The winter chill is in the air, and thousands have vowed to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and enjoy the great outdoors more while getting more exercise. There’s no better place to do this than in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the picturesque towns that surround it. From walking and window-shopping to hiking over hill and dale, there’s plenty to see and do while fulfilling your resolutions.
The shopping centers in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg provide ample opportunity to walk for exercise while also getting in a bit of window-shopping. From the Tanger Outlets in Sevierville, to the Pigeon Forge Factory Outlet Mall to the outdoor malls of Gatlinburg, those windows won’t shop themselves. Enjoy a brisk stroll along the cobbled stones or smooth paved sidewalks, enjoying the view and keeping abreast of current trends.
If more vigorous exercise is on your mind, having the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in your backyard is quite handy. From paved walking trails to intense hikes, there’s a hike for every skill level. Different hiking trails require different skill levels. From short, easy hikes to longer and more physically demanding excursions, try working your way up as the year progresses. Always check the National Parks Service website for updates on weather conditions and road closures that may affect your hike.
There are some extra guidelines for winter hiking versus summer hiking. While hiking in the winter, bear in mind that snow isn’t the only winter precipitation. Although winter hiking is popular and the trails are often clearly visible, ice can accumulate and create issues. If you’re planning on hiking at high elevations, purchasing ice crampons for your shoes is recommended. Snowy roads may be closed, restricting access to the trails you were planning on exploring. High precipitation of any variety can swell streams and creeks, preventing you from crossing them. Dressing in layers allows you to stay comfortable while hiking and decreases the likelihood of hypothermia. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and that someone always knows where you’re hiking and when you plan to return.
The benefits of hiking in the winter include incredible panoramic views, snow-dusted vistas, frozen waterfalls and less traffic. Some recommended trails are Alum Cave, Andrews Bald and Porter’s Creek. Porters Creek, part of the Greenbrier trail and just six miles from Gatlinburg, provides great lower-elevation hiking access during the winter when higher elevation roads could be closed.
If you don’t already live near these wonderful places, the Terrell Team can guide you to your ideal home. From real estate listings in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg, the Smoky Mountains region truly has something for everyone. With distressed homes for the bargain hunters or a quiet cabin tucked in the woods, there are plenty of options for you to choose from.