Although the area is well-known for its many attractions, restaurants, and shops, the Smokies has received its fame through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are 800+ miles of trails to explore in the park, so lace up your boots and get ready for your hiker’s getaway in the Smokies!
Gearing Up for the Trails
Nantahala Outdoor Center Gatlinburg | 1138 Parkway | Gatlinburg
This 18,000-square-foot outdoor outfitter has everything you could need for a day (or weeks) on the trails. There is an entire 1,000 square feet of The North Face gear in The North Face Summit Shop, and top brands like Patagonia, Columbia, Mountain Hardware, Osprey, MSR, Chaco, Keen Footwear, Vasque, and Black Diamond Equipment are also carried at NOC.
Throughout the store, find the clothing, gear, and accessories you need for adult and kid hikers in a variety of price ranges. Grab backpacks, hiking poles, tents and sleeping bags, jackets, hiking boots, sandals, duffel bags, hydration packs, water bottles, dried foods, trail snacks, t-shirts, hiking socks, shorts and pants, and everything from lightweight clothing for summer days on the trails to heavy-duty gear for winter hiking.
Day Hiker | 634 Parkway #1 | Village Shoppes | Gatlinburg
Tucked among the European-style shops of The Village in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, Day Hiker is a cozy shop that packs a lot into a small space. It’s all about hiking in this 2-story shop, with hiking poles, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses, water bottles and hydration packs, backpacks, t-shirts, wooden hiking sticks, lightweight to heavy-duty hiking socks, hiking shoes and boots, water shoes, first-aid kits, picnic supplies, and so much more.
GSM Outfitters LLC | 3275 Wears Valley Rd | Sevierville
Michael and Heather Shepperd’s love for the outdoors and the mountains is what led them to open the local GSM Outfitters LLC. They carry top brands with the gear you need for a hiking getaway, from backpacks and shoes to clothing and beyond. Stop in to meet the local owners and pick up brands like Chacos, Buff, Columbia, Darn Tough, Eno, Exefficio, Grand Trunk Keen, Marmot, Gregory, Osprey, Patagonia, PrAna, Mountainsmith, Teva, and True Grit. Supports of Appalachian Bear Rescue and The Great Smoky Mountain Association, they’re also a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the Great Smoky Mountains!
Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains
With more than 800 miles of trails within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – across parts of Tennessee and North Carolina – there are plenty of opportunities for getting out and hiking in the Smokies. Here are just a few local favorites on your hiker’s getaway!
Boasting one of the best azalea displays in the world, the top of Gregory Bald brings hikers from across the world. Even outside of mid to late June, the views from this clearing are stunning, looking out at Cades Cove, Fontana Lake, and beyond.
Late spring boasts an awesome mountain laurel display, while other parts of the year offer views of North Carolina (on clear days) after a 5-mile hike. About 1.2 miles farther down the trail, you’ll have panoramic views from Rocky Top, looking out at Fontana Lake, Cades Cove, Townsend, Maryville, and more.
If you’ve considered hiking in the Smokies, you’re sure to have heard of the hike to Mt. LeConte. The Alum Cave Trail hike to Mt. LeConte is easily one of the more challenging hikes here, but it also offers some of the most diverse views along the way. Unique geological features, a cave, trees, wildlife, wildflowers, and more…it’s all there!
Although a shorter hike – just 1.7 miles – the hike to Andrews Bald is still challenging. The bald – an open, grassy spot – is a great place for a rest and some trail snacks or a picnic after the climb. Parts of the trail were renovated in 2008 with locust wood and native rock, and the trail offers some of the best views of the Smokies.
This 5.2-mile roundtrip hike takes you to a 20-foot waterfall that makes up in volume what it lacks in height. The water rushing over the rocks is quite a sight, but we caution hikers not to swim because the undertow and currents can be very dangerous.
Refueling for the Trails
After a long day hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll be ready to refuel and get some rest in your cozy cabin. There are dozens of restaurants to choose from, giving you plenty of options for filling up and refueling after a challenging hike. Need a few ideas? Check out:
Refueling after a hike also means getting the rest your body needs. We have hundreds of cabins to choose from, perfect for kicking up your feet and unwinding after a long day on the trails. Browse by amenity – mountain views, hot tubs, and more – or check out our 1-2 bedroom cabins that are great for a hiker’s getaway. Whether you’re here on your own or with a few friends, they have the amenities and space you’ll need to relax.