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Family day hikes

Washington, DC
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Family day hikes

We are spending four days in early April right outside the Smokies' entrance (Sevierville) and plan to do several hikes. Kids are 9 and 11. We'll do easy to moderately strenuous with no hike being longer than 6-8 hours. I'm wondering if anyone has advice on gear, especially footwear. Are sneakers ok, or should we spring for hiking boots? Also, any other guidance (such as good hikes, etc) would be appreciated!

Melissa

Williamsburg...
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1. Re: Family day hikes

I Live in the Area and have gone on many Day Hikes here. I think my Favorite Day Hike was one, which I actually paid a Guide to take me through, although, I could have done it Myself. It is the Porters Creek Trail, off Highway 321. The Highway is right in Gatlinburg. The Trail is not Crowded and very Pretty. If You go far enough in, You will see an Old Homeplace, a Barn and and an Old Graveyard.

The Trail is Rated, Moderate, but I am 60 Years Old and did it fine. Check out the Smoky Mountain Website for Day Trips. Enjoy Your time here! It's such a Beautiful place.

Shoes - I wore Tennis Shoes on this Hike and that was fine. If it's been Raining alot, maybe the Hiking Shoes or some Old Tennies.

Chillicothe, Ohio
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for Ohio, Sandusky
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2. Re: Family day hikes

i think if you spring for hiking shoes/boots this late in the game, you might regreat it. you wont have enough time to break them in, and you could end up with a very painful day.

i have always hiked in sturdy, mid height cross trainers (tennis shoes), or my Keen brand sandals.

Williamsburg...
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3. Re: Family day hikes

I agree with " Irish Lake " unless Your doing the

Backcountry, Tennis Shoes should be fine. Broke in ones, a Pair that You don't care if they get Dirty.

Washington, DC
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4. Re: Family day hikes

Thank you so much - that is great info. I'm happy to know we can get away with the tennies:)

I'm very much hoping to see some wildflowers as well. One more question: what sort of wildlife might we see in early April and at what time of day?

Washington, DC
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5. Re: Family day hikes

Great - that's good to know. Plus not having to buy new shoes is a plus:)

Boston...
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6. Re: Family day hikes

Melissa: First, welcome to the TripAdvisor forums and (most importantly) the Great Smoky Mountains Forum. :)

I think sturdy tennis shoes are appropriate for most trails. I'm sixteen and that's all I usually wear even though I have worn-in hiking boots. (Bought for an expedition up Cerro Chirripo.)

As a note (I don't know how familiar you are with the area), Sevierville is not "right outside the Smokies' entrance". Rather, it's about thirty minutes from there to Sugarlands Visitor Center not counting red lights and traffic down the ugly, sprawled Pigeon Forge strip. If the main point of your four days is the national park I'd consider a more convenient location.

Six to eight hours opens up your options to pretty much all the major day hikes in the national park. (I highly recommend paying the dollar plus shipping for a Smokies trail map or going all out and getting the whole into package. See the Great Smoky Mountain Association's web site.)

Major day hikes within, say, thirty minutes of Sugarlands include all five ways up Mt. LeConte (Alum Cave, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, AT/Boulevard, and Bullhead), Chimney Tops (half hike), Charlie's Bunion, Brushy Mountain, Ramsey Cascades, and Albright Grove. I personally would go on Charlie's Bunion, Chimney Tops, Ramsey Cascades, and Albright Grove.

Kristian

Kristian

Boston...
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7. Re: Family day hikes

"What sort of wildlife might we see in early April and at what time of day?" You -may- see some bears, though more likely deer, yard rats, turkeys, and birds (depending on where you go). To see elk you'll want to work in an excursion to Oconaluftee or Cataloochee.

For wildflowers, check out this web page: nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/wildflowers.htm

I hear that the Porter's Creek Trail along with Kantani Fork is great for wildflowers. There's a purchasable pamphlet that shows all the best wildflower trails. Also, don't miss Cove Hardwood Nature Trail (it starts out of Chimneys Picnic Area).

Washington, DC
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8. Re: Family day hikes

Hi Bluecuzco - Thanks a million for your advice. We are staying at Wildflower cabins and so will factor in commuting time to our days in the park. I will follow your guidance on day hikes. They sound great. Do you know anything about the old settlement (sorry - forgetting the name, want to say Helmsley-) at the top of a mountain?

Boston...
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9. Re: Family day hikes

No, I don't know of any settlements on top of mountains; all the ones that I know of were rural farm communities and logging settlements in the valleys.

Mississippi
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10. Re: Family day hikes

About footwear, when I hike my main concerns are slippage, ankle support and comfort. I don't hike in tennis shoes because of several injuries in the past,(not hiking related) and I need pretty good ankle support, so I wear light weight boots.

The enemy many people do not consider is moisture. The remedy is a wool blend pair of socks that "wick" away sweat, greatly reducing friction and the chance of blisters. I refuse to hike in cotton socks.