The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for our area starting January 2 at 10:00pm through January 3 mid-day. Conditions could be hazardous so plan ahead and stay safe. Learn more here.

Know before you go: Seven Winter Hiking Tips


Know before you go: Seven Winter Hiking Tips

Winter hiking in Haywood County is an absolute blast! The great outdoors is yours to explore, even when the temperature drops. But hey, let’s not forget to stay safe and have a ton of fun while we’re at it. So, here are seven tips to make your winter hiking adventures in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains absolutely epic!

1.First things first, make sure to tell someone your hiking plans. You never know what kind of crazy winter weather you might encounter, so it’s always good to have a backup plan. Plus, it’s nice to know that someone has your back and will call for help if you don’t show up at the designated time. We want you back safe and sound, no matter what!

2. Watch out for those sneaky icy spots on the trails, especially around foot bridges. They can be as treacherous as black ice on the roads, so keep your eyes peeled. That dark spot on a rock might look innocent, but it could actually be a slippery sheet of ice just waiting to send you sliding. And let’s not forget about those rocks near creeks and waterfalls. They’re like the hiking version of a ninja! The water spray can freeze and turn those rocks into a winter wonderland of slipperiness. So, avoid them like the plague!

3. Fresh snow? Oh, how magical! But wait, it can also make the trail disappear like a magician’s trick. Everything looks the same when covered in a fluffy white blanket, so be careful not to get lost. Losing the trail is no fun, trust us. So, keep your eyes open and stay on track. We don’t want you wandering off into Narnia or anything.

4. Time is of the essence, my adventurous friend. The winter sun sets earlier than you might think, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to your car before it gets dark. Dusk can creep up on you faster than a ninja in the night. And hey, depending on where you’re visiting from, sunset in Haywood County might be earlier than you’re used to. So, keep an eye on that clock and don’t get caught in the dark!

5. Now, let’s talk about safety gear. You definitely want to pack an emergency thermal blanket in your backpack. They’re like little superheroes that keep you warm and cozy if things go south. And hey, they’re lightweight and won’t take up much space, so no excuses! Oh, and don’t forget a lighter for those survival instincts, but let’s be real, building a fire from sticks and branches is not everyone’s cup of tea. So, do yourself a favor and grab a pack of fire starters from Mast General Store in downtown Waynesville or Carolina Readiness Supply. Trust us, you’ll thank us later.

6. Maps and compasses are like the Batman and Robin of hiking. They’re great to have, but only if you know how to use them. So, if you’re new to the hiking game, start with one of our easier trails. No shame in that! We all have to start somewhere, right? Plus, with the stunning mountain views and breathtaking ice formations, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

7. Last but not least, let’s talk about your trusty cell phone. Don’t forget to charge it up before hitting the trails! The cold weather can zap the battery faster than you can say “winter wonderland.” And here’s a pro tip: switch your phone to airplane mode or turn it off when you’re not using it. Trust us, your battery will thank you. If you’re in need of a signal, head to higher ground. It’s like a secret cheat code for finding service. But hey, stay on the trail if you can. It makes it easier for those awesome search crews to find you if they need to.

So there you have it, fellow adventurers! With these tips in your back pocket, you’re ready to conquer the winter hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains near mountain towns, Waynesville and Maggie Valley, NC. Now get out there, have a blast, and create some incredible winter hiking memories!

Once you feel prepared to hit the woods, check out The Seven Wonders of Winter Hiking for the inside track on the best winter hikes in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains of Haywood County.

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