3 Day Smoky Mountain Hiking Experience

Asheville, NC
5.0 (16 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Diversity & Adventure
  • Cozy Lodging
  • Iconic Smokies Hikes
  • Historic Newfound Gap
  • Impressive Old Growth Forests
  • Scenic Cascading Waterfalls
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail

Description

Our 3-Day Smoky Mountains Hiking Experience combines the highlights of the Smokies into one relatively short, purely Appalachian outdoor vacation. You’ll intimately experience the Smokies’ diverse forests, waterfalls, historical sites, scenic drives and the famous Appalachian Trail all in one action-packed hiking package. We’ve also meticulously handpicked the inns/hotels, and the restaurants to make your week as comfortable and enriching as possible!

Our hikes focus on different areas of the Park, giving you a well-rounded experience of the Smokies, and we stay in the charming Appalachian town of Townsend, TN (the trip originates in Asheville, NC). The meals are a combination of picnic meals prepared by your guide and restaurant meals at carefully selected, award-winning establishments that reflect the local color and culture of Appalachia. We will also visit some of the Park’s best non-hiking highlights as well, which include the many historic sites of Cades Cove and the Oconoluftee Mountain Farm Museum. We feel that this trip gives you the best of the Smokies in three action-packed days that you won’t soon forget.

Read more …
From
$2160 Per Person
$150 Single Supplement

$150 Single Supplement

Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Inn-Based Tour
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-8 Guests
Trip Length: 3 Days
Distance: 23MI / 37KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
This trip travels along maintained trails. Day 1 will be the toughest along the Appalachian Trail then moves to “rails to trails” type of routes on day 2 and 3. There is moderate elevation gain that can be rocky. Light exposure on day 1 that can be avoided if needed.

Hiking Distances:

5-8 mi

Backpack Weight:

8-12 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

1640 ft

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb backpack for 5-7 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain
  • Hiking with moderate heights exposure in one place, which can be avoided if necessary

SOLITUDE LEVEL 2

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Great Smoky Mountains backpacking trip a solitude 2. You can expect as much as an hour of solitude at a time.

TRAVEL TO ASHEVILLE

All North Carolina trips begin and end from Asheville, North Carolina. Asheville has an airport served by Allegiant Air, Delta, United, and US Airways. One can also fly into Greenville, South Carolina or Charlotte, North Carolina and drive to Asheville. It is a 1.5-hour drive from Greenville to Asheville and a 2-hour drive from Charlotte on good roads.

FROM ASHEVILLE AIRPORT
Asheville Airport Express (http://www.ashevilleairportexpress.com, 828-231-1053) and Harry’s Car Service run (828-774-8178) shuttles to and from downtown. Also a number of taxis are usually available on the curb in the Arrivals area.

FROM GREENVILLE/CHARLOTTE
Asheville Airport Express also runs daily vans from Charlotte and Greenville to Asheville.

CAR RENTALS
Avis: 800-331-1212; Hertz 800-654- 3131; National: 800-227-7368; Thrifty: 800-367-2277; Alamo: 800-327-9633

Private Trips

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

Private Rates FOr This Trip

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 2
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.5
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person and single supplements apply

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Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Shuttle to the Smokies: 1.5-hour drive from Asheville
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1640 feet
  • Accommodations: Dancing Bear Cabins

This inn-based Great Smoky Mountains hiking tour starts with a scenic drive from Asheville, NC to the Oconoluftee entrance to the park, where we’ll stop briefly at the Mountain Farm Museum to peruse the early settler buildings and the extraordinary practices of hearty 19th century Appalachian farmers. The museum also features artifacts from and information about the Park’s oldest inhabitants: the Cherokee. This stop helps set the context for the next 3 days so we can fully appreciate the history, wilderness and scenic beauty of the Smokies as we hike through its forests and along its ancient creeks.

After this enriching stop we will continue on to our first hike, which follows the famous Appalachian Trail from historic Newfound Gap (the site of Roosevelt’s park dedication speech in 1940) to Charlies Bunion. Endless views over the lush, timbered ridges of the Smokies abound on today’s hike. After this rewarding hike we will drive through the park; eventually bringing our first day of exploration to a close by continuing to our lodge at the “quiet side of the Smokies”, Townsend, TN, checking in, cleaning up, and heading out for a wonderful Appalachian dinner.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1140 feet
  • Accommodations: Dancing Bear Cabins

Today starts with a hearty Appalachian breakfast at a local farm-to-table diner in Townsend. After breakfast we will explore the culturally rich Cades Cove historic district, while keeping an eye out for some of the Park’s many types of wildlife (black bear, deer, elk, turkey, and more). Often this is a highlight of the trip due to the many historic buildings, stunning scenery, and wonderful tranquility of this rich mountain valley.

Today’s official hike is a forested creek-side hike up the lush Middle Prong of the Little River to the Lynn Camp Prong Cascades and Indian Flats Falls. This stunning river valley is arguably home to the Smokies’ most scenic waterfall hike. The hike starts in the historic logging area of Tremont. Here the Little River Lumber Company had a large camp prior to the establishment of the Park. We’ll relax for a picnic lunch near the first cascades before heading on up to more lovely cascades and waterfalls. We’ll enjoy the falls, take photos, and eventually hike back to the trailhead. A short shuttle ride to our hotel, a tasty Southern dinner and a cozy night’s sleep top off another rewarding day of Smoky Mountains exploration.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 2-hour drive to Asheville

Our Last day of Appalachian exploration starts at a local family owned restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast we will head to the Roaring Fork Motor trail and our day’s first of 2 hikes! The overarching theme of today is historic buildings and waterfalls. Our first hike is to one of the Smokie’s most unique waterfalls, Grotto Falls. Our trail literally travels behind this torrent of water, making for fantastic photos. Once back at our vehicle we will continue through this historic loop road stopping at historic cabins and structures along the way. Lunch today will be a picnic along the rushing waters of the Little Pigeon River on our way to our second hike in the Big Creek area. This hike takes us past more amazing waterfalls: Midnight Hole Falls and Mouse Creek Falls. This will bring our daily waterfall count to 3! A short shuttle from here brings us back to Asheville, ending this action-packed, 3-day exploration of some of the Great Smokey Mountains’ finest sights and trails!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • 2 nights of lodging at local, hand-picked, Appalachian inns, hotels and/or cabins
  • Dinners at local restaurants selected for their local color and great food
  • Breakfasts, picnic lunches prepared by your guide, and trail snacks
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour originating and concluding in Asheville, NC
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • Mandatory 5% national park fee that passes through directly to Great Smoky Mountains NP
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

This tour features a combination of restaurant meals and meals prepared by your guide. We provide breakfasts and lunches for the trip. For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

You will meet your guide and group at the Holiday Inn in downtown Asheville (standard rooms are $99-$140 for our guests, 828-225-5550) for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. We’re happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you’re not staying at the Holiday Inn. Your guide will then pick you up the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Great Smoky Mountains Tours your guide can meet you at any hotel in Asheville at an agreed upon time.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 6 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in The Great Smoky Mountains

The weather in the Great Smoky Mountains varies greatly by time of year. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures in for low elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month Low Elev High Elev
hi low hi low
January 51° 28° 35° 19°
February 54° 29° 35° 18°
March 61° 34° 39° 24°
April 71° 42° 49° 34°
May 79° 50° 57° 43°
June 86° 58° 63° 49°
July 88° 59° 65° 53°
August 87° 60° 64° 52°
September 83° 55° 60° 47°
October 73° 43° 53° 38°
November 61° 33° 42° 28°
December 52° 28° 37° 21°

Accommodations

Accommodations

Dancing Bear Cabin

2 NIGHTS

This unique and inviting Appalachian lodge and cabins offers relaxation and natural beauty with wonderful accommodations and 38 forested acres on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies!

* These exact accommodations are not guaranteed. In some instances alternative accommodations of similar quality and location may be used.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (16 reviews)
Lani R
5.0

Fabulous

3 months ago

I was so impressed with the lodging and the meals! Our guide, Kyle, was fabulous! He had lots of great information about the plants, history, geology, etc. His lunch selections were perfect! I would recommend Wildland for anyone looking for an adventure in an area which they have not visited before.

Jane G
5.0

Totally Enjoyed

5 months ago

We totally enjoyed our hiking experience. The things we worried about were all taken care of: food, lodging, weather, gear. Amanda made everything easy and was a pleasure to be with. I'd do another of these trips in a minute.

Diane M
5.0

I'm so grateful!

1 year ago

After a year of taking precautions, hiking in the Smokies with Wildland was the perfect way to safely enjoy the outdoors. The beauty of the mountains and rushing streams and waterfalls really lifted my spirits. Amanda, our guide, added spunk , humor and information! This company has made the beauty of the National Forests accessible to me. I'm so grateful!

See All Guest Reviews!

Go to our reviews page

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