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Appalachian Family Adventure

Highlights

  • Exciting, family friendly itinerary
  • Most amazing creek-side campsites
  • Beautiful vistas and numerous waterfalls
  • Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • Amazing natural and cultural history

Description

Our Appalachian Family Adventure features four exciting days of hiking, exploring, learning and bonding specifically designed for families with kids 8 and older. We combine 2 days of inn-based hiking/exploring/fun with a 2-day, 1-night backpacking trip. Also we normally require kids to be 12 or older to join scheduled trips with mixed groups, but our Appalachian Family Adventure is open to kids 8 and older, allowing us to combine groups and keep the trip affordable for families.
On the first day we top out on Looking Glass Rock, one of North Carolina's most stunning summits. This rewarding hike brings us to large sweeping views of the Pisgah National Forest and a visit to an awesome waterfall. Our second day takes us to a series of fantastic cultural sites (with stops at some museums) and then to the highest peaks of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The third day begins our backpacking trip into a stunning mountain valley laden with waterfalls and backcountry cultural sites. We'll enjoy hearty backcountry meals, play in the creeks and waterfalls, and sleep under the stars before taking our time on Day 4 to hike out and make our way back to Asheville.
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Trip Dates

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You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.
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800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • Shuttle to the trailhead: 1-hour drive from Asheville
  • Hiking Mileage: 6.4 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 1650 feet
  • Accommodations: Hyatt Place hotel (or similar equivalent) in downtown Asheville
This multi-day Appalachian family hiking adventure starts with rendevous at our hotel in Asheville, then a spectacular hike to the summit of one of the most iconic landmarks in the region, Looking Glass Rock. This is one of the classic hikes in the Pisgah National Forest, and the Appalachians in general. After reaching the summit our efforts will be richly rewarded with 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 for photographs and to soak our feet. After checking out this amazing waterfall, we’ll drive the famous Blue Ridge Parkway back to Asheville stopping along the way for more sweeping views of the Appalachian Mountain’s endless ridges and valleys. Our first dinner will be at a hand-picked southern-style eatery in the Asheville area that continues our week's Appalachian theme.
Day 2
  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 1.5 hours
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation Loss/Gain: 1000 feet
  • Accommodations: Everette Hotel (or similar equivalent) in Bryson City, North Carolina
Our adventure today begins by leaving Asheville and driving to the eastern entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, by way of the fantastic Blue Ridge Parkway, at Oconaluftee. Here we‘ll explore the Mountain Farm Museum, which features a variety of fascinating, historic settler farm buildings. These original historic structures are arranged just like they would have been way back in the early settler days of this region. Next we’ll head to the highest reach of the Smokies, near Clingman’s Dome to hike and explore the amazing diversity the high country of this Park has to offer. The destination of our hike is to the big views located at one of the Park’s most unique environments, Andrew’s Bald. Our accommodations and dinner tonight are at the Everett Hotel in the quiet mountain town of Bryson City, NC.
Day 3
  • Shuttle to Trailhead: 20 minutes
  • Hiking Mileage: 2.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 220 feet
After breakfast, today’s activities start with a short drive to the Cherokee Museum to learn about the earliest inhabitants in the Appalachian region. After exploring all we can, we’ll head to the Deep Creek area for lunch and the start of our backpacking section. Today's hike will be along the rushing waters of Deep Creek. On our way we will pass through cove hardwood and hemlock forests, rhododendron thickets and multiple waterfalls. This changing environment will amaze children and adults alike. After 2.6 miles we‘ll come to our camp right on the edge of Deep Creek.

After setting up camp we'll splash around in the creek, look for salamanders, explore this stunning valley and then settle in around a roaring campfire and hearty feast to celebrate this stunning backcountry setting.
Day 4
  • Hiking Mileage: 2.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: 220 feet
  • Shuttle to Asheville: 1.5-hour drive to Asheville
Today we’ll return down the Deep Creek Trail to our waiting vehicle in the Deep Creek picnic area. We will then head to one of the most remote corners of the Park, the Cataloochee valley, for a picnic lunch. During this relaxing tour we will stop and explore a historic church, barn, school and home site. With any luck 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 Spring Break Adventure.



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

  • Transportation for the duration of the tour, beginning and ending in Asheville, NC
  • Two nights of lodging (one night in Asheville and one night in Bryson City)
  • 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
  • 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? 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 Hyatt Place Hotel in downtown Asheville, North Carolina the first morning of the trip.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Generally, you can expect the first day's rendezvous 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.


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 backpacking trips is 6 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 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 8 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 Appalachian Mountains

The weather in the Appalachian 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 Appalachian 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°