April 25, 2013

Chimney Tops hiking trail in the Smoky MountainsThe Smoky Mountains in Tennessee make a beautiful background for a hike with family or friends. The Gatlinburg area has a number of maintained hiking trails in The Great Smoky Mountains for enjoying nature, viewing wildlife and getting physical exercise. Good preparation will help to make your hike through this wondrous area a memorable time for all.

Your Choice of Hiking Trails In The Great Smoky Mountains

  • Grotto Falls is a 2.6-mile trail that offers hikers views of an old-growth forest and waterfalls. Located in Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, it is an easy trail for any skill level.
  • Chimney Tops is a 4-mile trail, but simply going a short portion of the way will provide a number of interesting views. The trail is moderately difficult with a gradual elevation as you walk. It can be accessed on Newfound Gap Road.
  • Baskin Creek Trail is a 3-mile trail located in the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. This trail offers some of the best waterfall viewing, with an easy climb and modest elevation.
  • Alum Cave provides fascinating geological features on a 4.4-mile path of moderate difficulty. See Arch Rock, the Eye of the Needle and lush rhododendron blooms in early summer.

Hiking Gear
The most important piece of equipment you have for a hike is good footwear. A substantial hiking shoe with a solid sole, protective upper section and good fit will keep your feet comfortable regardless of the condition of the trail. A walking stick can make hiking on rocky trails and inclines easier. A lightweight backpack for water, snacks and other gear will allow you to walk comfortably for long periods.
Weather Protection
A rain poncho is a good item to bring along in case of sudden showers. A light, waterproof jacket will keep you dry and warm in spring weather. In summer heat, carry a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Pack insect repellent in case for hiking through heavily wooded areas.

Safety on the Trail
Always keep small children in sight and away from ledges and overhangs. Set your hiking pace for the slowest member of your group. Take frequent breaks if you have children or older members in your group. Bring a small first-aid kit along with Bandaids, insect sting reliever and over-the-counter pain reliever for minor injuries along the trail.