One of the most common questions I get asked is "What is there to do in the national park that's in close proximity to Gattlinburg, Tennessee?" My favorite answer is "Roaring For Motor Nature Trail."
This is a place you can take a beautiful auto tour that's almost like a hike in your car. Turn the radio off, roll the windows down and enjoy the scenic drive through the woods past historic farms and other trailheads.
If the a little bit of Great Smoky Mountains National Park history with a nice easy hike and not too many other people is your cup of tea, then the Old Sugarlands Trail could not come more highly recommended. Located directly across from the park headquarters on Newfound Gap Road, this small treasure is almost hidden in plain sight. Just park in the small pull-off on the side of the road.
This is a remarkably easy trail to complete. It is slightly less than four miles to the cemetery and back, and has only a few short stretches of mild incline.
In my mind there's no better way to start spring than with a hike to Mt. LeConte. And there is no better route than Alum Cave Trail. Easily one of the most popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Alum Cave Trail features some of the most spectacular views available in the park. Be prepared for a challenging uphill journey, but rest assured that the finish line is extremely worthwhile.
If your plans include this trail, be sure to arrive early, especially if you intend to do the complete 10-mile round trip to the top and back. This trail is extremely popular, so arriving early is essential to getting a place to park. I began Sunday at 8:00 am and even at that hour there were fewer than a dozen parking spaces available.
Have you ever wondered what exactly it is that makes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so amazing? Is it the rich history of the generations of people that made this place home and built their thriving communities here? What about the incredibly diverse web of life that supports one of the richest and most biodiverse ecosystems in the world? Or what the geology that makes it so unique? And of course there’s the hundreds of miles of beautiful trails that meander across multiple climates within only a few miles.
At our new YouTube channel, launching this spring, we aim to answer those question in both depth and detail to help you not only better plan your next trip, but to enrich the overall experience.
Back in may of 2000, The Day Hiker was founded to provide visitors of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a convenient way to purchase inexpensive hiking gear. We understood that the vast majority of visitors were not there to long backpacking trips, but were instead interested in spending a day on the trails and returning to their hotel or cabin.
I always loved hiking and playing in the woods as a kid. Family vacations were always camping trips that, to me, were more exciting than any beach or amusement park.
After high school, I joined the U.S. Army as an infantryman thinking it was a job that included hiking and camping with pay. My last assignment was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and my family and I made numerous trips to the Smokies from there. It quickly became our favorite place to visit.