Smoky Mountain Winter Hiking
Ahh, Smoky Mountain Winter Hiking…can you believe it is almost winter? Yea, me either. Hiking is a year round activity here in the Smoky Mountains. A lot of folks seem to think everything shuts down in the winter, but that could not be further from the truth. I am going to tell you all about some of the best trails to enjoy in the winter time so go ahead and open another browser for some online winter boot shopping. Trust me, there is something magical about hiking the Smoky Mountains in the winter season.
Alum Cave Trail
You will be awed at the incredible picturesque views you will see that the snow creates. Beautiful backdrops every which way you go. Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular winter hikes. It is common to see water dripping from the bluff above so when the colder weather really hits, those droplets become icicles which is wonderful to see.
One of the most amazing parts of hiking the Smoky Mountains in the winter is that everything is literally covered in snow, especially in the higher elevations. Andrews Bald is a great place to view those snow covered peaks…views that you do not want to miss! You catch the trailhead to Andrews Bald at the Clingmans Dome parking lot.
This trail is in the lower elevation of the National Park and is considered to be one of the best trails because the roads are less likely to be closed off due to snow and ice. This trail has less traffic than some of the other ones throughout the Park so you can truly have a relaxing and quiet time while enjoying the views. Speaking of views, you can see Fern Branch Falls on this trail and it is truly great to see when it is frozen. It is about two miles to the Falls from the beginning of the trail. This trail is also considered moderate in difficulty and has no big elevation changes.
Huskey Gap Trail
Enjoy solitude? Then you will love this trail. Huskey Gap Trail is a 4.2 round-trip hike that begins on Newfound Gap Roads and makes its way up Sugarland Mountain. You will see what remains of a stone fence that was part of Appalachian homes along this trail. It is always nice to see remnants of the past while hiking in the Smoky Mountains. This is a moderate hike and will get your blood pumping, but the payoff is wonderful-incredible views of the mountain peaks.
No matter what season you are hiking, it is smart to use precaution and make sure you are prepared. In the winter, it is of absolute necessity that you are precautious, aware of your surroundings and have on the correct attire. Always stay on the path. It is always a good idea to carry a hiking stick in the winter to help with balance as well. You can easily lose your footing with the heavy snow and/or ice so make sure you have proper boots on and put some instep crampons on to help with the ice too. In the event of an emergency, be sure to bring flares, a first aid kit and water with you. Oh, and a thermos of hot chocolate! Ok, that is not really a necessity, but it sure lifts your spirits when you are frozen to your core!
If you have not made it to the Smokies this year yet, there is no need to fret. You still have all winter to make it to the area to enjoy some incredible trails and views. If you are planning on visiting, you need a place to stay. A luxury condominium will be perfect after a long day of hiking out in the cold. You can curl up by the gas fireplace with some cocoa and chat about how much fun your day was. Our condos come with everything you will need while on vacation including a full kitchen where you can cook up your favorite soup recipe to warm yourself up. So, take a look at our specials and get to planning your Smoky Mountain Winter Hiking trip.