The beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains draws folks to Pigeon Forge all year long – not just when the weather is fair. Winter weather turns the mountains and hills around Pigeon Forge into a veritable wonderland and winter hikes in the Smokies are a perfect way to experience all the beauty the region has to offer this time of year. Ready to plan your cold weather adventure? Here are four winter hikes you can enjoy in the Great Smoky Mountains during your next Pigeon Forge vacation.
The Laurel Falls trail is only 2.6 miles round-trip and paved, but can be steep in parts. Wet weather and ice can make the trail slippery, so caution is advised during winter weather hikes. *TIP: It takes about two hours to hike to the waterfall and back. Plan on spending more time on the trail if you plan to stop for photos: You’ll find many Instagram-worthy photo ops along the trail.>
It’s a 1.8 mile hike to Andrews Bald, with 1,200 feet in elevation changes. *TIP: Want to make your hike memorable? Before you head out, fill a Thermos with hot chocolate and stash it in your backpack. Sharing a few sips with a loved one as you take in the views at Andrews Bald will likely make the experience even sweeter.
You will experience an elevation change of 1,200 feet as you hike to Alum Cave Bluffs, making a steep trail and challenging terrain. Additionally, the trail follows the edge of a ridge in sections. Make sure you’re wearing rugged shoes and are ready for a climb before you set off!
The first mile of Porters Creek Trail is actually an old gravel road, so it is wide and easy to travel. After this, the trail turns into a dirt footpath. Fern Branch Falls are about two miles down the path and drop off on the left side of the trail. Porters Creek with also take you through the Elbert Cantrell farmstead, which was settled around the turn of the century – giving you the perfect opportunity for a history lesson as you take in the woodland mountain scenery. *TIP: Remember to dress for the elements when you’re heading out for a winter hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. Keep in mind that a hat is a hiker’s thermostat and is an essential part of your cold-weather outdoor gear. Dressing in layers will also help you stay warm, and always remember to make your base layer a moisture-wicking garment. Winter hikes let you see a different side of the Smokies and give you an opportunity to explore and make lasting mountain memories. Make a winter hike in the Great Smoky Mountains part of your next Pigeon Forge vacation.