[caption id="attachment_1974" align="alignleft" width="300"]Hiking in Gatlinburg Hiking in Gatlinburg[/caption]

While Gatlinburg offers many outdoor activities to try, some call for a bit of bravery or experience. Walking is an activity that most everyone can enjoy. Walking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be slippery, steep and strewn with obstacles (however there are some less steep and paved areas, such as the Cades Cove Loop Road, that allow people to walk without dealing with rocks, tree roots, and mud).

Thousands of people every year sally forth on the park's trails on their own and enjoy their experience. This blog will acquaint you with the advantages of walking with a professional hiking guide. You might at first think that hiring a guide is an unnecessary expense, but once you discover all that a guide can offer, you may just find yourself picking up the phone or computer to book a guided hiking trip.

Guided walking tours through Great Smoky Mountains National Park can ensure you see the most intriguing plants and animals that the park is known for. You can choose shorter walks or more extensive hikes; some of them last for hours; and others are actually overnight or extended trips of several days. Since Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the United States, there can be crowds at various times. A guided walk (especially some of the themed walks that guide companies offer) will at times have you go where few or no other people are. You can discuss this with your guide, if you like a more secluded hike.

One of the best reasons to hire a hiking guide is you're sure to have a memorable experience. The hike is planned for you. If you were to hike the same ground alone, it is very possible you would miss a number of features, such as various unusual plants and animals, not to mention the historical commentary that most guides will include as they take you over the trail. For example, did you know that the park has a unique nickname, 'Salamander National Park', due to the great variety of salamanders that live there? These are the types of interesting facts a guide will tell you about.

Another great reason to employ a hiking guide is that they will expertly match you and your group with the perfect hike. All you have to do is tell them what kind of adventure you are looking for. Some people just want to enjoy a short hike and others look forward to hiking deep into the park and then spending the night camping. A short discussion with a guide can help him or her understand your needs so he or she can plan the best hike for you.

Have you gone on a guided nature walk in Gatlinburg? Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!