Hiking in Gatlinburg, Tennessee can be a challenge if you’re a novice like me. Even with my inexperience, hiking was something that I wanted to try. Here’s what I learned from my experience.
Ask for guidance: Steve and I were lucky enough to find a store in Pigeon Forge called Hikey Mikey. That’s where we met Larry who works at the store. He was more than willing to give us advice based upon our skill level. Larry provided us with a list of Gatlinburg trails and suggested the trail just behind the Sugarland Visitor Center. A map was provided and the distance of the trail. He even gave suggestions on what routes to take and what would be seen along the way. Thank You Larry!
Dress Appropriately: Check the weather forecast and dress according to the weather. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Even the easiest trail can be made difficult if you are not dressed accordingly.
Check for Bear Warnings: Yes you’re in the woods and there is wildlife there including bears. The trail we ventured did have bear warnings posted. I did a quick Google search so I would know what to do if we stumbled upon a bear. A great resource is located on the Great Smoky Mountains website.
Bring Water: Learn from our mistake on this one. It doesn’t matter how nice the weather is, you will get hot and thirsty. Even the easier hiking trails can put your body through some exertion. You may not realize it at first, but you sure will when you are hiking back. I couldn’t wait to quench my thirst. Luckily the visitors center does have vending machines available to purchase water and other drinks.
Take It All In: Take in all the beauty that nature has to offer. The trail we explored went in two directions. We hiked both trails to ensure we didn’t miss a thing. Once you reach the split in the trail, you can go to the left and you will be greeted by Laurel Falls. Take the trail to the right and see an old one room schoolhouse. The trails continue on in both directions from there and maybe next time we’ll try to venture a little further.
Hiking Gatlinburg, Tennessee is an amazing experience even if your a novice like me. Happy Hiking!