What to Bring on a Day Hike in the Great Smoky Mountains

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are over 150 official trails on the national park map, so no matter if you’ve never been hiking before or hiking is your hobby, you’ll find a trail that will work for you! In order to stay safe on a short day hike or an overnight trip, we want to share some of the things you should have with you out on the trails. Keep reading to learn what to bring on a day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains:


backpack camera canteenOne of the most important items to bring with you on a hike is a backpack. You could use any type of bag, but a backpack will keep your hands free, and it is easy to carry. You’ll want to place the rest of the items on this list in your backpack for simple carrying.


It doesn’t matter if you’re going on a short hike or a long hike, you should pack some kind of food. You may find yourself starving by the end of the trail, and there aren’t any gas stations within the national park where you can grab a snack. Some of the best things to bring include protein bars, granola, and beef jerky.


woman drinking waterIn addition to snacks, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of water with you. The best thing to keep water in is a reusable bottle that is lightweight. Experts say you should carry 0.5 liter of water for every hour of the hike. You don’t want to be without water on any hiking trail.


If you are wondering what to bring on a day hike in the Smokies, you should definitely have some sort of map or GPS. You could even bring both to be extra careful! Even if you follow the path, sometimes you can get turned around, so bringing a map with you is important.

Weather Appropriate Clothing

clothes for hikingDid you know you can hike any time of the year in the Great Smoky Mountains? You’ll have a great time exploring no matter when you decide to visit, but you will want to think about what type of clothes to bring for hiking. If you’re here when the weather is warm, you’ll want to wear cool clothes that dry quickly. For cooler months, you’ll want to bring layers of clothes to stay warm. Of course, you want appropriate shoes that will protect your feet as well!

First Aid Kit

Another important item you will want to bring with you on a hike is a first aid kit. You can carry a small one in your backpack with basic essentials, like bandaids and alcohol wipes. You never know what might happen while you’re out on the trail, so you will want to be as prepared as possible!

Sun Protection

person putting on sunscreenEven if the weather forecast says it will be cloudy the day you decide to hike, you should bring some sort of sun protection. You should always wear sunscreen when you are outside to protect your skin. If you’re really sensitive to the sun, you should also think about bringing a hat, and you may want to wear sunglasses as you hike.

Now you know what to bring on a day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. You’ll love exploring in the national park, but maybe you’re trying to decide what else you want to do when you stay with us. Look through these other Smoky Mountain attractions for some ideas!