Hiking

Because the Great Smoky mountains are open all year round, hikers can enjoy the many different trails that the park has to offer. Although you might not realize it, the winter season is actually a great time to hike some of the different park trails as many trees have lost their leaves and often missed scenery is revealed. With unique views of historic foundations, chimneys, stone walls and other suggestions of the former park residents, the winter months unveil some truly great sights. In the spring, visitors are able to see the park come back to life as wildflowers, trees and other forms of vegetation start to be born again. The summertime also brings a unique experience as hikers are able to discover shaded areas, cool mountain streams and forest covered paths that are generally not explored. If you are hiking in the fall, you will be able to take in the park’s cool, crisp air and the beautiful foliage that surrounds you.

With so many different hiking options, the hardest decision that visitors are presented with is which trail to explore. Before making your final decision, first decide on what kind of attraction you would like to encounter. Scenic views? Waterfalls? Ancient forests? Now it’s time to decide on how far you would like to travel. It’s important to make sure to select a distance that you are comfortable with. Before setting off on your journey, first check the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page of the Backcountry section to find out if a trail is open or closed.

Hike the Smokies!

If you are hiking one of the many great Smoky Mountains trails, sign up for the Hike the Smokies and the Hike the Smokies – For Families reward programs that give you the opportunity to earn stickers and pins as you complete each passing mile.

Suggested Hiking Readings

Day Hikes of the Smokies will provide visitors with the top 34 park day hikes, along with specific nature trails. This reading will include certain relief maps for specific hikes and exact elevation profile charts.

Hiking Trails of the Smokies will give hikers a list of all the park’s 150 different trails that include descriptive narratives regarding each hiking destination. Additionally, there will be trail mileage, stream crossings and elevation change information.