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Springtime in the Smokies is an unstable time for both temperature and precipitation. It can be sunny and mild one day – then snow the next. Backcountry hikers should be prepared and dress in layers–certainly take cold-weather clothing. By mid-April, the weather has stabilized (see the chart above).
By mid-June it will be hot and humid. Drink plenty of fluids. If hiking, carry water with you – do not drink from streams, no matter how fresh and clear it appears. Afternoons are often accompanied by thunderstorms. Temperature drops combined with altitude can mean a 10-degree difference in temperature, so it would even be a good idea to have a wool sweater along.
By September, the days are mild and the nights cool and crisp. Light snows can occur at higher elevations. However, it’s these very cool nights that change the chemistry in deciduous foliage to create autumn’s color extravaganza!
Winters are relatively mild in the Smokies, but winter days are subject to change dramatically. One day can be spring-like, while the next might bring temperatures in the 20s with several inches of snow. The upside is that defoliated trees allow for great mountain vistas and very private hikes.