The Smoky Mountains is the most visited national park, but in some ways, the least well known. Located in the major population centers in the Eastern part of the United States, hiking in the smokies is a favorite among hikers and campers. I allowed myself to vanish in the Smokies a few times so I can get away from the daily hustle. It’s one of those spectacular locations where you can park your car and get off to see the blue mountain haze. There’s so much of the natural beauty of America to see in the great smokies. It is definitely a wonderful location to plan your next hiking trip.
Want To Go Hiking In The Smokies? Plan Your Trip First
It used to be said that a squirrel could go from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River without touching the ground. This is how dense the forest cover was before, but it no longer holds true today. The creation of the Smoky Mountains National Park forced the removal of existing towns to preserve this wondrous spot of nature that I consider a great human story of preservation. The vast hiking trail of the smokies is known for the beautiful locations to witness but you have to be prepared. You need more than just a good pair of shoes for a long hike in this National Park. It’s not really as challenging as conquering the Himalayas but the Smoky Mountains National Park is a wilderness area so you definitely need to be prepared. Let me share a little wisdom and some preparation tips for hiking in the Smokies.
1. Hiking Alone
If you’re not hiking with a group, always let somebody know where you’re going. Provide an itinerary of your trip if possible so someone has an idea where you are and can easily locate you in a case of an emergency. You don’t want to end up like that guy from 127 hours, do you?
2. Hiking with children
As a growing family activity, kids enjoy the hike more than adults do. Be sure to keep your children either with you or within eyesight. They can get off the trail very easily so it’s really important to always know where they are.
3. Good Sturdy pair of boots and socks
You don’t want to go into the woods in tennis shoes. You will come across a lot of rugged trails in the smokies so you need a footwear that’s good enough to support your feet and avoid getting injured. Socks are as important to keep the moisture away from your feet and aid the boots.
4. First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is very valuable in the woods, and in any hiking trip for that matter. You’ll never know when something’s going to happen so this is a very important preparation to make. A lot of times first aid is what’s needed to prevent a small injury from progressing into a life threatening situation.
5. Secure Your Raingear
Raingear is a very important thing to bring because of the nature of the Smoky Mountains. It can be sunny in town but rainy and stormy in the mountain. The Smokies is known for its unpredictable weather so always be prepared in case you get caught up in heavy rain.
6. Trail Foods
Getting hungry on a long day hike is a sure thing and you need energy for the trail. Always make sure you don’t starve on the trip or run out of provisions in case the situation gets longer than expected.
7. Handy Flashlight
You’ll never know when you’re gonna get caught up after dark, which can happen on any hiking trip. Even a small flashlight can be very valuable and it’s also recommended for every person in the group. Click here to get this amazing Hybeam Flashlight!
8. Insect Repellent
I always pack a bottle or two of insect repellents to keep away mosquitoes and other pests. Because of the environment, mosquitoes are going to be the least of your worries because there are also ticks, spiders, and bees.
9. Satellite Phone
When you’re too far to get a signal on your cell phone, the satellite phone connects to the world’s largest commercial satellite in case of an emergency. Added security in your backpack is never too troublesome to bring.
10. Handheld GPS
Never get lost in the wilderness. The GPS (Global Positioning System) shows you where you are and in what direction you’re heading. Modern GPS also allows you to download your route and follow it to your destination.
One of the very important things to secure in the hike especially in the summer is an insect repellant. Summer is a season high time for mosquitoes that’ll surely find its way to you. Let it not bother the hike and continue to enjoy the view in the Smokies without getting stung by mosquitoes.
Check out this short video by seaurchin77 and take a peek at the beauty of the Great Smokies National Park.
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to spend time with nature. Every time I plan to get on a hiking trip here excites me to grab my gear, get on the trail and anticipate the scenic views again. Whether you’re going on your own, with your family, or with a certain group, that’s everything you need to know about planning a good and safe hiking trip in the smokies.
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