Best of the Smokies and Asheville

Asheville, NC
5.0 (46 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Smoky Mountain Hikes
  • Asheville Area Hikes
  • Wonderful Accommodations
  • Diversity, Beauty & Adventure
  • Fascinating Natural & Cultural History
  • Impressive Cascading Waterfalls
  • Guides Choice Trip

Description

Our 5-Day Best of the Smokies and Asheville hiking tour combines the highlights of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the amazing Asheville Area Mountains into one all-inclusive, purely Appalachian outdoor hiking vacation. You’ll intimately experience the Smokies’ diverse forests, waterfalls, historical sites, scenic drives, sweeping vistas, and the famous Appalachian Trail. Then we’ll move on to some of Appalachia’s best hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is all in one action-packed hiking package! We’ve also meticulously handpicked the inns/hotels and restaurants to make your week as comfortable and enriching as possible!

Our hikes focus on 5 areas of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Asheville Area, giving you a comprehensive experience of Appalachia, and we stay in different charming accommodations that are unique and historical in their own right. The meals are a combination of picnic and trail meals prepared by your guide and restaurant meals at carefully selected, award-winning establishments that reflect the local color and culture of Appalachia.

Read more …
From
$3180 Per Person
$500 Single Supplement

$500 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: 5 Days
Distance: 37MI / 60KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 3

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 days 2 and 3. There is moderate elevation gain that can be rocky. Light exposure on day 1 that can be avoided if needed. Day 4 and 5 will be along rougher trails that are in designated Wildernesses that do not see a lot of maintenance.

Hiking Distances:

6-8 mi

Backpack Weight:

8-12 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

1650 ft

Heights Exposure:

Light

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

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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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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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 Appalachian hiking tour starts with a scenic drive from Asheville, NC to the Oconoluftee entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we’ll stop briefly at the Mountain Farm Museum to peruse the early settler buildings and learn about 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 our enriching museum 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 trek we will drive up to the Park’s highest peak, Clingman’s Dome at 6,643′, to take in more sweeping views. Lunch today will be a tasty and healthy picnic, prepared by your guide, at one of these amazing views. Eventually we’ll bring our first day of exploration to a close by continuing to our lodge on the “quiet side of the Smokies” in Townsend, TN. After checking in and cleaning up, we’ll head out for a wonderful Appalachian dinner.

Day 2

  • Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1140 feet
  • Accommodations: Dancing Bear Cabins

Today starts with a delicious Appalachian breakfast cooked by your guide at the Cades Cove Picnic area (weather depending). 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, turkeys, and more). We will explore the many historic buildings, stunning scenery, and wonderful tranquility of this rich mountain valley. 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: appx 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet
  • Accommodations: Hyatt Place hotel

Our third day of Smoky Mountains 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 themes of today are 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 the trailhead we will continue along a historic loop road, stopping at ancient pioneer 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. Our afternoon trek takes us past more amazing waterfalls: Midnight Hole Falls and Mouse Creek Falls, which brings our daily waterfall count to 3! A short shuttle from here brings us back to Asheville, where we’ll check into our beautiful hotel and hit the town for some amazing, local farm-to-table cuisine!

Day 4

  • Shuttle to trailhead: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1400 feet
  • Accommodations: Hyatt Place hotel

Our Appalachian exploration pivots today to the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains! After a hearty breakfast we drive from Asheville, NC to the amazing views and waterfalls near Linville Gorge in the Pisgah National Forest. Our first stop will be the Linville Falls Visitor Center, where we will enjoy a 1.6 mile round trip hike to 3 different viewpoints of this outstanding area and waterfall. We will then shuttle to our next trailhead for a hike up Table Rock Mountain for stunning, sweeping views of the spectacular Linville Gorge. After a picnic lunch on the summit of Table Rock Mountain we’ll continue along the Blue Ridge Parkway for more spectacular wonderful Appalachian views.

If time allows we’ll take one last hike for the day through diverse forests to another outstanding waterfall at Crabtree Meadows. We end this spectacular first day with a return drive along Blue Ridge Parkway back to our cozy lodge, and then an award winning meal at one of our favorite Asheville restaurants.

Day 5

  • Shuttle to trailhead: 1 hour
  • Hiking Mileage: appx 6.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1650 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 1.5-hour drive

On the final day of our Appalachian hiking adventure we’ll start by hiking to the summit of one of the most iconic landmarks in the region, Looking Glass Rock. This is one of the best and most iconic hikes in the Pisgah National Forest. After reaching the summit our efforts will be rewarded by massive, sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and a wonderful picnic lunch prepared by your guide.

After enjoying our lunch with a view, we’ll descend back to our vehicle and head to the spectacular roadside waterfall, Looking Glass Falls. Our travel back to Asheville will again be along a different stretch of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ll stop along the way for fantastic views of Looking Glass Rock, the hike we just completed. As we drive back into the city of Asheville we can reflect on our unique Appalachian hiking experience and begin dreaming of the next one!

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

  • 4 nights of lodging at local, hand-picked, Appalachian inns, hotels and/or cabins (Lodging Details)
  • 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 Smoky & Blue Ridge Mountains

The weather in the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge 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 Bears Cabins

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!

DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville Downtown

2 NIGHTS

The DoubleTree by Hilton Asheville Downtown is arguably the signature hotel in Asheville. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains and situated in perfect walking distance to many iconic Appalachian restaurants, it’s a perfect location for our Blue Ridge adventure.
(pool, views)

* 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 (46 reviews)
Kenneth K
5.0

Exceptional

16 days ago

A great opportunity to experience the incredible Smokies and Blue Ridge mountains with a reputable firm that ensures attention to detail and enjoyment of the group are of paramount concern. Kyle was an incredible guide and the entire experience, including accommodations and meals, were exceptional. Truly a must do for anyone looking to get a little bit more out of their hiking experience.

Jan E
5.0

I highly recommend this trip!

21 days ago

The Best of Smokies & Ashville trip was excellent. The hikes were great, food and lodging fantastic and our guide, Kyle N was wonderful! From the orientation to the last day of the trip, Kyle was fantastic! He was knowledgeable, well prepared, proactive on meeting our needs and fun to be with. He did an excellent job with lunches on the hike (healthy, fresh and delicious) and chose excellent restaurants every night. We particularly enjoyed the Dancing Bear Lodge! I highly recommend this trip!

Janis K
5.0

What a great trip!

21 days ago

I highly recommend Wildland Trekking’s “Best of the Smokies and Asheville” tour. The hikes, accommodations, and meals were all top-notch and were thoroughly enjoyed by our group. Our excellent guide, Kyle, is very knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and fun to hang out with, and his ability to adapt the daily hiking plans to fit the (rainy) weather was both impressive and greatly appreciated. Many thanks to all involved - such a great trip!

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