8 Tips for Safe Hiking in The Great Smoky Mountains

August 9th 2016

If you are an outdoor enthusiast, The Smoky Mountains are truly one of the most amazing places to explore! In addition to the obvious breathtaking beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are many hidden treasures waiting to be found here! If you are planning to hike the trails of these mountains, here are a few safety measures you need to take into consideration before you set out on your hike. If you are planning an extended hiking excursion and are not accustomed to strenuous activity, it is always a good idea to a visit your doctor for a comprehensive checkup a few weeks before your outing. Once you’re given the ok, the first thing to pack in your bag is a first aid kit. Hopefully, this will be one thing you won’t need to use, but it’s always important to have just in case!

There are different types of hikes to choose from at the Smoky Mountains, which include anywhere from 15 minute to half-day hikes, full-day hikes and backcountry hikes. Whichever hike you decide upon, you will find these safety tips extremely useful:

Stay Hydrated

The first rule of thumb whenever you go for a hike is to stay hydrated. This is especially important when hiking during the summer months. Make sure to drink plenty of water before beginning your hike and also carry a generous supply of water with you so that you can drink along the way. It is worth noting that hikes can take longer than expected, which explains why packing extra drinking water is very important.

 Prepare Well Before Setting Out for a Hike

Most hikers make the mistake of embarking on their hike when they are not fully prepared. Take time to do a little research to become familiar with the area as well as prevailing weather conditions of the Smoky Mountains. Check out weather predictions for the duration you will be out for a hike as well as a few days past the expected hiking duration. This will give you a heads up and let you be more prepared in case of any unexpected hiking delay.

Carry Appropriate Clothes and Essentials

Wear proper clothing and make sure your hiking shoes have a good fit and are comfortable and supportive for the terrain you will be hiking. Other essentials that you need to have include navigation devices, sunglasses, repair kit and tools, emergency shelter such as a tent or plastic tube, extra food, waterproof lighters or matches and first-aid supplies.

Never Underestimate the Trail

A large percentage of novice hikers often make this mistake, but it can happen to experienced hikers too. Whenever you’re hiking new areas, take your time to gather information about the nature of the trails, estimated hike duration and expected difficulties.

Handling Nature’s Plants and Animals

The Smoky Mountains are home to boundless plants and animals, some of them being dangerous and/or poisonous. This means you ought to be aware of all the possible dangers when you begin your hiking adventure. Check to see if there’s someone in your team who’s allergic to particular plants, animals, or insects. such as poison ivy and bee stings. It’s also advisable to have a plan for handling emergency situations that may arise. The plan should be shared with every member of the group prior to setting out on your adventure.

Consider Hiking in Groups

It’s understandable that you might prefer to hike alone. However, it’s better if you go hiking as part of a group for quite a number of reasons. Hiking in a group is not only more fun, but it’s also safer. Secondly, if you go hiking alone and something bad happens, it could be difficult to get help if you don’t have at least one other person there to help you or go for help.

Let Your Family Know Where You’re Going

Before setting out for a hike, make sure to leave a copy of your hiking plans with one of your family members or friends who aren’t part of the hiking group. If possible, let them have a map and inform them the time you will depart and your estimated return. Additionally, if you are in a group, exchange cell phone numbers so that it becomes easier to trace each other just in case one of you gets lost.

Avoid Hiking Off-Trail

It is advisable to remain on trail and avoid hiking off-trail. With off-trail hiking, it is much easier to get lost or injured. Although some experienced hikers choose to hike off-trail, they occasionally run into unexpected troubles. Even though it may look more exciting and challenging to blaze your own trail, it is always wiser to remain on course unless you know the Smoky Mountains very well and you’re certain you won’t get lost.

The Smoky Mountains have so much beauty and adventure to offer to any hiking aficionado! We hope these safety tips will be helpful as you plan for you next Smoky Mountains vacation hike!

As with any vacation, it is important to have a comfortable place to relax and enjoy after a long day of outdoor activities. Creekside Lodge is just the right place for this!   With its’ homey and laid back style, Creekside Lodge is the perfect place to kick back and unwind after a long day of hitting the trails! Call us at 1-800-621-1260 and let our friendly staff help you plan the perfect Smoky Mountain getaway!



  • We went with a large group to the Maggie Valley Creekside Lodge and they were incredibly helpful and hospitable. The accommodations were great. The large foyer area was wonderful for the group and the staff was incredible. They made us welcome in so many ways. The rates were incredibly reasonable and the room had all the necessary amenities.

    Chip T.

  • We loved our visit here! We just got home last night and we all wish we were still there! The staff is extremely helpful and the rooms are nice and clean. We spent a lot of time by the stunning creek cooking dinner on the grill and roasting s'mores over the fire pit. It is centrally located to many attractions. We went on many day trips and didn't spend all day in the car getting there. It's also within walking distance of restaurants and shops, but you may find yourself eating by the rushing creek instead!

    Amie M.

  • Really enjoyable place to stay. Room had a balcony overlooking the creek. Spacious room with comfortable bed. Staff was very nice and friendly. Took only 35-40 minutes to reach the Valley at Cataloochee where the elk were in rut. Awesome stay and can't wait to go back.


  • Clean, friendly, quiet, relaxing. Heartfelt thanks to Carol and her entire staff for making our group feel at home again this year. They went out of their way to make sure we had what we needed to make our event a success. We will be back again!

    Ricky Y.

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