Hike the Great Smoky Mountains: Fall Foliage

Trip Code: SKTF

Why we love it

Spend your days in the kaleidoscopic colours of autumn in one of the Eastern US’s most beloved national parks., Explore the peaks and valleys of the Great Smoky Mountains, taking in meadows, creeks, waterfalls and historical townships., Wander the towns that play gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, dining in local restaurants and experiencing life in the shadow of the mountains., Tackle a section of the iconic Appalachian Trail, treading in the footsteps of explorers that have come this way for centuries., Visit one of the most iconic landmarks in the North Carolinian Appalachian Mountains– Looking Glass Rock.

Is this trip right for me?

This is a hiking trip, so a good fitness level will help you enjoy all included hikes and activities.

This trip involves daily hikes ranging in distance from 6.5 – 8.5 miles (10.5 – 14 km) with a total trip distance of up to 29 miles (47 km). The maximum daily elevation gain/loss is 1650 feet (503 m). Please check the trip itinerary for more details.

On this trip you will be required to carry a daypack weighing approximately 3.5 to 5.5 kg (8-12 lb).

Important information

1. A completed registration form is required to join these trips. You will not be confirmed for the trip until your form has been received and reviewed. We may ask for a medical release signed by your physician for medical conditions or circumstances which could possibly compromise your safety or the safety of others on this trip – please speak to your agent for further details.

2. A signed disclaimer (Acknowledgement of Risks Form) is required at the time of booking for this trip – please speak to your agent for further details.

3. To help ensure this trip is right for you, this trip is subject to additional ‘Essential Eligibility Requirements’ – see the ‘Itinerary Disclaimer’ section of the Essential Trip Information for further details.

4.This trip is operated and run by Wildland Trekking, an Intrepid company. You will be travelling with a mixture of both Wildland Trekking customers and Intrepid customers.

5. You will meet your guide and group at the Holiday Inn in downtown Asheville 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. This trip will conclude at approximately 5:00 PM on the last day.

6. The Smokies’ fall foliage typically occurs between the last week of mid October and early November, but it is a natural process that varies year by year. We have done our very best to schedule the tour dates for the best chance to see the peak fall colors, but as with many things in nature there are no guarantees. Regardless of the stage of the fall foliage during your tour, it’s a stunningly beautiful area to hike and explore, and a magical season in which to be there.

7. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights on your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

What to bring/pack

LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS

All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium-sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

Our thorough packing list considers diverse weather conditions, but we suggest refining it based on the weather forecast 10 days before departure. Before your trip, our guides will reach out to review the list with you, addressing any questions. For newly purchased items, we suggest you keep receipts and tags attached until use, as our guides can provide real-time advice on their necessity. This approach ensures that you are well-equipped for your adventure, no matter what conditions you may encounter.

INCLUDED GEAR

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)
- Bear spray cannisters (where applicable)

ESSENTIAL ITEMS YOU NEED TO BRING

- Trekking clothing: A mixture covering lightweight clothing and some warm layers is recommended. Your activities will take place in the outdoors, where weather may change quickly. Lightweight, comfortable, and quick drying clothes for the activities are best. Laundry facilities may not be available on every day basis, so make sure you have a few cycles of clothes.
- Hiking boots with a good grip, ankle support and waterproof membrane that are comfortable to walk for an entire day
- Comfortable shoes for shorter beach walks or evenings spend around accommodation/campsite
- Sport sandals
- Light jacket, fleece and base layers
- Wind and waterproof jacket
- Breathable, non-cotton hiking t-shirts
- Long hiking pants or zip-offs
- Nylon hiking shorts
- Water bottle or bladder: you will need water during activities and it’s best to avoid buying unnecessary plastic.
- Sun protection: sunscreen, sunglasses, sunhat or bandana
- Torch/flashlight/headtorch
- Toiletries
- Walking Poles if you would prefer to use your own
- Quick Dry Towel

RECOMMENDED ITEMS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER BRINGING

- Personal medical kit. A larger kit will be on hand with your leader, but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, antihistamine tablets and any personal medication you may need
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Camera with spare batteries/power bank: You will have access to power to recharge your electrical items daily
- Travel eco-friendly wipes/hand sanitizer

OPTIONAL ITEMS

- Swimwear
- A good book, a journal and music player

VALUABLES

Please try to avoid bringing unnecessary valuables. It’s also recommended to bring a copy of all important documents e.g. air tickets, passport, vaccination certificate, etc. and keep the copies separate from the originals. While not valid, a photocopy makes it very much easier to obtain replacements if necessary.

If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.
https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

HYDRATION SYSTEM

Please bring your own hydration system of2 or 3 liters capacity, either water bottles or bladder/hose system and an additional water bottle to refill along the way.

Physical rating

4

You’re in for a walking trip and a good level of fitness is essential. Please read through the trip notes carefully to ensure that this trip is the right trip for you.

If you’re already a regular exerciser, it might be an idea to up your game a little. Run those extra laps, or take few longer walks, ideally with a day pack on your back. If you’re not exercising so regularly (2-3 times a week), it’s important to start in the weeks leading up to your departure (4-6 weeks prior at least). Your best choice would be to start walking regularly 2-3 times a week including at least one longer walk (up to 15 km). It’s important to not only walk on flat surface, so if you cannot access a hilly terrain easily, walking up and down the stairs is a good replacement. Top that up with some general fitness exercises and any other cardio related classes and you will see a huge progress in your fitness levels.

This trip involves daily hikes ranging in distance from 6.5 – 8.5 miles (10.5 – 14 km) with a total trip distance of up to 29 miles (47 km). The maximum daily elevation gain/loss is 1650 feet (503 m).

Day 1 will be the most difficult day as we hike along the Appalachian Trail, then move on to flat “rails to trails” routes on day 2. On Days 3 and 4 we will hike on rougher trails in a Wilderness area that does not get regular trail maintenance. You should be able to hike uphill or downhill with a 8-12 lb (3.5-5.5 kg) backpack for 5-7 hours while maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain.

Joining your group

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Asheville Downtown, 42 Tunnel Road, Asheville, 28805, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Alternate Joining Point


Joining instructions

Finishing your trip

Asheville, , Asheville, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Alternate Finish Point


Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 4

Lunches included: 4

Dinners included: 3

All meals on your trip are included, from breakfasts and lunches with a choice of hot and cold meals, to delicious dinners at local restaurants. If you have food allergies or preferences, please let us know in advance so we can adjust the dining options to better suit your requirements.

Climate & seasonal information

The weather in the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains varies greatly by time of year and elevation. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Low temperatures in October and November are typically between 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit (-1 to 4.5C), and high temperatures are typically between 53 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit (12 to 23C).

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader or local representative may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the group leader or local representative to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the numbers below:

POLICE AND AMBULANCE
In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0.

Intrepid's Local Operator: +1 928 224 0699

Accommodations

Experience some of America’s best national parks in style on an inn based tour with cosy accommodation and restaurant meals to look forward to each night. Inn based tours include transportation, lodging, meals, park entrance fees, and a professional hiking guide.

Transportation

AIRPORT TRANSFERS IN THE USA & CANADA
We recommend taxis and rideshare services like Lyft and Uber when traveling to and from hotels in the USA and Canada. These services are widely available across North America, offering convenient and accessible transportation options. Private transfers in North America incur high costs and present an increased risk of missed connections due to their fixed schedules. In contrast, taxis and rideshares offer both cost-effectiveness and flexibility, ensuring a smoother journey. With transparent pricing, GPS tracking, and on-demand availability, we believe that taxis and rideshare apps not only offer a reliable alternative to private transfers but also provide a secure, trustworthy, and budget-friendly transportation option for our customers.