On Your Side: Hiking trail must-haves and licensed guide tips for GSMNP trails

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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Temperatures are dropping, trees are taking on fall colors, and hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is still a must-see adventure in East Tennessee.

With the changing seasons, come important reminders for safety on the trails. Even planned day-hikers should come prepared for any scenario, which means bringing a must-have bag of items.

For starters: water.

Steve Ellis owns Hike the Smokys an outdoor guide company offering services from hiking, to kayaking, to camping.

Ellis says the mistake he sees most often is hikers not fully preparing or even, recognizing the level of difficulty on a particular trail.

“A lot of people show up on the trail with these preconceived ideas, or maybe, no idea at all,” said Ellis.

Tips for Hikers

  • Bring water or a water filter
  • Bring food, regardless of whether or not you believe you will need it.
  • Bring a trash bag, these can be used in the event of an emergency to keep warm or dry.
  • Wear the proper hiking shoes, closed toe.
  • Bring a map, don’t just rely on GPS or phone service.
  • Tell someone your itinerary for the day, including planned start and end time for the hike.

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