Premier Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Clingman's Dome to Deep Creek

Highlights

  • Tremendous diversity on a shorter trip
  • Highest point in the Park, Clingman's Dome
  • Majestic meadows and sweeping views
  • High ridges and balds, and lush valleys
  • Spectacular flora and fauna
  • Beautiful waterfalls and cascades

Description

This trek into the North Carolina Appalachian Wilderness has it all: fantastic views, famous grassy balds, sparkling mountain creeks, diverse ecosystems, amazing historic sites and plunging waterfalls. Whether you're a first-time visitor to the Smokies or a veteran, this trip is sure to inspire you!
Part of what makes this trip unique is we begin our hike from the highest point in the Park, Clingman's Dome, at 6,643 feet. Over the course of our four days we'll hike over Andrews Bald (one of the most impressive backcountry viewpoints in the Smokies), explore multiple ecosystems shaped by a turbulent and fascinating geologic past, traverse remote and majestic river valleys, See a variety of beautiful waterfalls, and visit unforgettable historic sites.
Don't miss this amazing Smoky Mountain adventure - give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your spot today!
Click here to have a detailed PDF information packet emailed to you, or request a reservation today. You can also call us at 800-715-HIKE.

 

Photos of the Great Smoky Mountains

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the trailhead: 2-hour drive from Asheville
Hiking Mileage: 8.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 3500 feet


This multi-day Great Smoky Mountains backpacking trip begins at Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Park. After taking in the views from the observation tower at Clingman's we'll do a final fitting with our packs and set off down the trail. Our first stop is at Andrews Bald, one of the Smoky Mountains' most famous backcountry viewpoints.

From Andrews Bald, we'll backtrack a short distance and drop into the headwaters of Forney Creek, losing thousands of feet of elevation as we descend through changing forests. We will pass a beautiful cascade on our way to our night's camp on the banks of a charming mountain creek.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 9.5 miles
Elevation Loss/Gain/Loss: 400/2100/1550 feet


Today starts with one of our hearty Appalachian backcountry breakfasts prepared by your guide. After breaking camp we'll continue our hike down Forney Creek, crossing it multiple times. After some hiking we'll pass the historic site of the Bee Gum Civilian Conservation Corps Camp from the early-mid 20th century.

Eventually we'll begin a climb up to a forested ridgeline. We'll take a break at the crest and enjoy a picnic lunch prepared by your guide. From our lunch spot it's another 2.8 miles to our second night's camp along the shores of majestic Noland Creek.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 8.4 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1700/1850 feet


After breaking camp we'll continue our hike up Noland Creek, crossing often via log footpaths, rock hopping and wading. Between these crossings the history of the Smokies come to life as we hike past old fish hatchery ruins, the Mill Creek School site, the historical park boundary (before the 1940's), and long-abandoned logging areas.

Eventually we'll begin hiking up to the Noland Divide at Upper Sassafras Gap. At the Gap we will reward ourselves with a much-deserved, very tasty lunch. After lunch, we'll continue hiking another 3.5 miles past fascinating rock outcroppings and waterfall vistas to our third and final night's camp in the intensely scenic valley of Deep Creek.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 6.5 miles
Elevation Loss: 600 feet
Shuttle to Asheville: 1.5-hour drive to Asheville


On the last day of our Appalachian adventure we'll travel down one of the first trails built after the formation of the park. Engineer R.P. White considered it one of his best, and we agree! An intensely diverse forest, mesmerizing stream valley scenery, waterfalls and moderate hiking make this a perfect end to an amazing trek.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Great Smoky Mountains hiking guide
  • 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 satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


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 sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are two 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent, lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form 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 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

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.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, 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 Considerations

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. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Smoky Mountains backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum group size of 6 guests and 1 or 2 guides If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions 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°
 
 
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