Premier Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Noland Creek & Divide

Highlights

  • Guides Choice portered trip in the Smokies
  • Rare portered thru-hike
  • Amazing Smoky Mountains views
  • Charming creekside hiking
  • Ridge line hiking
  • All Smokies' life zones in one trip
  • Fascinating settler and logging history

Description

If you're interested in an exciting, scenic, diverse hiking/camping experience of the Great Smoky Mountains and would prefer to hike with a light day pack, this trip is for you! Great for families, couples and anyone who wants a backcountry trip with a high level of comfort on the trail, this trip does not disappoint. Porters will carry our gear and food in, set up camp, and on the final day they will break camp and transport everything out for us.
Our route takes us up a pristine mountain valley with a charming creek, historic sites, and beautiful forests. We camp for two nights near the shores of this creek, and on Day 2 embark on an exciting ridge hike to a stunning viewpoint. On the final day we hike through to a different trailhead, allowing us to experience new scenery every day of the trip (most portered trips come in and out the same way, so this is a very unique feature!)
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: 1.5-hour drive from Asheville
Hiking Mileage: 8.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 1810 feet


On this portered Great Smoky Mountains trip we begin hiking (with just light day packs) from the famed “Road to Nowhere” near Bryson City, NC. As we hike up a beautiful valley created by Noland Creek we’ll get glimpses of the area's past in the forms of old settler home sites, backcountry cemeteries and evidence of late 19th century logging. As we enter the upper reaches of the valley we’ll ford Noland Creek multiple times without the help of bridges before arriving at our home for the next two nights.

Assuming there are no extenuating circumstances our camp should we set up and waiting for us, taken care of by our porters. Our day ends with a fantastic Appalachian dinner prepared by your guide and a relaxing evening listening to the soft sounds of a cascading mountain stream. 


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 11 miles
Elevation Loss/Gain: 2140 feet


Today is the highlight of the trip and a day you're not likely to forget anytime soon! After a hearty breakfast we'll hike to Upper Sassafras Gap. From this high point we’ll be traversing along a prominent ridge on Noland Divide, running south from the main crest of the Smokies. This ridgeline hike offers sweeping views of the Noland Creek and Deep Creek watersheds. Our day's destination is a stunnning viewpoint named Lonesome Pine. Here we’ll enjoy a wonderful lunch prepared by your guide before heading back along this scenic ridge to our camp and another delicious backcountry dinner.


Day 3

Hiking Mileage: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: 2390 feet
Shuttle to Asheville: 2-hour drive to Asheville


Our final day starts with a relaxing breakfast, after which we'll begin our trek (again with light day packs as porters will break camp and transport everything out for us) up to the upper life zones of the diverse Smoky Mountains wilderness. We’ll hike back up to Noland Divide and continue up the ridge toward majestic Spruce and Fir Forests. These forests only inhabit the highest reaches of the Smokies and usually occur only much farther north in America. After our hike through this amazing forest our trail ends at our awaiting shuttle.

We’ll drive a short distance and have lunch near the summit of the Park's highest mountain, Clingman’s Dome (6643 feet). After Lunch, we'll contemplate our Smoky Mountains experience as we pass back through the Park on our return trip to Asheville. 


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

  • Porters to transport gear in and out, and to set up and break down camp
  • 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 Smokies 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 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°