Do You Need Bug Spray in the Great Smoky Mountains?

With its breath-taking landscapes and beautiful hikes, the Great Smoky Mountains attract over 11 million visitors per year, making it one of the most visited National Parks in the US. A visit here will undoubtedly be an incredible adventure, but being ready for the outdoors is a must to enjoy your experience.

So, do you need bug spray in the great smoky mountains? You need bug spray when visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. While mosquitoes and insects are generally not a big problem, they can make your hike less enjoyable. A high-quality bug spray will protect you and your family from mosquitoes, ticks, gnats, and chiggers. 

While the Great Smoky Mountains are a fairly accessible wonder, it is crucial to keep in mind that you will be outdoors. So, get ready to explore the National Park with the tips below.

Are There Mosquitoes in the Great Smoky Mountains?

If you wonder whether you need to pack bug spray for your upcoming trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, the answer is yes. While mosquitoes and ticks are not a big problem here than other areas of the US, they can still make your hike far less enjoyable. 

However, the number of mosquitoes will vary depending on the hiking trail you and your group have picked. It is essential to keep in mind that not all areas or periods of the year will bring the same environment type. 

Depending on when you are going, you will likely find different scenarios you will have to deal with. If you have never been to the Great Smoky Mountains and you are wondering what to expect, check out the video below and start packing for your trip today. 

Where Are Mosquitoes in the Great Smoky Mountains More Common?

The Great Smoky Mountains do not boast many ponds or areas with stagnant water, so you won’t find as many mosquitoes as you would expect. In fact, they are not likely to come to these areas to breed.

Additionally, not all areas of the Great Smoky Mountains will cause you to deal with a high number of mosquitoes. In general, you are more likely to deal with these bugs at lower elevations. Indeed, the temperatures are often too low for mosquitoes at higher elevations. 

Also, water bodies – such as streams, lakes, and rivers – are likely to boost higher concentrations of mosquitoes. Having a bug spray for when you are hiking near these locations can help. 

In What Season Are Mosquitoes in the Great Smoky Mountains More Common?

Mosquitoes are common in the summer months when temperatures and humidity levels are higher. However, at higher elevations, you are likely to find an entirely different climate, so there will be fewer chances of having to deal with a swarm of mosquitoes.

Moreover, you are more likely to need the help of your bug spray at critical times, such as at dusk or sunset. 

Are There Bugs in the Great Smoky Mountains?

Carpenter Bee

Aside from mosquitoes, there are other common bugs in the Great Smoky Mountains. These include ticks, chiggers, ladybugs, carpenter bees, fireflies, and spiders. These are not present all year round, and your bug spray might not be effective against all of them. 

According to the National Park Service, the Great Smoky Mountains are home to over 100,000 species and organisms. They are also considered one of the most diverse environments in the temperate world. 

Listing all these species would be impossible, especially as a great percentage of all inhabitants of the Park fall in the category of insects and spiders. Below you can find some vital information about the most common bugs you are likely to meet when hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Bugs in the Great Smoky Mountains

  • Gnats – Gnats are even more common than mosquitoes in the Great smoky Mountains. Gnats can be biting and non-biting, and you are likely to walk through a swarm of them during your hikes. Repellent can help you against them.
  • Spiders – while spiders are not bugs, they are common inhabitants of the Great Smoky Mountains. The spiders in this area are often harmless, but you are likely to find a few field spiders in your cabin if you stay in a remote location.
  • Ticks – Ticks are a common problem when hiking, so make sure you have sprayed your legs, ankles, and shoes with bug spray. It is recommendable to check yourself and your kids for ticks after your hike. 
  • Ladybugs Ladybugs, or Asian Lady Beetles, are common in the Great Smoky Mountains. They are harmless, and they don’t carry any diseases, but you are likely to find some of them in your cabin, especially in summer.
  • Carpenter Bees – or Wood-Boring Bees are also common inhabitants of this national Park. They are also harmless, and the male cannot sting. However, it is recommendable to always have with you an EpiPen if you are allergic to bees. Remember, if you get stung in your hand, immediately remove your rings. 
  • Don’t Miss the Fireflies in Elkmont Synchronous Fireflies are a peculiar and fascinating inhabitant of the Great Smoky Mountains. Once a year, over a two-week period, they gather in a wooded area around Elkmont. It has become a much-loved event that you should not miss if you are at the National Park during this time of the year.

Do You Need Bug Spray in the Great Smoky Mountains?

Mosquito bite

It is recommendable to always keep with you bug spray in the Great Smoky Mountains. This simple addition to your backpack will keep you and your family safe from the bites of ticks, gnats, and mosquitoes. 

When it comes down to picking a mosquito repellent, your mind might immediately go to DEET. While this chemical is undoubtedly effective, it has been seen to have adverse effects if used repetitively. Make sure you have picked a type of bug spray that is suitable for your whole group’s needs. 

Check out below the best types of bug spray for visiting the Great Smoky Mountains.

Best Mosquito Repellent For Kids

If you are hiking with your whole family, your greatest concern will be your little ones. Kids and babies have been seen as the most affected ones by the side effects that DEET might cause. 

This Babyganics product offers you the perfect combination of sunscreen and bug spray. These are both created to be completely organic and free of chemicals such as DEET, sulfates, or parabens. So, you can protect the youngest hikers in your group naturally.

Best Pocket Bug Spray

If you are in for a long hike and you need an efficient but easily packable product, this REPEL plant-based bug spray is the right one for you. It does not include DEET, but it is among the most effective ones of its kind. 

Best Family-Friendly Insect Repellent

OFF! is one of the most common, tested, and loved bug sprays on the market. This family pack allows you and your family to be covered independently on how long your hike is. One of the most-loved characteristics of this product is that it can be applied on outer surfaces and clothing with the same great effects.  

Best Natural Bug Spray

If you don’t want to compromise between efficiency and natural solutions, this organic bug spray lets you be covered from any mosquito or tick attack in an all-natural way. Since this product is also vegan and cruelty-free, it is suitable for all nature-lovers.


Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains can be an excellent experience for the whole family, but being prepared for all eventualities is crucial, especially when exploring the outdoors. 

Mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks are never a big problem in the Mountains, but they can make your hike less enjoyable. Make sure to pack a bug spray suitable for the whole family and make the most out of your trip.

Related: A Complete US National Park List

Recent Posts