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Louisiana, Missouri
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22 posts
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I read someone reply about people being underdressed in flips flops and mini skirts, then read others who have full fledge hiking clothes on....just for someone who is going to be taking a day trip through the moutain trails, what are some of the things we should consider taking? Obviously comfortable shoes and clothes and water.

Also, my 12 year old daughter is concerned about bears, are there ranger stations set up on the trails or what precautions are taken to prevent bear/human "meetings"?

Cinn, OH
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1,514 posts
35 reviews
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1. Re: Hiking/bears

Hubby and I always just wear gym shoes and bring our walking sticks to help us over rocks (I feel a bit better about bears too). My son would scoff at gym shoes and say you must have hiking boots. We usually carry a water or have a back pack with snack and water in it. Some people say bring a whistle and blow it to warn the bears of your presence. Me, I can't be quiet for too long, going thru menopause, so I am usually asking DH if it is hot, or just me, so I think the bears know we are in their neck of the woods.

Baton Rouge...
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2. Re: Hiking/bears

Hi Jeeps!

If you're just going to do the easy trails tennis shoes will probably be fine. If you go on some of the more strenuous trails you'll want something that will support your ankles. Many of the tougher trails pass over areas full of loose rocks which can be tricky without hiking boots. You'll also need boots if you'll be hiking in inclement or icy weather. If you go in winter make sure your shoes are waterproof. I didn't and ended up with frostbite on my toes.


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28 reviews
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3. Re: Hiking/bears

We've hiked many of the trails throughout the Smokies over the years and have never met a bear. I've seen bears there but it has always been where there are a lot of tourists around with food....campgrounds, picnic areas mainly.

One of most beautiful hikes we took was to Andrew's Bald. The trail is pretty rough with rocks but it's definitely worth a bit of sweat. If you go in the summer be prepared for storms and sudden downpours.


Nashville, Tennessee
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373 posts
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4. Re: Hiking/bears

I have hiked all over the Smokies. Abram Falls is beautiful. There are so many trails to go on. I would go to the Sugarlands Nature Center and pick up some trail maps. They will tell you which is mild and which are more rough. Definitely wear comfortable clothes and shoes. As for bears I have seen bears off the trails. They have been close enough to get some really good pictures though. A forest ranger at Sugarlands was talking to a group of people one day and they were asking about the bears. He told them if they saw a bear to keep their eyes on the bear at all times and back away very slowly. He said if the bear starts toward them to make as much noise as you can but don't run. I have been told that if you don't bother them they will not bother you. People try to get to close to them and it scares them especially if there are young cubs nearby. They want to protect their babies.

Chickamauga, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Orlando, Walt Disney World
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5. Re: Hiking/bears

Hiking recommendations:

Comfortable, support shoes;

plenty of bottles of water (more than you even think you need);

walking sticks (yes, you'd be surprised how much they help).

Make plenty of noise with your voices as you are hiking trails and you won't have to worry about bears. Bears are afraid of the human voice in most instances, and if you are loud enough, they will hear you and leave the area before you get there.

Orange Beach
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455 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Hiking/bears

Ditto for the others - depending on the trail typically you can get by with a good pair or athletic shoes (no sandals or crocs - although my daughter did do Abrams Falls in flip flops - BIG MISTAKE - tried to tell her but she wouldn't listen to mom). Water is a must. If the trail is long, we typically each use one of the insultated bottle water containers and freeze the water before going. The strap allows us to easily carry the water. I also use a walking stick. I purchased one in the Arts and Craft area, but you can easily make one yourself. If you carry snacks make sure you have a zip lock along to dispose of your trash. Don't want the scent of food if you are trying to avoid bears. We have encountered bear in the past and like the others - the advice given to us by the rangers is to stay facing the bear, but slowly back away. If the bear stands or moves toward you wave your arms, jump, make lots of noise and if necessary pick up rocks, sticks, etc. to toss at the bear. Never play dead. Black bears are naturally scavengers so that appears to be easy prey. Black bear do not like confrontation. The larger and louder you appear scares the bear. I can tell you for certain that the louder the sound the more frightened the bear. My nephew and I encountered a bear up close and personal when he was in a downed pine bough. It was an unintentional encounter. We didn't see him and walked upon him within almost touching distance. My screech was enough to send him scurrying for cover. We kept our eye on the bear and slowly backed off. The bear then ignored us and he too began to amble off in the other direction. Keep in mind, I'm terrified of even the smallest dog. A Yorkie or Chihuahua can send me into a purple panic, but we kept our cool and acted just as the rangers and experts in the books we have read said and we came out unscathed. After a quick change of clothes, a nitro pill and a long pull on the closest alcoholic beverage I was good to go - jk

7. Re: Hiking/bears

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