Snow covering the trees in the Smoky Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains

First Snow of the 2014 Season: 14 Inches of Snow in the Smoky Mountains

We have been watching the weather quickly change across the Smoky Mountains. The pretty fall colors are at their peak which means the snow should be right around the corner.

Just as the fall weather arrived a little early this year, the winter weather sure isn’t taking any extra time to show up. The first snow of the 2014 season is on its way and Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are getting prepared!

(Also Popular: Top 5 Reasons to Visit the Smokies in the Winter)

When will the snow arrive in the Smokies?

According to the local news stations, the winter weather is moving in over the weekend from Friday, October 31 through Sunday, November 2. The snow in the Smoky Mountains is expected to just be flurries in the lower elevations, while the upper elevations could get quite a bit of snowfall.

According to local station, KnoxNews.com, the Smoky Mountain area can expect up to 14 inches of snow in the Smokies! Of course, the upper elevations will receive more snow than the lower elevations because the temperatures are much cooler as you go higher in elevation in the mountains.

Where can visitors see the snow in the Smoky Mountains?View of snowy mountaintops

Around 2,500 feet, you can expect to see anywhere from 4-8 inches of snowfall. In the peak areas of the mountains, there’s a possibility of approximately 14 inches. In the lower elevations, around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, visitors can just expect the temperatures to drop with very light snow flurries.

Please remember to check for weather updates and road closures before you make your way into the mountains. When winter weather hits the mountains, the road between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC (Newfound Gap Road) can become very slick and icy. They will not close Newfound Gap Road unless the weather and road conditions are unsafe for travelers.

For the most up-to-date information about road closures, you can visit the National Park Service’s road closures page here: http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm

View of snowy mountaintopsIs it safe to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains in colder weather?

Of course it can be extremely safe to hike in the Smokies in the cold. In fact, we hope the cold weather doesn’t absolutely deter you from making travel plans! When you go hiking in cold weather, there are a few extra precautions you should take, and a few extra things to pack in your backpack for safety, but otherwise, you should have no problems unless there’s lots of snow on the ground (which is not expected for this first snow of the season). Here’s some helpful tips:

1. Pack extra water. Any time of year, it’s best to pack extra water for hiking, but the winter weather will dehydrate you quickly if you don’t drink plenty of water.

2. Pack matches in your backpack. It’s always a good idea to have waterproof matches in your backpack, just in case of any unexpected hiking problems.

3. Always wear layers of clothes when you’re hiking, especially in the winter months. You will want to bundle up well, so you are warm on the trails.

4. Plan to hit the trails early, so you can get off the trails early. When you wait until late in the afternoon to start your hike, you will end up being in the mountains as the sun starts setting. You never want to be stuck on a trail after sunset, so hit the trails earlier so you can finish up before it gets too dark.

5. Like always, you should tell someone when you will be hiking. You should especially make someone aware of your hiking destination and time when there is snow in the Smoky Mountains. The weather conditions change quickly and it’s always a good idea to let someone know where you are and when you will be there.

For more information about snow in the Smoky Mountains and the cold weather making its way to the area, take a look at our Smoky Mountain information blog.