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There is no better way to connect with nature than with a leisurely hike through the scenic Smoky Mountains, especially this time of year. The leaves in the trees are nothing short of spectacular, and all the animals are getting their last bit of energy out before hiding away during the winter.
Along with checking the weather, the key things to keep in mind when hiking in the Smoky Mountains this time of year is knowing what to bring and what to wear. The last thing any hiker would want is to have a less than enjoyable experience with such beautiful scenery surrounding you.
What to Wear
What you wear can really make or break your fall hike experience. You want to be both warm and comfortable throughout the hike. How do you achieve this with the changing altitudes? The answer is simple: layers! Layers are the secret weapon to any skilled hiker in the Smokies. From head to toe, hikers want to make sure they are well insulated to protect against a cool breeze, but also have the ability to shed a layer or two in case you get hot on the trail. Keep in mind, wool and synthetic fabrics are better than cotton when it comes to hiking gear. You’ll want a fabric that can dry quickly, and will also keep you warm in case there is a slight breeze. Sturdy shoes and a windbreaker are also crucial items to bring on a day hike in the Smokies.
What to Bring
Above all else, you want to make sure that you pack enough water during your day hike in the Smokies. For short hikes one water bottle may be ok, but especially for longer hikes at least two to three bottles is a must! The second key item is something to eat. Keep in mind, the average hiker burns around 300 calories an hour when hiking. Packing a snack high in protein, that won’t spoil, and is light weight is ideal. Dried fruits, cereal, and sandwiches are popular choices. A small first aid kit is also encouraged.
Where to Hike
There are literally hundreds of beautiful hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whether you are looking for a light and easy stroll, or a more strenuous hike, there is a path for all expertise levels. Though there is no specific guide to which trails are better this time of year, we do suggest that you are conscious of your skill level. Hiking in the Smokys is a good resource to determining how difficult a specific trail is to hike.
What to Eat
As mentioned earlier, bringing an energy-boosting snack during your hike is a must, but what should you eat before you hit the trail? Many experts encourage a hearty breakfast. You’ll want something high in carbohydrates and protein to give you enough energy to enjoyably finish your hike. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that you will want to fuel up on something to eat before the hike that will let you save your snack until at least the halfway point of the trail.
To learn more about other fun and exciting things to do in the Smoky Mountains, Visit My Smokies encourages guests to check out our page completely dedicated to all things Smoky Mountains. Whether you are looking for a nice place to enjoy a picnic on your hike, experience wildlife, or thinking about camping, there is useful information for every visitor to the Smokies!