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Blue Ridge & Great Smoky Mountains National Park Walking & Hiking Tour

North Carolina & Tennessee's Appalachian Mountains

From $2,899 - $2,999 pp dbl. occ. | 5 days / 4 nights

(+$810 for sgl. occ.)

Witnessing the dark-blue tint of the Blue Ridge Mountains from a distance and smoke-like fog rolling over the Great Smoky Mountains in the wee morning hours—just two reasons this is one of our favorite hiking destinations. Once you've explored the rhododendron-shaded trails, felt the mist of waterfalls on your face and witnessed the rolling valleys and majestic peaks of the Appalachian Mountains, we're willing to bet you'll add them to your favorites list.

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North Carolina

Start/End Asheville

Smokies Map

Highlights

  • Explore the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains with spectacular waterfalls, oak and pine trees, and endless vistas
  • Follow wooded trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to elk, black bears and over 200 bird species
  • Immerse yourself in nature as you kick up your feet at charming cabins and deluxe glamping tents tucked into forest settings
  • Hike through high-country meadowlands, along pristine streams and rivers, and amid natural beauty along the Appalachian Trail
North Carolina

Start/End Asheville

Smokies Map

Itinerary

Days 1-2 Meet in Asheville—a town with an appealing blend of Jazz Age sophistication and bohemian eccentricity | Our walk through pine and hemlock woodland in DuPont State Forest is all about waterfalls—four postcard-perfect cascades that range from 8 to 120 feet | Trek to Bridal Veil Falls to witness its waters rushing down exposed granite | Soak up the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, with stretch-forever vistas of valleys, mountains, woodland, waterfalls and historic sites | In the Great Balsam Mountains, keep an eye out for migratory birds as you scan alpine views | Take in the forest surroundings from the private porch of your cabin in Pisgah Forest.

Day 3 Step into Tennessee for our first hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an International Biosphere Reserve with over 800 miles of breathtaking backcountry | Climb the famous Appalachian Trail for views of the Smokies, including peaks of Mount Le Conte and Myrtle Point | Passing by Fraser fir and red spruce woods, and keeping an eye out for wildlife from deer to bears, arrive at the rugged rock outcrop of Charles Bunion to take in the impressive panorama | Sleep under the stars in deluxe safari-style tents.

Days 4-5 Hike through old-growth forest along Alum Cave Creek to a formation of black slate dubbed Arch Rock | Make your way under the arch and up stairs carved into the stone | You're treated to incredible mountain scenery including the Eye of the Needle—a hole in the top of the rock at Little Duck Hawk Ridge | Gaze above for passing peregrine falcons | Admire Alum Cave, a massive concave overhang towering 80 feet high | Climb along trails that show off their seasons—blooming dogwoods and azaleas in spring, bright mountain laurel and rhododendron tangles in summer and spectacular foliage displays in fall | Discover incredible geologic formations at the top of Mount Le Conte, one of the highest Smoky Mountains | Enjoy Appalachian-inspired dishes and handcrafted cocktails at Dancing Bear Lodge | Salute the sun with an optional outdoor yoga class | Enjoy 360-degree views of the Smokies from the observation tower at Clingmans Dome—the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park—before we journey back to Asheville.

The earlier you book, the more choice you'll have and the lower your price. And you can always change your mind — you won't be charged to transfer to a different trip before your final payment is due. View cancellation policy.

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

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C Classic Dates

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Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities. You can pick from the selection of dates below for your group; some dates are only available for 16 or more guests while other dates are available for 8 or more guests. If your party has fewer than 8 guests, or your preferred date is not available, we'll create a departure just for you. Call or email us to reserve your date.

2019 Private Trip Pricing
  • 10 or more guests: from $2,899 pp dbl occ
  • 8 - 9 guests: from $3,399 pp dbl occ

Please click on a date below for specific pricing and possible itinerary variations.

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  • 8 AVAILABLE TO BOOK
    for 8 or more guests
  • 12 AVAILABLE TO BOOK
    for 12 or more guests
  • 16 AVAILABLE TO BOOK
    for 16 or more guests
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C Couples, Friends & Solos Tours

2019 June
2019 October

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The sky’s the limit! Tell us what your dream trip would be and we'll make it happen! Whether you're looking for a honeymoon trip for 2, a 30-person family reunion or a 100-person corporate trip, we can do it all. A dedicated Custom Trip Consultant will work closely with you to bring your dreams to reality. Call us at 800-462-2848 to speak with your Custom Trip Consultant or click on the button below.

REQUEST YOUR CUSTOM TRIP NOW

Dates

C Couples, Friends & Solos Tours

Prices

From $2,899 - $2,999 pp dbl. occ.
5 days / 4 nights

(+$810 for sgl. occ.)

Casual Hotels

Pilot Cove, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina
Pilot Cove

Pisgah Forest (2 nights)

Under Canvas, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
Under Canvas

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1 night)

Dancing Bear Lodge, Townsend, Tennessee
Dancing Bear Lodge

Townsend (1 night)

Activity Level

This trip is rated Levels 2-4

What's Included

Services and equipment are included.

Why Backroads

Why Travel with Backroads in North Carolina

More On This Trip

Reviews by Power Reviews ®

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Casual Hotels

Accommodations may vary based on departure date. Any difference from what is listed below can be found by clicking on your desired date on the View Scheduled Dates or Private Dates tabs.

Pilot Cove, Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina

Pilot Cove

Pisgah Forest (2 nights)

Bordering Pisgah National Forest, the modern cabins at Pilot Cove are designed to blend into their verdant setting and have easy access to area trails.

Under Canvas, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Under Canvas

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (1 night)

Opening summer 2018, Under Canvas' deluxe safari-style tents in the Southern Appalachian wilderness deliver comfort in an eco-friendly environment.

Dancing Bear Lodge, Townsend, Tennessee

Dancing Bear Lodge

Townsend (1 night)

With porch swings, rocking chairs and simple charm, the contemporary cabins at Dancing Bear Lodge offer rustic comfort in a serene setting.

This Trip Is Rated Levels 2-4

Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one day to the next—and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.

Daily Route Options (drag to see full )

Daily Route Options
Day EASYGOING ACTIVE AVID
Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 Level 5
miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain miles feet gain
1 6 600 8 900
2 5 700 7 1100 9 1600
3 3 900 8 1600
4 4 1100 10 2800
5 1 300
Morning Yoga (1 Hour)
 

Note: The terrain we encounter on this trip ranges from lightly rolling to hilly with several steep longer climbs. Some routes have exposed sections. Hiking trails are often uneven, with roots, mud, rocks and other obstacles. Please note that unpredictable mountain weather can make hiking conditions more challenging.

Learn more about how we determine our activity level and fully support a range of abilities and interests.

Please note that our distance and elevation figures come from Ride with GPS. Other sources may give differing elevation figures due to different GPS and mapping technologies and other external factors.

Meals

All breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners

Also Included

  • Expertise and services of our experienced Trip Leaders
  • Snacks and beverages between meals
  • Additional guides and experts from the region on many trips
  • Van shuttles to support a variety of route options
  • Comprehensive Travel Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at museums, historic sites, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the Travel Planner
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Special events, including wine tastings and other select attractions as mentioned in the Travel Planner
  • On biking and multi-adventure trips, use of fully equipped Backroads titanium bike plus helmet and accessories
  • Trailercycles, carriers, and kid-sized helmets for Family Trips
  • Equipment and experienced guides for kayaking, rafting, snorkeling, sailing and canoeing as described
  • Park and other entry fees
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the Travel Planner
  • Select coach transfers
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Get the Straight Talk about This Trip

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Accommodations

In order to be as close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park as possible, we stay at Under Canvas for one night of glamping. Our stay in safari-style canvas tents, with plush beds and private en suite bathrooms, pairs the nicest lodging in Gatlinburg, TN with the best access to our hikes. Although luxurious, these tents are not for everyone as their canvas walls and doors mean sounds may carry from other tents nearby. The tents do not have electricity but feature wood stoves, battery-powered lanterns and a battery-powered charger for small devices such as cell phones. We recommend bringing a small flashlight and warm clothes, as lighting can be dim and temperatures can drop at night.

Shuttles

In order to bring you to our favorite corners of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we spend more time shuttling on this trip than on a typical Backroads trip. These strategic shuttles enable us to explore the best hikes this region has to offer.

Why Travel with Backroads in North Carolina

The Best Leaders in North Carolina

Backroads has the best-qualified people to lead your trip in North Carolina, and our guests back that up, rating our Trip Leaders an average of 9.75 out of 10 for all-around quality of performance. Get the facts (and no fluff) on how we recruit and develop the very best people for your trip.

Everyone at Their Own Pace

We design and support our North Carolina trips to suit mixed abilities and varied interests—so you can set your own pace, then change things up as the day unfolds. And all guests are free to do the same, traveling together or apart, with no one cramping anyone else's style. Which sounds easy in theory, but it's hard to pull off. Here's more on how we do it.

We've Set the Standard

For nearly four decades we've worked to earn and maintain our right to call Backroads the world's #1 active travel company. In pursuing that vision on behalf of our guests, we believe we've set the standard for our industry—captured in the Backroads Quality Guide, which clearly sets out the benchmarks of excellence, choice and support that we live by

We Live in the Neighborhood

Our Trip Leaders in North Carolina live in the area and are deeply engaged in their communities, giving them unique inside knowledge they're happy to share in making your experience that much richer. They'll introduce you to people, customs and parts of town you'd likely never encounter on your own—and teach you a few local phrases to help break the ice.

Quality You Can Measure

Since 1979, Backroads Founder and President Tom Hale has shown that staying #1 means constantly evaluating our performance using the best possible source of information: our guests. As we systematically analyze your feedback on our trip consultants, leaders, hotels, meals and on-trip activities, we never stop working to make a great company even better.

Your Trip Will Run. Period.

Under our Book with Confidence policy, your Backroads trip will run even for one or two people (or a family of three or four), subject to a nominal extra fee. Or transfer to another trip, and we'll give you a credit. It's all part of our trademark commitment to treating guests with integrity, transparency and total accountability. Read all the details.

A Variety of Routes Each Day

In North Carolina you head off each morning after choosing among several expertly designed routes—all with detailed directions, mileage and shuttle options. Unlike trips with one fixed daily route (or worse, one guide that everyone's obliged to follow), you're free to enjoy the best of the region at your pace, stopping wherever you want to explore further.

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Straight Talk

We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.

Accommodations

In order to be as close to Great Smoky Mountains National Park as possible, we stay at Under Canvas for one night of glamping. Our stay in safari-style canvas tents, with plush beds and private en suite bathrooms, pairs the nicest lodging in Gatlinburg, TN with the best access to our hikes. Although luxurious, these tents are not for everyone as their canvas walls and doors mean sounds may carry from other tents nearby. The tents do not have electricity but feature wood stoves, battery-powered lanterns and a battery-powered charger for small devices such as cell phones. We recommend bringing a small flashlight and warm clothes, as lighting can be dim and temperatures can drop at night.

Shuttles

In order to bring you to our favorite corners of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Great Smoky Mountains National Park, we spend more time shuttling on this trip than on a typical Backroads trip. These strategic shuttles enable us to explore the best hikes this region has to offer.
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