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Deep Creek Family Trip


  • Family friendly itinerary for kids
  • Amazing creek side campsites
  • Beautiful Deep Creek Valley & its many waterfalls
  • Diverse Smokies vegetation
  • Fascinating natural and cultural history


This family friendly backpacking trip includes the best the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer in an easier and shorter mileage itinerary that can be done in 2 or 3 days. This adventure will give your family years of fond memories while offering a truly unique bonding experience. We camp at an amazing creek-side campsite for 2 nights, spend time playing in the creek and waterfalls, and on the 3-day itinerary enjoy a wonderful day hike!
Our first morning will consist of fantastic sightseeing and museum stops to break up the drive. We'll take time to appreciate the sweeping views from the Blue Ridge Parkway, then make brief visits to the Mountain Farm Museum, Oconoluftee Visitor Center, and the Cherokee Museum (all absolutely fascinating places that give everyone an idea of the history of where we'll soon be hiking.) After a picnic lunch at the trailhead we'll hike up our trail to a campsite on the banks of pristine Deep Creek, where we'll spend one or two nights.

On the 2-day itinerary we'll enjoy the creek and waterfalls, feast on a wonderful backcountry dinner, sleep soundly with the soft murmur of the creek right outside our tents, and hike out on the second day. The 3-day itinerary features a fantastic waterfall hike on day 2, and two nights of camping.
Join us this year for an adventure your family will never forget - call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to learn more or book your trip 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: 1.5-hour drive from Asheville
Hiking Mileage: 2.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 220 feet

This family Great Smoky Mountains backpacking trip begins by leaving Asheville and shuttling to the east entrance of the Park by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, at Oconaluftee. Here we will explore the fantastic Mountain Farm Museum. These original, historic farm structures are set up just like they would have been in the early settler days of this region. After exploring this area, for as long or as brief as is desired, we will drive to the Cherokee Museum to learn a little bit about this area's earliest inhabitants.

After our museum stops we'll make our way to the trailhead and enjoy a picnic lunch before beginning our hike. The Deep Creek Trail, our pathway into the Appalachian wilderness, passes through cove hardwood and hemlock forests, rhododendron thickets and by multiple waterfalls and swimming holes. This changing environment amazes children and adults alike. After about two and a half miles we will come to our camp right on the edge of Deep Creek. Here we'll enjoy playing in the creek, setting up camp, and feasting on a tasty, backcountry supper prepared by your guide!

Day 2 (3-day Itinerary Only)

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 300 feet

On the 3-day itinerary, we'll wake up the second day to a hearty breakfast, then begin our day hike with light packs. Our goal today is to explore the beautiful Deep Creek Valley. This amazing river valley is perfect for a day hike from our base camp. We'll hang out at an amazing swimming hole and enjoy a picnic lunch; we'll catch salamanders; and we'll explore this amazing world. Eventually we'll return to our base camp along the lower reaches of Deep Creek, where we'll settle in for another peaceful creek side night out under the stars.

Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 2.6 miles
Elevation Loss: 220 feet
Shuttle to Asheville: 1.5-hour drive to Asheville

On our final day we will back downstream on the Deep Creek Trail to our awaiting vehicle/shuttle. We will then drive to one of the most remote corners of the Park, Cataloochee, for a picnic lunch. During a relaxing tour of Cataloochee we'll stop and explore a historic church, barn, School and home site. Hopefully we can also catch a glimpse of some of the Park's amazing wildlife. After enjoying this culturally rich area we will drive back to your hotel in Asheville, NC ending your family Appalachian Mountains experience!

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.


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.

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 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.

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)
Low Elev
High Elev
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