Hi there!

 

The hikes below on this list will focus on hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are among the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains that specifically come with great scenic mountain views.

 

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking and camping trip. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

 

This means if you want to see amazing mountain views in the Smoky Mountains, this list is for you! (If you are interested in waterfalls, there’s a different list for the best waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains.)

So, the thing about hiking for the mountain views…

The WEATHER matters! Of course, if it’s completely cloudy… you can’t see anything!

And, just because you started off the hiking trail being able to see blue sky, that doesn’t necessarily mean that up at the top there will be blue sky! (aka it may be nothing but clouds!)

 

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. smoky mountains weather. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

On a couple of occasions, I was 10-15 minutes away from the “destination” of a hike where you could (potentially) see the best mountain views, and there were people on the trail who said the clouds were rolling in but if you wait a few minutes it’ll clear up and you could see views.

But by the time I made it to the top, it was nothing but cloud cover!

So, the weather can change rather quickly in the mountains.

Or at least, there’s enough time (and elevation) for there to be a change in weather from the time (and spot) you started the hike to the time you get to the end point of your hike. (It’s best to always be prepared for rain and weather changes as part of your hiking essentials for the Smoky Mountains.)

And, I found the rainy and cloudy days to be the best time to do the waterfall hikes of the Smoky Mountains since your ability to see the waterfalls won’t matter if it’s sunny or cloudy. And in fact, there is likely to be more water flow (aka better looking waterfalls) after it rains.

So if there’s rain in the forecast during your Smoky Mountains vacation, you may consider waiting on the waterfall hikes until later on in your trip! (Although it’s important be cautious as wet trails and strong flowing rivers due to rain could also cause different problems so you may consider that risk.)

 

 

Now…

First, the quick list of the best day hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

Then, a little bit about the Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. (One of the iconic hiking trails in the United States.)

And then, a little bit about making it a hiking and camping trip in the Smoky Mountains!

Finally, a few extra pictures and videos from each of these great Smoky Mountains hiking trails!

 

 

5+ best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park when it’s your first trip to the Smokies

These are all out-and-back hikes. (You hike back the same path you took to get to your “destination” as opposed to a loop for example.)

 

1. Hike to Clingmans Dome

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: Clingmans Dome peak summit hike. clingman's dome trail. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
Among the most popular spots in the Smoky Mountains. This is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. You’ll hike the Clingman’s Dome Trail.

 

Share the Smoky Mountains hiking video with the people you’ll be traveling to the Smoky Mountains with!

 

 

2. Hike to the Alum Cave Bluffs

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: alum cave bluffs hike. Alum Cave Trail. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
Among the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. See unique geological rock formations, Arch Rock and Alum Cave Bluffs. You’ll hike the Alum Cave Trail.

 

 

3. Hike to the Mt LeConte summit

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: Mt LeConte peak summit hike. Trail to Mount LeConte. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
If you’re looking for THE day hike in the Smoky Mountains to do, the Mt LeConte hike can be it! This is the 3rd highest point in the Smoky Mountains. There are many trails that lead to the Mt LeConte summit. Once in the summit area you’ll want to hike to either Myrtle Point or Cliff Tops… or both! There is also a lodge where you can stay near the Mt LeConte summit.

 

 

4. Hike to Charlie’s Bunion

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: Charlie's bunion hike. appalachian trail. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
If you’re looking to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail as a day hike, then this can be it!

 

Share the Smoky Mountains hiking video!

 

 

5. Hike to Chimney Tops overlook

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: Chimney tops overlook hike. chimney tops trail. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
You’ll hike the Chimney Tops Trail.

 

 

6. Hike to Andrew’s Bald

Best hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views: andrews bald hike. Forney Ridge Trail. Smoky Mountains hiking. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog
This is a hike you can do from the Clingman’s Dome parking lot. You’ll hike the Forney Ridge Trail.

 

Share the Smoky Mountains hiking video!

 

 

No matter which hiking trails you choose, be sure to see the list of what to pack for hiking in Smoky Mountains!

 

 

Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. appalachian trail in the smoky mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

The Appalachian Trail is the famous hiking trail that passes through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The entire Appalachian Trail is 3,000+ miles long, stretching along the Appalachian mountain range from Georgia to Maine.

The Appalachian Trail goes through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Around 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail runs through the Smoky Mountains. Hiking the Appalachian Trail through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from one end to the other might take 5-7 days, but of course this depends on how many miles you are hiking each day. You can find backcountry campsites along the way. Permit required.

Hiking from the Georgia side, you’ll enter Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina at around mile marker 164 (near Fontana Dam). You’ll leave the national park at around mile marker 236 (Davenport Gap). Much of the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains weaves along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee.

There are many people who make shorter 2-3 day overnight backpacking trips in the Smoky Mountains hiking the Appalachian Trail. More info on backcountry camping in the Smoky Mountains.

 

 

Camping in the Smoky Mountains

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. hiking and camping trip in the smoky mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

 

Aside from the backcountry camping, there is also “frontcountry camping” in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the traditional type of camping where you can drive to your campsite.

There are 3 popular campgrounds in the Smoky Mountains:

There are toilets at each of these campgrounds with “modern” bathroom facilities (flush toilets and sinks with cold water). But campsites don’t have electricity, and there are NO showers anywhere within Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Aside from the 3 mentioned campgrounds, there are also smaller campgrounds scattered throughout the national park that are in slightly more isolated areas of the park if you are looking for a quieter experience, like the Cosby Campground.

These smaller campgrounds also tend to be a bit further away from the most popular attractions in the Smoky Mountains. In total, there are 10 campgrounds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

As you are planning your camping trip, be sure to take into consideration the elevation of your campground which among other things can affect night time temperatures that you’ll want to be prepared for.

Smoky Mountains campground elevation is generally from 1,500 to 2,500 ft, with one campground (Balsam Mountain) at 5,310 ft.

See more about planning a Smoky Mountains camping trip.

 

 

Download offline maps before you go!

Phone service as you are driving through the national park can be almost nonexistent. (However, you may be able to make a phone call when you reach the top of the mountain on your hike!)

So it will be helpful to download (free!) offline google maps of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the surrounding area before you go to help you navigate your way through the national park to the trailheads. GPS will generally work throughout the park. You can expect phone service and data in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other cities outside of the park.

 

 

⛰🐻

 

 

 

And now…

A little bit more about some of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains with VIEWS!

 

 

1. Hike to Clingman’s Dome

  • Starting point: Trailhead is at the end of Clingman’s Dome Road (off of Newfound Gap Road)
  • Hiking trail: Clingman’s Dome Trail
  • Hiking distance: 1 mile round trip

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome hike. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingman's Dome hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

This is a relatively short but steep paved trail to the highest point in the Smoky Mountains.

As you are driving on Newfound Gap Road, you’ll see a sign for the turn-off onto Clingman’s Dome Road.

Drive to the end of Clingman’s Dome Road and you will continue to drive higher and higher, and the road will also lead you to one of the most popular destinations in the Smoky Mountains. Depending on the weather, you may be above the clouds! The end of the road is a large parking lot where you will see sweeping views of the Smoky Mountains.

And from the parking lot you’ll see the trail that leads to the Clingman’s Dome summit and observation tower. You can then hike up further to the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! You can see sweeping mountain views all around you from the Clingman’s Dome observation tower.

 

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Start the Clingman's Dome hike from end of Clingman's Dome Road. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Start the Clingman's Dome hike from end of Clingman's Dome Road. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog
👆👆 Mountain views from the end of Clingman’s Dome Road, the starting point of the hike to the Clingman’s Dome summit.

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome summit hike to observation tower. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome summit hike to observation tower. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome summit hike to observation tower. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome summit hike to observation tower. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingmans Dome summit hike to observation tower. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

See more about this Great Smoky Mountains hike: Clingmans Dome hike

 

 

2. Hike to the Alum Cave Bluffs

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

This is one of the most popular hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can hike the Alum Cave Trail to see the unique rock formations of Arch Rock and Alum Cave Bluffs. Part of the trail goes right along a creek. 

You can hike the Alum Cave Trail to Arch Rock and back, to Alum Cave Bluffs and back, or to the Mount LeConte summit and back (next on the list). The cave bluffs are a common turnaround point.

 

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. Arch rock hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. Arch rock hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. Arch rock hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs Trail. inspiration point. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Alum Cave Bluffs hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

 

Alum Cave Bluffs hike: See more about this Great Smoky Mountains hike.

 

 

3. Hike to the Mt LeConte summit

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte summit hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

If you’re looking for just one day hike in the Smoky Mountains to do, this can be it! This is said to be the 3rd highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There are several trails that lead to the Mt LeConte summit, so you can take your pick.

Hiking trails to get to the Mt LeConte summit include:

  • Alum Cave Trail (11+ miles round trip and you’ll pass Arch Rock and Alum Cave Bluffs)
  • Rainbow Falls Trail (around 14 miles round trip and you’ll pass Rainbow Falls)
  • Trillium Gap Trail (around 14 miles round trip and you’ll pass Grotto Falls)
  • Appalachian Trail + Boulevard Trail from Newfound Gap (15+ miles round trip)

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Rainbow Falls Trail to Mount LeConte summit. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog
👆 Rainbow Falls

 

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Grotto Falls, Trillium Gap Trail to Mount LeConte summit. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog
👆 Grotto Falls

 

Once in the Mt LeConte summit area, you can hike the Myrtle Point Trail or the Cliff Tops Trail to get some more amazing views of the Smoky Mountains. Each of these trails are around a half mile round trip off of the main trail, so it could add on an extra 1-2+ miles of hiking.

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Mount LeConte summit to Myrtle Point. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Mount LeConte summit to Myrtle Point. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog
👆👆 Myrtle Point

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Mount LeConte summit to Cliff Tops. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog
👆 Cliff Tops

 

Another thing you may consider alongside your Mt LeConte hike is to stay at the LeConte Lodge. This is located near the summit. Depending on the weather, you might be sleeping above the clouds! 

 

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Mt LeConte hike. Hike to LeConte lodge near summit. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

This is a hike-in hike-out lodge! The only way to get to it is to hike to it! Book sooner rather than later, as it’s in high demand. They list last-minute cancellations on their twitter account.

The cost of LeConte Lodge rooms per night start at around $175 per person and $350 for 2 people, with dinner and breakfast included. The 2021 season dates are from March 22 to November 23.

 

Mount LeConte hike: See more about this Great Smoky Mountains hike.

 

 

4. Hike to Charlie’s Bunion

  • Starting point: Trailhead is off of Newfound Gap Road, at the Newfound Gap overlook
  • Hiking trail: Appalachian Trail
  • Hiking distance: 8 miles round trip

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Appalachian Trail to charlie's bunion. The Charlie's Bunion hike. Tennessee TN, North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

If you want the experience of hiking on the Appalachian Trail, then one portion of the trail you may consider is the Appalachian Trail to Charlie’s Bunion! There are many access points for the Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains.

For the Charlie’s Bunion hike, you’ll start from the Newfound Gap overlook where there is a big parking lot along with great views of the Smoky Mountains without even hiking on the trail.

 

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Start the Charlies Bunion hike from Newfound Gap overlook. Appalachian Trail. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog
👆 Mountain views from the Newfound Gap parking lot, the starting point of the hike to Charlie’s Bunion.

 

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Moutnains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Moutnains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Moutnains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Appalachian Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Charlies Bunion hike. Appalachian Trail in the Smoky Mountains. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

 

5. Hike to Chimney Tops overlook

  • Starting point: Trailhead is off of Newfound Gap Road
  • Hiking trail: Chimney Tops Trail
  • Hiking distance: 3.5 miles round trip

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Chimney Tops overlook. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops Trail to chimney tops overlook. The Chimney Tops hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

This trailhead is directly on Newfound Gap Road. This is a hiking trail UP to the Chimney Tops overlook. You’ll make some stream crossings by walking across a bridge, and there are some spots where you can get up close and personal with the stream.

It used to be possible to hike all the way to the landmark called Chimney Tops, but because of a wildfire it’s no longer deemed safe to hike all the way there. Instead, the destination is the overlook.

 

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Chimney Tops overlook. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Chimney Tops overlook. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Chimney Tops hike. Chimney Tops overlook. Tennessee TN. smokies travel blog

 

 

6. Hike to Andrew’s Bald

  • Starting point: Trailhead is at the end of Clingman’s Dome Road (off of Newfound Gap Road)
  • Hiking trail: Forney Ridge Trail
  • Hiking distance: 3.6 miles round trip

Best hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald. The Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

After you’ve finished hiking to the Clingman’s Dome tower, you can add on another hike that comes with views of the Smoky Mountains.

This hike starts from the Clingman’s Dome parking lot.

The trail can be particularly rocky in parts, so it could be helpful to wear shoes with thicker soles. (See more about the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains!)

Pack a light picnic lunch, and you can eat in an open field with mountain views!

 

Hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald hike. North Carolina NC. smokies travel blog

 

See more about this Great Smoky Mountains hike: Andrews Bald hike

 

 

And that’s a bit about hiking in the Smoky Mountains!

 

Be sure to also see:

 

HAPPY HIKING IN GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK!

 

Best day hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with scenic views. Smoky Mountains hiking and camping trip. Tennessee TN. North Carolina NC. Day trip from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville. Day trip from Asheville NC. smokies travel blog

 

 

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Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains

You will want good shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.

In general, the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains will be hiking boots (more ideal) or trail running shoes (more versatile for everyday activities compared to hiking boots but still will give you advantages compared to regular shoes).

I liked wearing my hiking boots for the thicker soles (good on rocky trails) and the waterproof (water resistant) nature of them.

They were especially helpful on rainy day hikes to keep my shoes (and socks!) dry! They are also better to be walking on mud compared to regular shoes.

On rougher terrain (like the trails that are a bit rougher with more rocks), hiking boots are more ideal so you won't feel it on the bottoms of your feet as much.

If you want shoes that can work out better as everyday "out and about" kind of shoes, then you might like trail running shoes better! Trail running shoes are a little more durable than regular shoes, so they can also work out as good hiking shoes. Trail running shoes are a bit lighter weight and less bulky compared to hiking boots.

Shoe fit is very important for your feet! Be sure to break in your new shoes by walking around the neighborhood and/or at the grocery store before you go on your "big hike" in the Smoky Mountains!

Shop for hiking boots: Merrell is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for hiking

Shop for trail running shoes: Salomon is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for trail running