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Historic Paddle & Hike Day Hike Tour
Historic Paddle & Hike Guided Hike
Historic Paddle & Hike Hiking Tour
Historic Paddle & Hike Day Tour
Historic Paddle & Hike Guided Walk
Historic Paddle & Hike Walking Tour

Historic Paddle & Hike

Highlights

  •   Fantastic lake kayaking
  •   Amazing hike to huge views
  •   Abundant wildlife habitat
  •   Amazing natural and cultural history
  •   Top-shelf backpack & trekking poles
  •   Tasty trail snacks & picnic lunch

Description

This day of flat water paddling and historic hiking showcases some of the best attributes the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer. We start our tour from Asheville, NC with pick up at your hotel, and shuttle to the shores of Fontana Lake. Fontana Lake was created by the highest dam east of the Rockies at a height of 480’. The dam was created to help with soaring electricity needs during World War II. The mountains shoot up out of the blue-green waters of Fontana Lake to tower high above us as we paddle Fontana's calm waters, and take in the stunning vistas.

Our paddle takes us to Hazel Creek and the historic town site of Proctor where the W. M. Ritter Lumber Company once thrived. Here we will exit our boats and hike through this historic area exploring old home sites, cemeteries, and forgotten farm fields. Your guide will explain how early life and industry worked in this hard environment. We’ll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch at one of the Park’s backcountry campsites before heading back across the lake in our kayaks to our awaiting vehicle. After loading the boats, we can check out the Eastern United States’ tallest dam and its amazing museum. Eventually we’ll head back to Asheville, ending our amazing Historic Paddle & Hike adventure in the Smokies.

(Important: We run hikes in almost all weather conditions and very rarely cancel. See our terms and conditions for information on cancellations and refunds.)

We're Here to Help!
 
Paddle & Hike Day Tour
Difficulty:
Solitude:
Asheville, NC
April-October
5-7 hours
12+mi / 19+km
300 ft gain/loss
$280-$355

See Rate Info


Day Hike Rates

Private Day Hike Rates:

  • 2 people: $355 per person
  • 3 people: $325 per person
  • 4-5 people: $280 per person
  • 10 and younger: $120 per person
Custom tours are specifically for your group.

*Prices do not include a required National Park Service fee (5%) or gratuity for your guide


How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Day hike reservations are made through our Adventure Consultant team. You can click here 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 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and make your payment.

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Trip Details

Activity Specifics

  • Shuttle from/to Asheville: 1.5 hours each way
  • Paddle distance: 3-4 mi / 4.5-6.5 km each way
  • Paddle duration: 1-1.5 hours each way
  • Hiking distance: 4-6 mi / 6-10 km each way
  • Hiking duration: 2-3 hours total
  • Total tour duration: 10-12 hours
  • Hiking elevation gain/loss: 300 feet

What's Included

  • A professional, knowledgeable, medically trained, friendly wilderness guide.
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour (pickup and drop off in Asheville, NC)
  • Kayak equipment including single or double sit-on-top sea kayaks, paddles, and life jackets
  • A commitment to make the tour as exciting, challenging, informative, and full as you'd like, and as is possible in a day
  • Trail snacks and a picnic lunch
  • Use of a top of the line, technical day pack
  • Use of trekking poles

What's Not Included (Required)

  • Lightweight hiking shoes or hiking boots
  • Waterproof rain jacket or poncho
  • Warm wool or fleece top (Spring, Fall)
  • Warm hat and gloves (Spring, Fall, Winter)
  • Water bottles or bladder (2 liters total capacity)
  • Sunhat

What's Not Included (Recommended)

  • A cold or frozen bottle of water or Gatorade (Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Sunglasses
  • Knee braces (if needed)
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
  • Gratuity for your guide

Food: What To Expect

Day hike tours include energizing trail snacks and a delicious picnic lunch. Your guide will customize the food for your hike, but a typical lunch consists of gourmet sandwiches or wraps, fruit, veggies, chips, drinks and a dessert. On wintery or cold days you may be treated to soup or a hot, freshly cooked lunch (if you'd prefer a hot meal, please let us know!)

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.

Trip Logistics

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Asheville, NC at an agreed upon time. If you're already staying in the Park, the option to meet your guide at Fontana Lake is also available. Your guide will be in contact approximately 7 days prior to your hike to coordinate the exact time and location of your rendezvous. The pick up time will vary depending on the time of year.


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 this hiking tour is 6 guests and 1 guide. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join daily departures (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval 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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