Tips for a Successful First Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains

Two people hiking on trailPlanning your first hike in the Smoky Mountains? Whether a novice outdoorsman or an experienced mountain-trekker, those who hike the Smokies have a different experience than anywhere else in the world. To help you get started, here are some tips for a successful first hike into the mountains.

(See Also: 4 Reasons to Vacation in the Smoky Mountains this Season)

1. Choose a trail that suits your ability.

There are a wide variety of options for hiking in the Smoky Mountains, short and easy pathways or longer backcountry trails. Be sure to choose a trail that is long enough to be challenging, but short enough that you can safely return without injury or strain.

If you are completely new to hiking, start out slow with shorter trails around the park. Some popular shorter trails are listed below.

Easier Trails

  • Cosby Nature Trail 1 mile loop

  • Sugarland Valley Nature Trail 0.5 mile loop

  • Metcalf Bottoms Trail 2.2 mile loop

  • Gatlinburg Trail 1.9 miles

If you’re more comfortable with hiking, just not in the Great Smoky Mountains, we have also listed more challenging trips for the adventurous spirit.

Medium/Difficult Trails

  • Mt. LeConte 11.0 miles

  • Gregory Bald 11.3 miles

  • Silers Bald 9.3 miles

  • Middle Prong Trail 8.3 miles

For more information about hiking in the National Park, check out the link below.

2. Pack for the occasion.

After choosing the trail, be sure to pack necessary items in a small bag or backpack, so you won’t be stuck in the middle of a hike with water. You might not need all these items for a half mile hike, but we definitely recommend all of these for the longer trips.

Things to Bring Along:

  • Backpack

  • Fully-Charged Cell Phone

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug Spray

  • Small First-Aid Kit

  • Snacks

  • Water

Although there are some areas of the park that do not get cell phone reception, having a charged phone in case of emergencies is extremely important.

3. Dress Like You Mean It

hiking shoes in water puddleTo be comfortable on a hike, it takes a little more effort than your everyday exploring outfits.

Footwear is one of the most important aspects of hiking. Whether you prefer hiking boots or tennis shoes, be sure to have a proper fit, and lace them up before hitting the trail. Second to footwear is the right sock choice. Many have taken returned from hiking with blisters and sores because of the wrong socks.

Thin, cheap socks will leave you with bad memories, so be sure to choose carefully. When it comes to shirts and pants, choose the right weight for the season. In summer, wear lightweight clothing to stay cool and dry. In cooler months, wear layers of heavier clothing.

Although preparing for a hike can seem daunting, it’s really not that bad! It’s even more worth it when you reach the top of the trail head and experience those stunning mountain views.

If you’re ready for an adventure with hiking in the Smoky Mountains, Stony Brook Cabins invites you to stay in one of our Gatlinburg cabin rentals near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance. Only minutes from the park, you can enjoy the convenient location and amazing views during the entire stay.

Give us a call at (866) 742-0078 to begin planning your next getaway today

Stony Brook Cabins and Chalets
1663 East Parkway Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA
Reservations: 800-633-5652
Local: 865-436-7428
Gatlinburg chalets and cabins in Tennessee