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Hiking the Best of Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Get up close and personal with the picture-perfect peaks and enchanting waterfalls of Great Smoky Mountains National Park on this five-day hiking adventure. With a museum visit to set the scene, you’ll soon stretch your legs in search of the spectacular views offered by Charlies Bunion, hiking along the historic Appalachian Trail. Grotto Falls, Mouse Creek Falls, Linville Falls and more will have you falling fast for their natural charm, while the summit of Looking Glass Rock will leave you feeling on top of a lush, green world. No wonder this is the US’ most visited national park!

5 days, from

$3,435

per person

GROUP SIZE

9 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

4
Trip code: SKTB
Style: Comfort
Theme: Walking & Trekking

Details

Countries Visited:  United States Of America
Accommodation: Cabin (2 nights), Hotel (2 nights)
Transportation: Private vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 5 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 4 dinners

Group size: Minimum 2, Max 9

  • Walk along sections of the historic Appalachian Trail, established over 100 years ago and now walked by nearly 3 million people a year.

  • Chase the magical waterfalls that make up some of North Carolina’s most photographed spots, and even walk behind the tumbling torrents of Grotto Falls.

  • Take in the scenic view from the Blue Ridge Parkway, an (officially) All-American Road that weaves its way through the Appalachians.

  • Learn about the history of the 19th century settlers and the original Cherokee inhabitants of the park during a vist to the Mountain Farm Museum.

  • Spend you nights in Appalachian lodges and cabins sitting just on the outskirts of the Smoky Mountains, allowing you to soak up the serenity of the park.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Asheville to Townsend

Welcome to Asheville, North Carolina! Your Appalachian adventure will begin with a welcome meeting at your hotel, after which you’ll hit the road for a scenic drive along to the Oconoluftee entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A visit to the Mountain Farm Museum will provide a glimpse at the human history of the park, from the original Cherokee inhabitants to the Appalachian settlers of the 19th century. Then, you’ll head into nature for the first hike of your trip. Starting at Newfound Gap, follow the Appalachian Trail to the stone outcrop of Charlies Bunion where you’ll be provided panoramic mountain views. After descending, continue to your accommodation in Townsend, Tennessee, and head out for an Appalachian dinner to cap off the day’s efforts.

Day 2: Townsend

If the weather allows, start the day on the right note with a picnic breakfast at Cades Cove. There’ll also be the chance to explore the Cades Cove historic district, wandering through pioneer log cabins and restored churches while keeping an eye out for black bears, deer, elk and more! Then, you’ll set out on today’s hike, starting from the historic logging area Tremont. Following the Middle Prong of the Little River, make your way up to the Lynn Camp Prong Cascades where you’ll pause for a picnic lunch. A final push onward through the river valley takes you to the tranquillity of Indian Flats Falls, where there’ll be time for photos before you make your way back to the trailhead.

Day 3: Townsend to Asheville

Fuel up with a breakfast at a local family-owned restaurant before tackling the first of today’s two hikes. Head to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, which offers rushing mountain streams and glimpses of old-growth forest on your way to the picturesque Grotto Falls. Follow the trail behind the torrents of tumbling water for a great photo opportunity! Lunch will take place alongside the Little Pigeon River, and the afternoon’s hike involves chasing two more waterfalls – Midnight Hole Falls and Mouse Creek Falls. Once you’ve finished the hike, a short shuttle ride will take you back to Asheville where local farm-to-table cuisine awaits.

Day 4: Asheville

From your new base in Asheville, you’ll head east to the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. On the way, stop by the Pisgah National Forest and the Linville Falls Visitor Center. A short hike will take you through multiple viewpoints of the captivating falls – the area well and truly earns its Cherokee name of ‘the river of many cliffs’! You’ll then drive to your second hike, which’ll see you reach the top of Table Rock Mountain. At the distinctive peak there’ll be spectacular views back over the Linville Gorge, whose natural treasures you spent the morning discovering. If time allows, a final hike will take you to the fairytale-like waterfall at Crabtree Meadows, before the Blue Ridge Parkway offers more awe-inspiring Appalachian views on the drive home

Day 5: Asheville

It’s the last day but it certainly won’t be the least, as it’ll see you summit the iconic Looking Glass Rock. Rising above the lush forest below, the curved outcrops may look impossible to climb – but a hiking trail will provide a clear path. The summit will reward you with stunning, sweeping views back across rolling green hills, which you’ll have plenty of time to ponder as you have a picnic lunch. After leaving Looking Glass Rock, you’ll drive to Looking Glass Falls which itself looks plucked from a painting. Then head back along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Asheville, where you adventure will end on arrival.