Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies
Picture of Fall in the Great Smokies

Fall in the Great Smokies

Destination: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world famous for the diversity of its plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, its excellent fall foliage, and many excellent hiking trails (over 900 miles). Designed to give you an overview of one of our most treasured National Parks, hiking there in October is definitely a peak experience. We'll marvel at the fall foliage, hiking at a leisurely pace to enhance our enjoyment of the scenery, take time to take pictures and identify shrubs and trees, and soak our feet in beautiful pools at the edge of waterfalls. Whether you are intrigued by salamanders or birds, waterfalls or mountain vistas, learning about the fascinating cultural history, or just seeking less traveled paths, you will quickly understand why the Great Smokies have been designated both an International Biosphere reserve and a World Heritage Site.

Highlights

  • Being surrounded by the blazing glory of the leaves turning
  • Rafting a fun section of the Pigeon River (suitable for women with no experience)
  • Visiting Little Greenbrier Community and learning about the people who lived here
  • Hiking beautiful trails, and enjoying lunch next to a waterfall
  • Gazing at the view from the hot tub and luxuriating in your own private room

Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Six nights lodging in a private room with ensuite bathroom
  • All meals from dinner on Sunday through breakfast Saturday
  • Transportation to/from the Knoxville airport (TYS) and transportation during the trip
  • White water rafting and rafting guide gratuities

Not included: Airfare to/from Knoxville (TYS), alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities, and any optional activities

Departures

Accommodations

NOTE: There is limited availability on single supplements and we cannot confirm availability at time of booking.

No Accommodations Available

*Please select a departure and accomodation to continue

This trip is appropriate for any woman who exercises regularly at a moderate level (such as going for 45 minute brisk walks with hills 3 to 5 days a week), and who either enjoys hiking or is new to hiking and wants to learn in a safe and fun environment. On this trip there is a special emphasis on cultural and natural history. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5

This trip combines hiking with learning about the natural and cultural history of the area. With lots of instruction and tips to make your hiking more enjoyable, this is an ideal trip for novice hikers and any active woman who loves to be out in the fall foliage. Although peak color is never possible to predict, typically leaves are turning at the higher elevations in early October.

On this trip we stay the entire week in a luxury lodge, perched on a mountainside just outside Gatlinburg. There are 12 private rooms (some with king beds and others with Queens) all with private bathrooms. Amenities include a pool table, a covered porch with rocking chairs and a great view, a hot tub, fireplace, and a large dining and living room. Everyone gets her own bedroom on this trip. Rooms are assigned by lottery.
If you are coming with someone with whom you would like to share a room and bed, there is a 10% discount (limited to 2 people).

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
If you're flying in, we'll meet you at the Knoxville Airport at noon. After driving to the Park, we start with an introduction to the cultural history of the Smokies by visiting the area once known to early settlers as the Little Greenbrier Community. We'll visit the Little Greenbrier School (first opened in 1882), a pioneer cemetery, and the Walker Sisters cabin and home site. This slightly ascending trail is along an old roadbed. If you are driving, please plan to be at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic parking lot (south side) by 2:00 pm. Little Brier Gap Trail, 2.6 miles. (D)
DAY 2
Our trail today rises at a steady, moderate grade as it passes through a forest of large Eastern Hemlocks and Fraser magnolias and then into a moist, sheltered cove hardwood forest. Rich in cultural history as well, Porters Creek trail passes the old Baxter Cabin, stone walls, an old cantilevered barn and the Owenby Cemetery, all remnants of the time that a thriving community lived here. We will hike to Fern Branch Falls and have lunch before turning back. Porters Creek Trail, about 4 miles. (B, L, D)
DAY 3
Our trek today will take us through Eastern Hemlock and deciduous forests as we hike along the Maddron Bald Trail. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), the trail begins as an old roadbed and rises consistently, though moderately, throughout its entire length. Albright Grove was named for Horace Albright, who was an early advocate for the park and a director of the National Park Service. The grove that honors him is an awesome remnant of old growth forest, where you can experience the sights, sounds, and feel of this unique forest environment. We'll have plenty of time to stroll among and admire the grand Eastern Hemlocks, silverbells, Fraser magnolias, tulip trees, and other tree species before returning along the Maddron Bald Trail. Mileage: 6.7 miles. (B, L, D)
DAY 4
Ready to give your legs a break and see a completely different part of the ecosystem? We'll enjoy breakfast out at the Log Cabin Pancake House and then onto the white water of the Pigeon River! Although the rapids are large enough to be exciting, the trip is completely appropriate for novice rafters. Returning to Gatlinburg, we'll head over to Bud Ogle's farm and give our legs a stretch by hiking the 1.2-mile nature hike and explore what a typical homestead was like in this part of the country, including a plume for water, a grist mill and 'drive thru' barn. Mileage: 1.2 miles hiking, many miles rafting! (B, L, D)
DAY 5
Now that we've had time to get acquainted with the park, this morning we'll head to the Visitors Center where we'll learn a whole lot more! With the help of an excellent film, we'll hear about the park, its history and its natural inhabitants and maybe even see a few of the places we've already visited. Then the hiking continues - destination, Laurel Falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most visited spots in the park and for good reason! Not only is it a pleasant walk but also one of the most spectacular falls in the Smokies.
After the falls, we'll head back to our lodge for lunch and a little relaxation. For the afternoon, you can choose your favorite way to enjoy the rest of the day: zip lining (not included in the trip fee); a hike to Grotto Falls (a moderate 2.6-mile hike to the only 'walk behind' waterfalls in the Smokies) with one of the guides; or, since it is vacation, you might want to just spend a relaxing afternoon back at the lodge, enjoying the porch or hot tub. Who knows - even shopping and local crafts could be on the agenda! Your guides will help you sort out the options and you get where you want to go. Mileage will vary depending on choice made. (B, L, D)
DAY 6
Today will be spent at the highest part of the park - we're headed for Clingman’s Dome and the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap! We'll stop first at Clingman’s Dome where we'll walk the .5 mile paved 'up' to the Dome. Climbing to the top of the Dome will give us a fabulous view of the entire park as well as an amazing display of fall colors! After enjoying the scenery, we’ll make our way to Newfound Gap for more gorgeous scenery and to learn about the founding of the park and the work of the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The CCC was a federal work program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, men as part of the New Deal. After learning a bit more of the park history, we’re going to take a hike on the famous Appalachian Trail! From Newfound Gap well head north to Icewater Shelter, an AT shelter for backpackers. Icewater shelter will give us a great spot for lunch with a view. After lunch, we'll head back to the parking lot and make our way back to Gatlinburg and our lodge. We'll have one last chance for that hot tub before getting ready for our last dinner together - out on the town in Gatlinburg! Mileage: .5 - 6 total. Elevation gain/loss: 900/ 900 feet
DAY 7
It's our last morning in the Smokies and we'll continue to savor every minute! We'll take our time this morning, enjoy our last breakfast together and the view from the lodge, before making our way, reluctantly back to Knoxville. If you're driving, you can plan to leave by 10 a.m. If you're flying we'll return you to the Knoxville airport by 11:30am for a flight out after 12:30 pm. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on our trips. We take reviews very seriously and are constantly tweaking itineraries. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.

- Mountain Laurel Chalet was a FANTASTIC locale - just terrific to have our own rooms/bathrooms - lovely locale - wonderful group of women - Deb and Heather were wonderful guides - Deb is a fabulous cook! Yum!

Fall in the Great Smokies 10/7/2018-10/13/2018


The guides, fellow travelers and accommodations were all wonderful!

Fall in the Great Smokies 10/7/2018-10/13/2018


Seeing so many bears, including on our deck! Great trails and waterfalls. Also, a great group of women to enjoy it with.

Fall in the Great Smokies 10/7/2018-10/13/2018


I loved the HIKING, the people, the itinerary and GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK and Appalachian Trail. The lodge was very comfortable and liked having laundry capabilities and the HOT TUB...great location, too, and loved my own room.

Fall in the Great Smokies 10/7/2018-10/13/2018


Exceptional guides who genuinely cared that we had an awesome trip. Itinerary was well-planned and executed. Communication ahead and during the trip was great. Hikes to grotto and laurel falls and hike at nature center was my favorite day but none of the days disappointed

Fall in the Great Smokies 10/7/2018-10/13/2018


  1. Where do we eat?
    The guides will be cooking breakfasts and most dinners in the lodge. Before you leave in the morning the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you'll take a packed lunch. You'll go out for one breakfast and one dinner where you can order off the menu; other nights you'll relax in the lodge and have dinner there.
  2. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?
    Vegetarian options for this trip are available but may be more limited than you are used to. If you are concerned about having enough protein during your trip, plan to bring some plant-based protein sources such as nut butter, instant dried hummus, or high-protein energy bars. If you cannot eat gluten or if you have other dietary restrictions i.e. vegan, you will need to bring some supplemental food with you.
  3. I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?
    No, all the rooms on this trip are singles! On our other trips you only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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