Portered Creeks & Peaks

Asheville, NC
5.0 (6 reviews)

Trip Highlights

  • Lighter Backpack
  • Scenic Camps
  • Sweeping Appalachian Views
  • Hike on the Appalachian Trail
  • Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
  • Beautiful Waterfalls
  • Family Friendly Itinerary

Description

If you’re interested in an exciting, scenic, diverse hiking/camping experience of the Great Smoky Mountains and would prefer to hike with a lighter backpack (than on a backpacking trip), this trip is for you! Great for families, couples and anyone who wants a backcountry trip with a high level of comfort on the trail, this trip does not disappoint. Porters will carry our gear and food in, set up camp, and on the final day they will break camp and transport everything out for us. We combine the best of two worlds – big Smoky Mountain views and beautiful creek side hiking – in one family-friendly itinerary that allows guests to enjoy the backcountry while hiking with minimal weight. The historically rich route we follow was used originally by early Native Americans, then settlers, loggers, and livestock herders after them. We’ll retrace their collective footsteps on a rejuvenating and adventurous Appalachian adventure!

For Families: this trip is an excellent choice for families with school-age children, and it can be easily adapted for the activity level your family is looking for. Also, the day hikes on Days 2 and 3 are optional and can be replaced with easier hikes if desired.

Please Note: Porters transport all camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads…etc.) as well as food. They also set up and break down camp. Guests are responsible for carrying their clothing and personal items.

Read more …
3 Days From
$1195 Per Person
4 Days From
$1385 Per Person
Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Portered Trek
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-8 Guests
Trip Length: 3-4 Days
Distance: 22+MI / 35+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 2

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

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
The trip travels along an old rail road bed to camp that gains very little elevations. Day 2 will be a steep hike to the Appalachian Trail and will get a little more rugged to the summit. Day 3 (if a 4 day trip) will be the toughest day hiking up to Mt Sterling gaining quick elevation the entire time (this day has optional amounts of distance and elevation gain/loss). The final day will be back down the railroad bed to the trailhead.

Hiking Distances:

5-10 mi

Backpack Weight:

10-20 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

2000 ft

Heights Exposure:

None

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 10-20 lb backpack for 6-8 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain

SOLITUDE LEVEL 4

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this Great Smoky Mountains portered 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 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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Itinerary

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 1-hour drive from Asheville
  • Hiking Mileage: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet

On this multi-day Great Smoky Mountains hiking trip we depart the Big Creek Campground and immediately start to enjoy creek views and beautiful cascades. First we come to the “Midnight Hole” deep pool and Mouse Creek Falls, two classic Smoky Mountain water features. After these falls, our journey grows quieter, with wonderful solitude, as we pass historic logging sites on our way to our first night’s camp at Lower Walnut Bottoms.

Assuming there are no extenuating circumstances our camp should be set up and waiting for us, taken care of by our porters. Our day ends with a fantastic Appalachian dinner prepared by your guide and a relaxing evening listening to the soft sounds of a cascading mountain stream.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 10.4 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 1,970 feet

Today starts with a delicious, hearty Appalachian breakfast prepared by your guide. Then we’ll head off from camp with daypacks up the Low Gap Trail. This historic path takes us past old agriculture sites and the famous Dan Gunter home site on our way to the world-renowned Appalachian Trail. Here we will turn North on the legendary trail to what many consider the best views in the Park, the Mount Cammerer Fire Tower. This tower, the only one of it’s kind in the park constructed with rocks, was built by local laborers and the CCC in the 1930’s. After lunch in this magical spot we will head back to our base camp at Lower Walnut Bottoms for another quiet night in pristine forests of the Smoky Mountains.

Day 3 (4-Day Itinerary Only)

  • Hiking Mileage: up to 12 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: up to 2,820 fee

Today features two options:

  • One option is a challenging and fulfilling full-day hike. We start along a crystal clear mountain creek, then begin climbing up to the Mount Sterling Ridge Trail. After trekking through Spruce and Fir forests we come to the Mount Sterling summit and fire tower. We’ll soak up sweeping views of the Smokies Crest and especially Mount Guyot (the Park’s 2nd highest peak) over a picnic lunch, and then return to camp. (12 miles, 2820 feet gain/loss)
  • Another option is to relax in and around camp and enjoy a good book; or especially for families, today is a wonderful opportunity to explore the mountains, creeks and valleys around camp in an unstructured way. A day in the backcountry to just “be” can be a magical way to bond with nature, each other and even ourselves. (mileage and elevation vary)

Final Day

  • Hiking Mileage: 5.3 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1,250 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 1-hour drive to Asheville

Our final day starts with a relaxing breakfast, after which we’ll begin our trek (again with light day packs as porters will break camp and transport everything out for us) back down the Big Creek Trail to our shuttle. A short drive will take us back to our starting point in Asheville, NC and end our Appalachian hiking experience.

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

  • Porters to transport gear in and out, and to set up and break down camp
  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • 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.
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Asheville, North Carolina to the trailhead and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • 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
  • 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

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). 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
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • 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.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

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 5 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

Backcountry Sleeping

TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

Backcountry Cuisine

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Amazing Campsites

IN THE ACTION

Of course campsites vary tremendously by destination, trip and even by the individual day of a trip. However, you can expect to camp in beautiful areas that put you right in the action to make the most of your backpacking adventure. We carefully design our itineraries with campsites in mind.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

  • Average Customer Ratings:

  • 5.0 (6 reviews)
Tyler C
5.0

It was a great time.

4 months ago

We chased horses on the ridge, made up stories about pumpkins, candy, deserted islands, marshmallows, boats, and hot-air balloons by a campfire while breaking enough branches to last us a week, and ate suspicious plants on the side of the trail with Amanda. It was a great time.

Gregg C
5.0

Outstanding!

4 months ago

The trip was outstanding. I was really looking forward to my first true camping trip far from civilization, and while it was not easy, the experience exceeded my expectations, and I found myself enjoying it more and more as time went on. I miss falling asleep to the sound of the water flowing over the rocks. The hike to and from the Mt Cammerer Lookout will remain one of my favorite and most memorable days of my life. Amanda has every quality you’d want in a guide. In addition to being extremely knowledgeable about all of the plant and animal life wherever we were, she was also able to contribute intelligently to every conversation that came up regardless of the topic; she knows something about everything. Amanda also has the perfect demeanor. She’s calm and kind, easy to talk to, listens well, and she’s funny and quick to laugh with you. She’s also a very hard worker, but she’s effortless about it. She goes about her tasks quietly, whether it’s cooking, cleaning, building fires, etc. From the time we woke until we went to bed, she never stopped. “That’s guide life”, she said with a smile. Since we got home, I’ve been figuring out how to get a mural of her epic Delaware to California trek painted on the roof of her beloved Dodge. All I’ve decided so far is it will be accomplished in total secrecy (other than detailing it in this testimonial). It may be weeks, months, or years before she ever discovers it. Team Stone Leigh forever!

Barb F.
5.0

Peaks & Creeks

2 years ago

Great hike! Guide Francisco gave us a fantastic & entertaining tour of NC backcountry. I hiked with Wildland in Havasu Falls and they never disappoint. I thought this may be my last hike as I'm not so young anymore but once I got back home, can't wait to go again. We had a wonderful group to hike with.

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