During the warmer months of the year, hiking in the Smokies is one of the most popular activities on the east coast, but the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is often forgotten in winter. There are many reasons why the park is great for a winter hike, however. It is during this time that there are far fewer people in the park, yet the views stretch for far longer than any time of year. It is quite possible that you might even be the only person enjoying a snowy panorama and breathing in the crisp mountain air. Book one of our cozy Gatlinburg cabins and give yourself something forward to this winter.
Many of the trails in the park stay open all winter and very few require special gear. It is worth packing an extra pair of socks and dressing in plenty of layers for the cooler, higher elevations, but you can enjoy the beautiful mountains without anything more than the basics in your backpack. Just make sure you do have water, matches enough food, and a trail map. For those with a keener sense of adventure, it is worth asking at the National Park Visitor Centers about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, both of which can be enjoyed in the Smokies.
There are a variety of great choices for hiking in the Smokies in winter, from shorter trails to more challenging ones. Though there may not be snow in Gatlinburg or the lower elevations, often the ascent will reward with snowy ranges at the top. A great example is Andrews Bald, a 3.5-mile hike that is easily combined with Clingmans Dome. A very popular trail in the summer, you are much more likely to encounter woodland animals and hear bird calls in the winter, and be rewarded with incredible panoramas at the top.
It is worth keeping in mind that there are hundreds of waterfalls in the Smokies as well, and you will not likely forget seeing a frozen cascade. A good option for enjoying wintry waterfalls is at Rainbow Falls, a 5.4-mile hike of moderate difficulty. Along the way, you can enjoy the serenity of old growth forests. You can also continue on to popular Mt. LeConte.
After a satisfying day stamping down one of the 800 trails in the park, one of our Gatlinburg cabins will help you unwind. Slip out of your hiking gear and slip into the hot tub, breathing in more of the fresh air and letting the bubbles massage your muscles. You can prepare dinner on the charcoal grill or in the full kitchen, which is useful for nutritious breakfasts and packing snacks. Curl up afterwards by the fire and enjoy more space and privacy than a hotel. With Gatlinburg cabins for one to 14, we have room for even larger groups, so book now!
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