There is just something about hiking during the winter months that turns ordinary hiking trails into an adrenaline rush adventure. Everything changes. Familiar scenery and recognizable landmarks turn into strangely-shaped items covered by winter’s blanket of white. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains gives one an exhilarating experience among frozen waterfalls and pristine snow-covered forests. Visitors often make their way to this part of the country and lodge in a cabin in Gatlinburg in preparation for their excursion into this winter wonderland on foot.
Some of the best winter hiking trails anywhere are found here. Laurel Falls is a cascading waterfall that drops 85 feet, and its paved hiking trail is a little over a mile long. For those who feel up to it, an additional three miles of unpaved trail give hardy hikers the extra thrill they love. Rainbow Falls sprays an icy mist into the air during winter months that turns the area into a glistening landscape. The hiking trail here is over five miles round trip, and it would probably be gauged as moderately difficult.
Anyone who chooses to hike in the Smoky Mountains in the winter should become familiar with the special hiking tips that apply to cold weather adventures. An absolute must is to notify someone else of your plans and all of your trip details. The information should include the route you plan to take and the times you intend to depart and return from the hike. In case of an emergency or if you get lost, this vital knowledge could mean the difference between life and death. Finding a winter hiker in the quickest time possible is crucial.
Because weather conditions can drastically change so rapidly in the mountains, it is extremely important that one pays very close attention to the weather at all times. No one should cross a stream that is swollen. Without warning, a flash flood can occur and be deadly. Additionally, it can be very tempting to leave the marked trails when adventure calls. The risk, however, is not worth the danger of getting lost. Even a person who has never been lost can find himself disoriented in the vast whiteness produced by a snowfall.
The beauty of nature to be discovered during a winter hike can’t be experienced at any other time of the year. With a bit of preparation and a sense of adventure, the thrill is on.