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Smokies Hiking Guides
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Great Smoky Mountains Hiking Tour
Appalachia Guided Treks
Appalachia Hiking Tour
Smokies Guides
Smoky Mountains Hiking Vacation

Best of the Smokies Tour


  •   Guides Choice inn-based trip
  •   Great Smoky Mountains' best hikes
  •   Amazing Blue Ridge Mountains hikes
  •   Diversity, beauty and adventure
  •   Fantastic Appalachian cuisine
  •   Fascinating natural & cultural history
  •   Wonderful, hand-picked accommodations
  •   Impressive cascading waterfalls


Our 5-Day Best of the Smokies hiking tour combines the highlights of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the amazing Blue Ridge Mountains into one all-inclusive, purely Appalachian outdoor hiking vacation. You'll intimately experience the Smokies' diverse forests, waterfalls, historical sites, scenic drives, sweeping vistas, and the famous Appalachian Trail. Then we'll move on to some of Appalachia's best hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This is all in one action-packed hiking package! We've also meticulously handpicked the inns/hotels and restaurants to make your week as comfortable and enriching as possible!

Our hikes focus on 5 areas of the Great Smoky Mountains and Blue Ridge Mountains, giving you a comprehensive experience of Appalachia, and we stay in different charming accommodations that are unique and historical in their own right. The meals are a combination of picnic and trail meals prepared by your guide and restaurant meals at carefully selected, award-winning establishments that reflect the local color and culture of Appalachia.

Please Note: This tour is available to private groups only through 2020. Group departures will resume in 2021. Read more about all of our current operating procedures.

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Inn-based Hiking Tour
Asheville, NC
5 days
37mi / 60km
$2290 Per Person
$500 Single Supplement

Taxes & Fees

Travel to Asheville

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Trip Dates & Booking

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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the Smokies: 1.5-hour drive from Asheville
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1640 feet
  • Accommodations: Dancing Bear Cabins

This inn-based Appalachian hiking tour starts with a scenic drive from Asheville, NC to the Oconoluftee entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where we'll stop briefly at the Mountain Farm Museum to peruse the early settler buildings and learn about the extraordinary practices of hearty 19th century Appalachian farmers. The museum also features artifacts from and information about the Park's oldest inhabitants: the Cherokee. This stop helps set the context for the next 3 days so we can fully appreciate the history, wilderness and scenic beauty of the Smokies as we hike through its forests and along its ancient creeks. 

After our enriching museum stop we will continue on to our first hike, which follows the famous Appalachian Trail from historic Newfound Gap (the site of Roosevelt's park dedication speech in 1940) to Charlies Bunion. Endless views over the lush, timbered ridges of the Smokies abound on today's hike. After this rewarding trek we will drive up to the Park's highest peak, Clingman's Dome at 6,643', to take in more sweeping views. Lunch today will be a tasty and healthy picnic, prepared by your guide, at one of these amazing views. Eventually we'll bring our first day of exploration to a close by continuing to our lodge on the "quiet side of the Smokies" in Townsend, TN. After checking in and cleaning up, we'll head out for a wonderful Appalachian dinner.

Day 2
  • Shuttle to trailhead: 30 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 8.3 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1140 feet
  • Accommodations: Dancing Bear Cabins

Today starts with a delicious Appalachian breakfast cooked by your guide at the Cades Cove Picnic area (weather depending). After breakfast, we will explore the culturally rich Cades Cove historic district while keeping an eye out for some of the Park's many types of wildlife (black bear, deer, elk, turkeys, and more). We will explore the many historic buildings, stunning scenery, and wonderful tranquility of this rich mountain valley. Often this is a highlight of the trip due to the many historic buildings, stunning scenery, and wonderful tranquility of this rich mountain valley.

Today's official hike is a forested, creek-side hike up the lush Middle Prong of the Little River to the Lynn Camp Prong Cascades and Indian Flats Falls. This stunning river valley is arguably home to the Smokies' most scenic waterfall hike. The hike starts in the historic logging area of Tremont. Here, the Little River Lumber Company had a large camp prior to the establishment of the Park. We'll relax for a picnic lunch near the first cascades before heading on up to more lovely cascades and waterfalls. We'll enjoy the falls, take photos, and eventually hike back to the trailhead. A short shuttle ride to our hotel, a tasty Southern dinner, and a cozy night's sleep top off another rewarding day of Smoky Mountains exploration.

Day 3
  • Hiking Mileage: appx 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1200 feet
  • Accommodations: Hyatt Place hotel

Our third day of Smoky Mountains exploration starts at a local family owned restaurant for breakfast. After breakfast we will head to the Roaring Fork Motor Trail and our day's first of 2 hikes! The overarching themes of today are historic buildings and waterfalls. Our first hike is to one of the Smokie's most unique waterfalls, Grotto Falls. Our trail literally travels behind this torrent of water, making for fantastic photos. Once back at the trailhead we will continue along a historic loop road, stopping at ancient pioneer cabins and structures along the way. Lunch today will be a picnic along the rushing waters of the Little Pigeon River on our way to our second hike in the Big Creek area. Our afternoon trek takes us past more amazing waterfalls: Midnight Hole Falls and Mouse Creek Falls, which brings our daily waterfall count to 3! A short shuttle from here brings us back to Asheville, where we’ll check into our beautiful hotel and hit the town for some amazing, local farm-to-table cuisine!

Day 4
  • Shuttle to trailhead: 2 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 7 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1400 feet
  • Accommodations: Hyatt Place hotel

Our Appalachian exploration pivots today to the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains! After a hearty breakfast we drive from Asheville, NC to the amazing views and waterfalls near Linville Gorge in the Pisgah National Forest. Our first stop will be the Linville Falls Visitor Center, where we will enjoy a 1.6 mile round trip hike to 3 different viewpoints of this outstanding area and waterfall. We will then shuttle to our next trailhead for a hike up Table Rock Mountain for stunning, sweeping views of the spectacular Linville Gorge. After a picnic lunch on the summit of Table Rock Mountain we'll continue along the Blue Ridge Parkway for more spectacular wonderful Appalachian views.

If time allows we’ll take one last hike for the day through diverse forests to another outstanding waterfall at Crabtree Meadows. We end this spectacular first day with a return drive along Blue Ridge Parkway back to our cozy lodge, and then an award winning meal at one of our favorite Asheville restaurants. 

Day 5
  • Shuttle to trailhead: 1 hour
  • Hiking Mileage: appx 6.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 1650 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 1.5-hour drive

On the final day of our Appalachian hiking adventure we’ll start by hiking to the summit of one of the most iconic landmarks in the region, Looking Glass Rock. This is one of the best and most iconic hikes in the Pisgah National Forest. After reaching the summit our efforts will be rewarded by massive, sweeping views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, and a wonderful picnic lunch prepared by your guide. 

After enjoying our lunch with a view, we’ll descend back to our vehicle and head to the spectacular roadside waterfall, Looking Glass Falls. Our travel back to Asheville will again be along a different stretch of the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ll stop along the way for fantastic views of Looking Glass Rock, the hike we just completed. As we drive back into the city of Asheville we can reflect on our unique Appalachian hiking experience and begin dreaming of the next one!

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • 4 nights of lodging at local, hand-picked, Appalachian inns, hotels and/or cabins (Lodging Details)
  • Dinners at local restaurants selected for their local color and great food
  • Breakfasts, picnic lunches prepared by your guide, and trail snacks
  • Use of a day pack and trekking poles
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Appalachian hiking guide
  • Transportation for the duration of the tour originating and concluding in Asheville, NC
  • 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 (Oboz hiking shoes and boots recommended)
  • 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

This tour features a combination of restaurant meals and meals prepared by your guide. We provide breakfasts and lunches for the trip. For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables. 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
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

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, 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? In the Dates section of this trip page, the green dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service 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 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 6 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/rooms 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 hiking tours is 6 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 8 guests and 2 guides. 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 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 Smoky & Blue Ridge Mountains

The weather in the Great Smoky and Blue Ridge 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 Appalachia:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Low Elev
High Elev


Dancing Bear Cabins

Dancing Bear Cabins

2 nights

This unique and inviting Appalachian lodge and cabins offers relaxation and natural beauty with wonderful accommodations and 38 forested acres on the Peaceful Side of the Smokies!

Hyatt Place Downtown Asheville

Hyatt Place Hotel

2 nights

The Hyatt Place Asheville Downtown is arguably the signature hotel in Asheville. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains and situated in perfect walking distance to many iconic Appalachian restaurants, it's a perfect location for our Blue Ridge adventure.
(pool, views)

* These exact accommodations are not guaranteed. In some instances alternative accommodations of similar quality and location may be used.

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