porters creek trail in the smoky mountains

What to Take When Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

Rising above the breathtaking landscape of the Tennessee-North Carolina border, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 100 trails for hiking enthusiasts of all skill levels. Whether you are an avid hiker or just beginning, it is important to remember the right equipment and supplies so you’re prepared for anything while you’re out in the wilderness. Here is everything you should take with you when you go hiking in the Smoky Mountains:

Proper Footwear

hikingWearing the proper footwear is essential when hiking in the Smoky Mountains. In most cases, sneakers or gym shoes will not do the job. We recommend you purchase a good pair of hiking boots before you attempt a longer hike. These type of shoes should touch right above the ankle and offer ample support to avoid rolling your ankle on steep terrain. Be sure to wear the correct size so there is no rubbing. Your socks are also important and should rise above the hiking boot for better support. Stick to breathable materials such as wool, which will help keep your feet stay dry and warm. Cotton tends to trap moisture and should be avoided if possible.

Protect Your Skin

Hiking isn’t just about protecting your feet. You will be outside, possibly for hours, and should protect yourself from the elements. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or more, and remember to reapply it every hour or two, even on cloudy days when the sun isn’t as prominent. Don’t neglect your scalp, either! A wide-brim hat will protect your head and shelter your eyes against sunlight or unexpected rain. It also wouldn’t hurt to apply some bug spray on yourself before hiking. Depending on the time of year, mosquitoes can be a real annoyance while hiking.

Keep Up Your Energy

woman drinking water out of a bottleDrinking water is essential while you are hiking in the Smoky Mountains. Be sure you have plenty on hand to keep you hydrated. In case you get hungry or need another boost of energy, bring a snack. You’ll want energizing food to keep your blood sugar up and give you energy. Some of the best foods to take with you on a hike include an apple, some trail mix, or some protein bars, because they will keep your energy flowing throughout your hike. If you don’t drink water or eat energy-providing food, your body may have a hard time finishing the hike.


If you are using a marked trail, stop at the information area for a map. In addition to a map, you should bring a smartphone with GPS capabilities in case you get lost and people need to search for you. Be sure to turn off other battery-draining capabilities, such as screen brightness, live backgrounds, other applications and Bluetooth. Make sure someone always has your locations when you’re hiking, especially if you’re alone.

Enjoy a fun day of hiking in the Smoky Mountains, but make sure you’re always being smart. Learn more about Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, the Great Smoky Mountains, and other area information so you can best plan your next trip to the Smokies.