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Great Smoky Mountains Packing List

Great Smoky Mountains Packing List

Looking for the ultimate Grand Smoky Mountains packing list? In this guide we tell you what to wear in Grand Smoky Mountains National Park in Summer, Winter, Spring or Fall?

Note: this packing list is not intended as a camping packing list, but instead for those in lodges and hotels who spend their days in the park. If you plan to camp in the national park check out this post.

Weather in Grand Smoky National Park

View of Great Smoky Mountains from deck
Great SMoky Mountain National Park Packing List

But before we get into what to wear and travel essentials for Grand Smoky MountainsNational Park in summer, spring, winter or Fall it is important to know what the weather is going to be like.

Great smoky national park is located on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee with many people choosing to base themselves out of Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg.

One of the great things about Great Smoky MountainsNP is that it is pretty mild year round so there is a lot of overlap on the seasonal packing list.

Generally speaking July and August are the hottest months to visit Great Smoky NP with average high temperatures around 25°C or 77°F. Therefore it is important to pack lots of natural fabrics such as cottons and convertible walking trousers for long days in the park.

While in Spring, Fall and Winter you will need slightly more layers than summer but there is a long of overlap on the packing lists as even in the coldest month of January the average high is still at 6C.

What to wear in Great Smoky NP

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Woman sat on log in Great Smoky national park
Great Smoky Mountain Packing List

So now you know about the weather, we will tell you what to wear in Grand Teton year round. Traditionally when we create packing lists we normally separate them our by gender to allow for dress codes.

However, for Great Smoky our packing list is universal. That is because practicality is key to any national park packing list. Therefore we recommend all visitors to Great Smoky pack:


Although the temperatures in Great Smokyin Summer are high, we still recommend adding some layers onto your packing list. We always recommend getting early starts in national parks in summer and Great Smoky is no different.

We think the best top layer for Great Smoky is a microfiber lightweight fleece. It is warm and insulating but will also pack away easily into your day pack when you aren’t using it.

Note: for cold winters you may want to add one extra layer to your packing list to allow for the lower temperatures.

T Shirts

T shirts are my favorite base layer for Great Smoky no matter when you are visiting. In June, July, August or September we recommend packing mainly short sleeve tees and tank tops. However in Winter and the shoulder season we recommend packing a mix of long and short tees.

Athleisure t shirts and wear are another great layer.

Convertible Walking Trousers

Any trip to Great Smoky national park involves a lot of walking, hiking and outdoor time so we recommend packing proper hiking trousers. For summer and warmer shoulder season we recommend convertible walking trousers are best as you can wear them as shorts for walking in the afternoons.

However for Winter you may want to consider fleece lined hiking pants.


The sun can be strong in Great Smoky so we recommend having a hat with a wide brim or a baseball cap to protect your eyes.

A net can also be useful when mosquitos are at their worst in summer.

But in Winter, you may want a beanie.


There are some amazing swimming spots in Great Smoky, the most famous properly being Midnight Hole.

If you plan on doing some wild swimming (in designated areas only) you will want some swimwear with you.

Rain Jacket

The Smokies can be pretty rainy with on average 10 days of rain per month. For that reason we recommend packing a compact waterproof no matter when you are traveling.

Hiking Socks

If you plan on wearing hiking boots in the park then you will also need hiking socks. If you just plan on wearking sneakers then sneaker socks may be more appropriate.

Winter Jacket

If you are traveling in December, January or FEbruary then you wi.l want to pack a thicker coat with you and possible some winter accessories such as hat, scarf and gloves.

Best Shoes to wear in Great Smoky

So now you know what to wear, we turn our attention to footwear.

Hiking Shoes

No matter the national park I am traveling to I always take hiking boots with me. Now if you plan on doing only a little hiking and sticking to more maintained walkways these might not be necessary. However I like to have them with me whenever I visit a national park so I can do whatever trails I like.


Sneakers are the best comfortable walking shoes for any vacation but for national parks they are useful in towns and and boardwalks.

Hiking Sandals

In hotter weather hiking sandals are a good pick for Great Smoky National Park.

What to pack for Great Smoky – travel essentials

woman sat looking at waterfall in Great Smoky national park
Great Smoky Mountain Packing List

Day pack with rain cover

Any day we spend in a national park we take and pack a day pack. My favorite backpack brand is Columbia but this is a purely personal choice.

And as the Smokys are quite rainy we recommend packing a waterproof cover.

Power Bank

Days are long in Great Smoky and reception is sporadic at best. For this reason we recommend having a fully charged power bank with you to recharge your phone during the day.

Sun protection

The sun can be strong in Great Smoky so be sure to have lots of sun protection with a high SPF with you.

Bug Spray / Insect Repellant

The mosquitos are pretty fierce in Great Smoky in summer and the shoulder seasons so be sure to pack plenty of bug spray and insect repellant.


Again the sun is strong so sunglasses are an essential.


Although the Smokies aren’t as renowned for its wildlife as say Yellowstone, the wildlife is still impressive with species such as red and gray squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, red and gray foxes, skunks, and bats all being in the park. So if you want to see the wildlife that the park has on offer we recommend travelling with a pair of binoculars.

Reusable Water Bottle and Extra Water

We recommend always having a reusable water bottle and extra water with you for any national park visit especially in Summer.

Coffee Thermos and Mug

Your days start early in Great Smoky Mountain NP NP therefore a coffee thermos and mug is absolutely a must pack so I can be caffeinated at the start of the day.


Although there are food vendors in Great Smoky Mountain NP, the places to stop and grab snacks are few and far between so be sure to pack ample snacks, food and drinks.

Cooler and food containers

As the temperatures are hot and you will be taking food into the park so you will want a cooler and food containers with you.

First Aid Kit

Although no one wants to use a first aid kit on vacation, it is a good idea to pack a first aid kit with you on any national park vacation just in case especially if you plan on going on more remote hikes..


Whether this is a downloaded map on your phone or a physical one it is worth having a map with you that shows the trailheads you plan on taking.

mmend packing bear spray and keeping abreast of any warnings and ranger advice when in the park.


A camera is a necessity for any visitor to Grand Teton.

Toilet Paper, Hand Sanitizer and a She wee

The toilets in Great Smoky Mountain NP outside of the main visitor centre are pretty primitive. For this reason, we recommend packing toilet paper, hand sanitizer and a she wee with you.

What not to pack for Great Smoky Mountain NP National Park

View of smokies in Gatlinburg
what to wear in Great SMoky Mountain NP

So now you know what to pack for Great Smoky Mountain NP, we will turn our attention to what not to pack.


Drones are classified as unmanned aircrafts and are as such prohibited from being flown in the park boundaries.

Further National Park Reading