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5 Ways to Keep Cool This Summer on a Smoky Mountain Hike

Don’t let the heat prevent you from exploring the Smokies this summer! While temperatures in the area can get a bit toasty, summer is one of the best times to immerse yourself in the spectacular natural scenery of the Smokies. If you have plans to go on a Smoky Mountain hike, there are a number of trips and tricks you can follow to ensure you have a memorable experience and don’t overheat. Here are 5 ways to keep cool this summer on a Smoky Mountain hike:

1. Start Early in the Morning

sunrise in the Great Smoky Mountains National ParkYour best chance to avoid peak temperatures is typically to start your trek first thing in the morning. If you really want the ultimate experience, start your adventure in Great Smoky Mountains National Park at sunrise to catch a glimpse of stunning orange, red, purple and blue hues that take over the sky! In addition to more comfortable temperatures, starting early in the morning usually means fewer crowds of people on the trails.

2. Bring Water & Take Breaks

Be sure to swig down plenty of water when you go on a Smoky Mountain hike. Staying well hydrated helps you to feel at your best, not to mention all the fluids your body can lose through sweating. Replenishing those fluids with water keeps you cool and ready to explore the rest of the trail. Take as many breaks as you need if you get hot or worn out. There’s no rush when you’re on the trails so take your time!

3. Visit a Waterfall, Stream or Swimming Hole

woman looking at tremont waterfallSpeaking of water, there’s plenty of it in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Consider taking a hike to a waterfall, along a stream, or even venture to a local swimming hole. As you watch the powerful falls rush down, you may get splashed by a bit of refreshing water. For unforgettable memories the whole family can enjoy, take a dip in one of the swimming holes. It’s a great way to keep cool and have a ton of fun!

4. Consider Going Higher

Higher elevations in the national park tend to have lower temperatures, making them a great option for a Smoky Mountain hike during the summer. Temperatures in higher elevations can be anywhere from 10-20 degrees cooler than those in lower elevations! Because Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the national park, trails nearby, like Andrews Bald, Spruce-Fir Nature Trail and Fork Ridge Trail, often have cooler temperatures.

5. Wear Appropriate Clothing

summer hikingThe way you dress for your adventures plays a significant role in how you feel amid the heat. Light colored clothing like tan and khaki can keep you cooler than colors like black that attract sunlight. By reflecting the sun’s rays away from you, you’ll typically be cooler in light colors. Wear clothing that’s breathable or made with material that is lightweight. It will help keep the warm air from becoming trapped against your skin. Bringing less gear helps you keep your cargo lighter in weight, which can keep you cooler.

Follow these tips to keep cool this summer on a Smoky Mountain hike. Did you know the benefits of hiking go far beyond just the special things you’ll see?