain to carry a small first aid kit with you at all times. You’ll want to be prepared if you or your hiking partners experience a fall or other injury.
If you are looking for the perfect place to stay in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, visit our Smoky Mountain Cabin Rentals page today!